Jude Law has starred in a variety of movies over his nearly three decade-long acting career, from dramas like Cold Mountain to comedies like Spy. However, one genre he hasn’t jumped into yet is the superhero movie, but it isn’t for a lack of opportunity. Over a decade ago, he was given the chance to play Superman on the big screen, but he turned it down for a number of reasons, including wanting to wear the costume for an extended period of time.
During his appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last night, Law talked about how he was approached to play Superman "around 2004," which is about the time when Superman: Flyby, the Superman project in development before Superman Returns, was being worked on. Law was already feeling hesitant about playing the Man of Steel, but the director at the time, Brett Ratner, sent the Superman costume to the actor to try and sway him in the other direction. Here’s what happened, according to Law:
I take the suit into the bathroom, and I’m putting it on, and then I look around and I’m in the mirror, and suddenly, I’m Superman, right? And the music kind of comes on, and I stood there, and then I had this picture of me in that costume on posters all around the world, and I was like, "No way!"
Jude Law then immediately took off the costume and refrained from taking a picture of himself, comfortable with the fact that he was Superman "for two minutes." While the costume he tried on may not have looked exactly like the one seen in Superman Returns, just visualize his face over Brandon Routh’s in the picture below to get your own mental snapshot of Law as Superman.
Ironically, one of the other reasons Jude Law wasn’t keen on playing Superman was because he’s an "Englishman," so he didn’t think the role would fit him. Fast forward almost a decade, British actor Henry Cavill debuted as Superman in Man of Steel, so Law didn’t really have anything to worry about on that front. Superman: Flyby was eventually scrapped for 2006’s Superman Returns, directed by Bryan Singer, and Brandon Routh was cast as Superman, who practically oozed the Christopher Reeve feel during the movie. Law turned down the opportunity to play Superman, but maybe there will be another superhero movie role that catches his interest sometime in the future.
You can watch Jude Law talk about his full Superman experience over a decade ago in the clip below:
Jude Law can be seen next in Genius, while Henry Cavill is still playing Superman in the DC Extended Universe, and he’ll reprise the role next year in Justice League.