Nicolas Cage Claims He Personally Chose Tim Burton To Direct The Failed DC Film Superman Lives

A screenplay entitled “Superman Reborn” by Gregory Poirier was already complete by the time Kevin Smith got his chance to put a fresh spin on it. The avowed comic book nerd, who had sold off a chunk of his collection to fund “Clerks,” was in talks regarding “Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian” when the subject of a new Superman movie came up. Smith’s passionate take on the project earned him a sit down with producer Jon Peters, who had recently bought the rights from Warner Bros (as detailed in Jon Schnepp’s documentary “The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened?”).

Peters offered Smith a crack at rewriting the script in 1996 under the new title “Superman Lives,” provided he stuck to Peters’ eccentric vision for the movie: He didn’t want to see Superman flying or wearing his famous caped outfit, and he really, really wanted the film to climax with a fight between the Man of Steel and a giant spider.

Smith wasn’t about to turn down these strange requests with the chance to write a “Superman” movie on the table. He got to work and, by his own admission, his screenplay was like “fan fiction.” Loosely basing his screenplay on “The Death of Superman,” he threw together the combined forces of Lex Luthor, Brainiac, and Doomsday against Superman, plus a cameo from Batman for good measure.

Smith’s wish list of casting choices was very Kevin Smith-like: Ben Affleck as Superman, Linda Fiorentino as Lois Lane, Jason Lee as Brainiac, and Jason Mewes as Jimmy Olsen, with the star power of Jack Nicholson as Lex Luthor (via The Nerds Uncanny). But Peters had a bigger name in mind to play Superman: Nicolas Cage.

Leave a Comment