Tim Burton’s Superman Lives is without a doubt one of the most famous movies that was never made, with Warner Bros. funneling a reported $40 million into pre-production without having anything to show for it, besides a string of anecdotes the key players have been dining out on for decades.
The bonkers plot, sweeping changes to established canon, and insistence on the part of producer Jon Peters that a giant mechanical spider factor into the third act somehow have long since become the stuff of legend, but would-be Kal-El Nicolas Cage has revealed some fascinating new insights into the abandoned blockbuster.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, the actor reveals that he was the one who brought Tim Burton to the project, and not the other way around.
“I have to be careful what I say about this stuff. What is it about comic books that [everything] just goes everywhere exponentially within split seconds? What I want to go on record with is: Tim Burton did not cast me. I cast Tim Burton. They wanted Renny Harlin, and he’s a nice guy and perfectly capable. But for me, the vision I had for Kal-El was more of a Tim Burton-style presentation universe.
I was a big fan of Mars Attacks! The studio was worried about Mars Attacks! But they hired Tim per my request, and then they shut the whole thing down. That’s always been both a positive and a negative to me. It’s a positive in that it left the character, and what Tim and I might have gotten up to, in the realm of imagination — which is always more powerful than that is concrete. And a negative in that I think it would have been special. Is there a chance? Who knows. I don’t know. To answer your question, I don’t know.
While Cage’s live-action Superman ship may have sailed, he did get to voice the Kryptonian in Teen Titans Go! to the Movies, so his itch was at least partially scratched eventually.