Come children, let me tell you all a story: once upon a time, Nicholas Cage almost got to be Superman. No really, I’m not kidding. Somewhere between 1996-1998, Cage signed on to play his own take on the Man of Steel on a $20 million USD pay-or-play contract in the almost-was-a-film Superman Lives, in which he would “reconceive” Superman. Somehow. He never really made that very clear, and in any case, it never came to fruition. Warner Bros. abandoned the entire project, which included Tim Burton as the director and Kevin Smith as the writer, in April 1998 after having spent $30 million USD on it in total. Thus, we never got to see just what Superman Lives would have been like. That is, until The Flash came along. Yes, you read me right, The Flash. How? Well, let’s find out together, shall we?
The Flash Cameo: Nicholas Cage as Superman at Long Last
Comic Book just revealed a very interesting cameo in The Flash film, which just recently came out in June 16, 2023. Apparently, there is a very unusual cameo in the film starring the titular speedy superhero (played by Ezra Miller). This particular cameo involves Nicholas Cage playing an alternate universe Superman sporting a mullet (of all things) while fighting a giant mechanical spider. All of it is in CGI though, with not a single word of dialogue from Cage. Well, aside from a wordless yell of…rage? Anguish? It’s hard to tell, but it is the closest we get to any dialogue.
So what does Nicholas Cage himself think of finally geting to play Superman…in a way? Well, he actually gave an interview with USA Today in which he talked about that. You can check out Cage’s words below:
Well, I was glad I didn’t blink. For me, it was the feeling of being actualized. Even that look for that particular character, finally seeing it on screen, was satisfying. But as I said, it’s quick. If you really wanted to know what I was going do with that character, look at my performance in “City of Angels.”
I was supposed (to play) Clark Kent after that (in “Superman Lives”), and I was already developing this alien otherness playing this angel. That is a perfect example of the tonality you would’ve gotten for Kal-El and for Clark Kent: Clark would’ve been a little more amusing but Kal-El (had) the sensitivity and the goodness and the vulnerability and all those feelings that were kind of angelic and also terrifying.
Maybe this could mean Superman Lives might live again after all? Or maybe not. In any case, tune back in to THS later to find out if Nicholas Cage does get to play Superman for real…or not.