DC fans were left rattled this week when it was revealed that Henry Cavill was potentially saying goodbye to the role of Superman after only three appearances. One of the – half-serious – suggestions that many have put forward for the next incumbent of the iconic part is Nicolas Cage, whose abandoned Superman Lives movie from the 1990s is the stuff of comic book cinema legend.
Cage, a lifelong fan of the Man of Steel (his son is named Kal-El, for those who didn’t know), was speaking to IndieWire when he was asked what he thought of Cavill’s take on the Last Son of Krypton. The Ghost Rider and Kick-Ass star had good things to say about the British actor’s portrayal, citing the “anger” of Cavill’s Superman as something he appreciated.
“I thought Henry Cavill was a very good Superman and I liked the anger he brought to the role.”
Though we didn’t get an answer to the question of if he’d be up for playing the Man of Steel, Cage did go on to discuss what he’d like to see from the next interpretation of the character. In particular, he wants to see the “alienness” and “vulnerable” side of the man beneath the cape brought out more.
“There’s certainly a character there that has aspects that have not yet been seen before. All the feelings of alienness. How am I going to fit into society? Maybe if I become a hero, everyone will love me, even though I’m a freak. All that stuff really wasn’t tapped into with the character. He’s quite vulnerable. I don’t know who should do it, but best of luck to them.”
It’s not a surprise that this is the sort of Superman Cage would like to see. Focusing on Clark Kent as an outsider to human society was something director Tim Burton really wanted to do in Superman Lives, before the long-gestating project fell through. The filmmaker’s unique vision for the character is likely why a left-field – yet weirdly popular choice – like Cage was chosen for the part in the first place.
Though Lives never happened and any hopes of him replacing Cavill are likely wishful thinking, at least Cage did get to somewhat realize his dream of playing Superman in a film, as he voiced the hero in this summer’s animated comedy Teen Titans! Go To The Movies in a brilliant bit of meta casting. In that sense, Cage’s Superman certainly lives.