Tim Burton’s Superman Lives is unquestionably one of the most famous movies that was never made, and has long since cemented a place in Hollywood folklore. Warner Bros. spent upwards of $40 million on the project, only to shelve it altogether when Burton dropped out after he became frustrated by the lack of movement.
The director still netted $5 million thanks to his pay-or-play contract, while leading man Nicolas Cage pocketed $20 million for what amounted to a handful of costume tests. Some of the biggest names in the business were linked with various supporting roles, but Chris Rock was the only other member of the ensemble officially announced before Superman Lives fell apart.
In a new interview with Yahoo! Entertainment, the comedian reflected on the opportunity to play Jimmy Olsen in Superman Lives passing him by, where he revealed that he’s still waiting for his chance to board a comic book blockbuster.
“I was cast in Superman 20 years ago, when Nic Cage was going to play Superman. I was cast; I had wardrobe fittings. I saw the miniature sets, and I was hanging out with Tim, and the whole thing fell apart. There’s a part of me that’s like, ‘Where’s my superhero movie?’. I was this close.”
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Superman Lives was one of many projects featuring the Man of Steel to enter development and then be abandoned in between 1987’s The Quest for Peace and Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns two decades later, with George Miller’s Justice League: Mortal, Wolfgang Petersen’s Batman v Superman and J.J. Abrams’ Superman: Flyby just three efforts to wind up on the scrapheap.
However, none of them have made anywhere near as lasting an impression on fans as Superman Lives, which sounded so insane that it’s a real shame audiences never got to see it.