The continued confusion surrounding Superman, which has J.J. Abrams and Ta-Nehisi Coates working on a feature film at the same time Michael B. Jordan is in the early stages of developing a Val-Zod project for streaming, isn’t a new thing. And that’s not even mentioning Henry Cavill’s uncertain future involvement in the franchise.
Between the release of Christopher Reeve’s final outing in the awful Superman IV: The Quest for Peace and Brandon Routh’s one-and-done outing in Superman Returns two decades later, countless attempts to resuscitate the Man of Steel for the big screen entered development, only to fall apart.
Superman Reborn, Tim Burton’s Superman Lives, Wolfgang Petersen’s Batman v Superman and J.J. Abrams’ Superman: Flyby all came close to entering production, with a young Cavill even screen testing in costume for the latter. Charlie’s Angels director McG replaced Brett Ratner at the helm in 2003, but he was gone in less than a year.
In a new interview, the former explained why he ended up dropping out of the project, and it’s all to do with his well-known fear of flying. McG wanted to shoot in New York and Canada, but Warner Bros. insisted on going Down Under to save $25 million in production costs, which ended up costing him the job.
“So I’m going to make the Superman movie and I’m getting ready to go, and they’re like, ‘We’re going to Australia, we’re going to Australia’. I literally remember telling the bosses at WB at that time, ‘I can’t go to Australia. I’m afraid of flying, I can’t do it’. And it didn’t even register with them. They’re like, ‘You’re McG, you’ll be fine. You’re the boisterous, happy guy. You’re bouncing off the walls. You’ll be fine’. Anyway, the plane’s on the tarmac, the Warners private jet meant to take me to Australia, and I can’t get on. I get fired off of Superman, rightfully so; they’ve got to make the movie in Australia. They put Bryan Singer on the movie.”
No offense to McG, but a lot of people don’t think he’s ever made a good movie in his life, so maybe it’s for the best that his attempt at Superman amounted to nothing. He wanted an unknown for the title role and Shia LaBeouf for Jimmy Olsen, while Robert Downey Jr. had agreed to play Lex Luthor, so modern Hollywood could have turned out a lot differently, had the studio decided to keep the shoot on home soil.