On the day of what would’ve been Superman co-creator Joe Shuster’s 101st birthday, SUPERMANIA celebrates with a one-time post outside of our established continuity to bring you an exclusive wild card –
Courtesy of El Club El Planet come these rare pics of the abandoned Tim Burton movie Superman Lives – a project that would ultimately be abandoned only weeks before photography in 1997 in a highly controversial move exemplifying the production hell hampering the characters return to the big screen since 1988. The rejected scripts had begun with Superman V (or Superman: The New Movie) in 1990, Superman Reborn in 1992 and various drafts of what became Superman Lives which was green-lit with the commitment from Burton after the departure of writer/director Kevin Smith.
Lives eleventh-hour cancellation would yield little material in subsequent years save for unconfirmed script rewrites to the point where the whole endeavour verged on myth. Aside from some concept art, a blurred, unconvincing photo of what pertained to be star Nicolas Cage (above) in a bizarre muscle suit and a poster appearing at a Toy fair was the only supposed proof of any pre-production.
Naturally it would be the persistence of fans that would not only unravel the mystery but prove just how close the picture was to becoming reality with photos and even footage from the project no-one ever thought they would see.
And so thanks to Jon Schnepp and others there is, incredibly, a new Superman film made by fans, for fans to enjoy with the fascinating The Death of Superman Lives, What Happened? documentary available now as a digital download (bottom pic). where exclusive interviews with the likes of Burton, Smith and scriptwriters Dan GIlroy and Wesley Strick, are presented in irreverent, watchable style (watch the first 10 minutes).
While little could convince SUPERMANIA Lives was anything but a huge misconception, as an ambassador of the character this documentary highlights an important period in its screen evolution and is therefore intrigued. Indeed, for all the furore surrounding Nic Cage’s casting he nevertheless does embody the Superman comics of the era here (nineties long hair) and would’ve been interesting to watch if nothing else…
5 Replies to “Lives..?”
That suit looks horrible!!!!! Thank goodness it never got made.
I remember all the news and rumours about ‘Lives’ (aka Reborn) in the late 90s on sites like AICN and was following them religiously. favourite rumour was Christopher Reeve would have a cameo either as Clark Kents wheelchair bound friend…or as playing Superman in the opening Doomsday battle via CG and a body double – mostly itd be long shots/close ups of the bodydouble in the classic suit with just glimpses of Reeve’s 1997 face CGId on like that commercial that showed Reeve walking https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5zbEsQYMb0 (that stuff was obviously done later – see Oliver Reed in Gladiator, Pitt in Ben Button, Arnie in T4, Bridges in Tron 2, and even the alleged Reeve ‘cameo’ in MOS..and more recently with Walker in FF7 and Arnie again in TGEN). in fact they’d already used early CG faces for Titanic stunt doubles and in The Crow following Brandon Lees death so it was possible even back then. so Reeve’s Superman dies as in the comics then is rejuvenated Dr Who style into Cage in the new suit. (although I dont think that was ever a genuine thing that would be in the movie, for one thing the rest of the cast would be different no Kidder, McClure etc…but it was a fun rumour and would be a cool tie in with the original films. anyway the CG Reeve Superman in ‘Lives’ couldve just been like a ‘generic’ Superman that just looked like Reeve, not necessarily the one from the previous 4 movies). I guess alternatively they couldve had Reeve for Jor El via CG (like they did Brando in SR)
I remember hearing many of those very same rumors. Fun stuff.
Wonder how much was actually true if any? I wish I could revive those old pages at AICN, but unfortunately their long gone into the vapors of the inter-web.
I’m happy this project died fast. I’m sorry, but it just doesn’t look right.