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Movies enter development but ultimately fail to materialize in Hollywood all the time. If you tried to list all of the projects people are working on that never come to be, it would be damn near endless. Most of these simply fizzle out with little to now fanfare. Other attempts, however, become the stuff of legend. Tim Burton’s Nicolas Cage-starring Superman Lives is one of these. A fan-favorite never-was, a new clip of Cage trying on his Man of Steel costume for the first time surfaced online for your entertainment.
This footage comes from Hero Complex, and you can check it out by clicking the screenshot below, as the video doesn't seem to be embeddable.
A clip from the documentary The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened?, it shows Nic Cage and Tim Burton taking what would wind up an unused Superman outfit out for its first spin.
Photos of this moment have been floating around for years, but as director assistant Derek Frey calls it, this particular footage shows the "holy grail." This is a super tight (you can hear Cage commenting on that), odd-looking suit with built in sculpted muscles. Combine that with Cage’s long black hair, Burton’s goth-leaning sensibilities, and many of the other rumors and reports that have circulated about the attempted late-1990s superhero adaptation, and had Superman Lives actually happened, the result would likely have bordered on lunacy.
The Death of Superman Lives is director John Schnepp’s examination of the Superman movie that could have been, as well as looking at what ultimately led to it not happening. It had all the pieces in place, a big name star and director, a near universally beloved hero, and backing. The documentary also reportedly takes many of the laundry list of rumors about the film to task, like, as you see in this clip, the sparkly rainbow suit they talk about only appearing in one specific scene. Check out the trailer below.
Superman Lives is one of those failed movies that has become almost mythic in stature, probably more so than if it had actually came to life. It joins the ranks of unrealized projects like Terry Gilliam’s ill-fated Don Quixote, which he still thinks is going to happen, Stanley Kubrick’s Napoleon film, among numerous others, and Alejandro Jodorowsky’s unfulfilled adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune, that have become iconic in their failures.
For now we’ll have to remain content with Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel version of Superman, portrayed by Henry Cavill, and who is slated to hit the silver screen again next year in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. If that’s still not enough to satisfy you, don’t worry, as DC continues to make a big push into the superhero movie business, we’ll be seeing a lot more of the Last Son of Krypton.
The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened? hits Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD next week on July 9.