Nicolas Cage Talks About Tim Burton’s Canceled 1998 Superman Lives


After the success of Burton’s Batman and Batman Returns, Hollywood decided it was time for a dark Superman movie. The script, titled “Superman Lives”, was written by Kevin Smith and included three perhaps lesser-known Superman villains – Brainiac, Doomsday, and the Annihilator. Tim Burton, who had just directed Batman, was supposed to direct the film. However, Warner Bros. postponed filming of the film indefinitely just three weeks before filming began.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Cage revealed that it was he who chose Burton to direct, and not the other way around:

I want to make this official: Tim Burton didn’t cast me. I chose Tim Burton. They wanted to hire Renny Harlin and he’s certainly a nice and quite capable guy. But to me, Kal-El’s vision was more like a Tim Burton-style vision of the universe.

The film, which was supposed to be a reboot of the 1980s Superman film series, was eventually canceled due to the poor box office performance of Tim Burton’s science fiction comedy Mars Attacks!:

I was a big fan of “Mars Attacks!”. The studio was worried about this film, but they still hired Tim at my request, and then they closed everything. For me, this has always been both positive and negative. Positive is what Tim and I have come to in the realm of the imagination, which is always more powerful than the specifics. And the downside is that I think it would be special. Is there a chance to be in this movie one day? Who knows. I don’t know [смеется].

The 2015 documentary “The Death of ‘Superman Lives’: What Happened?” details the behind-the-scenes events that led to the film’s cancellation.

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