There are a few cancelled comic book movies that remain so mysterious and outlandish that fans still wonder what the finished product would have been. In the 1990’s director Tim Burton was a hot commodity in Hollywood, and after making two amazing Batman movies, he was starting production on a Superman franchise as well. Unfortunately the film was cancelled during production, and the few details that exist paint the film as something that was very different from what most understand to be Superman. The film, titled Superman Lives, was set to give Nicholas Cage his first superhero role.
The whole reason for making Superman Lives was to reinvigorate a DC Comics franchise that stalled in the 1980s. It is a film that is still talked about in convention back rooms and throughout comic circles. Superman Lives is known for its bold decisions and interesting castings. It remains one of the comic world’s more interesting takes on a big property. Unfortunately, the only images that remain of the film are shots of Cage in pre-production trying on costumes and what looks to be a new illuminated Superman suit.
On rare occasions, Cage talks about the film, and sat down with EW at the Toronto International Film Festival to talk about how Superman Lives would have been the most powerful Superman movie ever made:
“I would offer that the movie that Tim and I would have made, in your imagination, is more powerful than any of the Superman movies. I didn’t even have to make the movie and we all know what that movie would have been in your imagination. That is the Superman. That is the movie. Even though you never saw it – it is the Superman.”
Burton has reflected on Superman Lives in the past. He cited that at first it was a dark, edgy take on the character. Now it, “looks like a light-hearted romp.” In previous statements, Cage also said that his trust in Burton’s idea was sound. He, “had great belief in that movie and in what Tim Burton’s vision was going to be for that movie.”
Cage is known for having over-the-top characters, and zany performances. Director Brian Taylor says, ” “Directing Nic is like directing the weather – he’s like Hurricane Jose. You can’t change it, you can only wear the right clothing and hope you don’t get destroyed by it.”