Back in the 1990s, before both Brandon Routh and Henry Cavill donned the red and blue, Nicolas Cage was attached to Superman Lives, which would have been a totally different Man of Steel than most fans are used to; however, it never happened.
Superman Lives was going to be directed by Tim Burton with a script by Kevin Smith featuring Doomsday, Brainiac, the death and return of Superman, and more. The movie got so far as to have Nicolas Cage testing out the Superman suit as well as concept art (see below) and a set piece of Krypton was created. Smith’s script would get rewritten, and WB would eventually pass on Superman Lives over budget issues, with Tim Burton moving on to direct Sleepy Hallow, and Nicolas Cage eventually becoming Ghost Rider.
What could have been, eh?
EW.com actually caught up with Nicolas Cage at the recent Toronto Film Festival and asked about Superman Lives, with Cage offering up it would have been “more powerful” than any of the Superman movies, which includes Zack Snyder and Henry Cavill’s Man of Steel, Bryan Singer and Brandon Routh’s Superman Returns and even the Richard Donner and Christopher Reeve Superman films.
“I would offer that the movie that Tim and I would have made, in your imagination, is more powerful than any of the Superman movies,” Cage said when asked about his take on how Superman is being portrayed onscreen at the moment. “I didn’t even have to make the movie and we all know what that movie would have been in your imagination. That is the Superman. That is the movie. Even though you never saw it — it is the Superman.”
A while back also saw Nicolas Cage mention that he spoke to Christoper Reeve about Superman Lives.
“But when I was going to do Superman, I knew Christopher and we would talk – and he knew that I was going to somewhere else with it,” Cage told Total Film Magazine. “At that time, I would’ve been OK. I was going to have giant black, Samurai hair – and make him very different.”
A documentary was recently made covering the movie with The Death of Superman Lives.