Nicolas Cage, The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened


Did you know Nicolas Cage almost played Superman? You did?

Well, did you know, as you probably guessed, that he looked spectacular as the Man of Steel? Because he totally did.

Footage of the actor, now 51 years old, sporting shoulder-length black hair and a blue, shiny, skintight, sculpted bodysuit, with a black belt and black boots, during his 1997 costume test for Tim Burton's never-made Superman Lives movie appears in the new documentary The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened?, which was created by director Jon Schnepp and is set for release on DVD, Blu-ray and VOD on July 9.

In a sneak peek video posted by The Los Angeles Times this week, Cage is seen modeling his costume in front of Burton and several other people, stretching and moving his arms to test its flexibility.

"So, Nic, like, movement and stuff seems pretty good, huh?" the director asks.

"Yeah, I mean, you were saying it'll feel a little looser the more I wear it?" Cage asks, swinging his arms up. "This is great, look at that."

"Initially, I was really struck at how he looked in that suit," director's assistant Derek Frey says. "His physique—It was different than what we had seen before. Obviously, he's quite a lean fella, but there was a certain power to him as well."

"Obviously, They're early tests," he said. "It's about the giddiness, the excitement of Tim and Nic, and their passion for it, and their first exploration of the character. That's what always got me excited."

Burton had seen much success with two past superhero films—the 1989 movie Batman and its 1990 sequel Batman Returns. Over the past few years, leaked images of Cage in costume from a Superman film the director was working on have surfaced online.

The actor, who is such a big Superman fan that he named his 9-year-old son Kal-El, the superhero's real name, had talked about the scrapped project on the Empire Podcast in 2013. He called Burton a "genius."

"He's a great artist, and I'm sure he would have done something really magnificent with the story of Superman and I knew I was going to go towards something quite unique and different than anything you've seen with Superman," Cage said. "But having said that, in a way, it was a win-win for me that it didn't work out, because the power of the imagination [allows you to] imagine what that might have been like. That might be even more powerful than the finished product, so I think it worked out."

Mallrats and Clerks director and screenwriter Kevin Smith was originally supposed to pen the script for Superman Lives.

"Now, when you think about it, if somebody was just like, 'Would you like to see a Nic Cage Superman movie?' I'd be like 'F--k' and 'Yes, take all my money, 'cause I want to see what that looks like,'" he says in the documentary.

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