Never before seen footage of Tim Burton's Superman has emerged online. Superman Lives is the infamous hero title that never was. Burton's dark portrayal of Superman was axed back in 1998 much to the disappointment of the fans.
Superman Lives was to star Nicolas Cage as the lead. The plot was set to contain within it Brainiac, Lex Luthor and Doomsday as the villains. The concept of the movie was to center on the 'The Death of Superman' storyline that appears in the DC comics.
If you are not aware of this storyline from the comics: The mighty villainous Brainiac plots to both kill Superman and take over Metropolis in one single attack. The plot was simple, to simultaneously blot out the sun and unleash Doomsday on the city. In the interest of brevity, the plan works, and Superman is killed.
Burton wanted to focus on the inner turmoil that Superman would be going through. A journey of self discovery and the development of power.
“He can’t commit [to Lois Lane] because he doesn't know who he is or what is going on with him. He’s hoping that he has some physiological condition that gives him these powers but that he’s still human. It becomes very apparent, though, early in the script, when Lex Luthor uncovers the remnants of the spacecraft, he suddenly realizes – ‘Oh my god, I’m an alien.’ It was all about the psychological trauma of it. I loved it.” - Dan Gilroy
There have been many stills of Nicholas Cage in the suit circulating on the Internet but the test footage released today gives the images the life that cannot be caught within a still. The 1997 footage shows our beloved Nic Cage, with shoulder length hair, testing out the sculpted suit for the first time.
The suit had very little in shaping elements so a lot of what you see is testament to the actor's physique. Cage had to put a lot of effort into preparing for the role of Superman and the results are very visible.
Cage is heard saying "it will feel looser the more I wear it,” as he stretches out and performs some Superman takedown punches (almost). Let's not forget that Superman had never looked this toned on the silver screen before, this new look was to change the perception of Superman forever.
The footage that has emerged will be featured in a documentary aptly named The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened?. A new generation crowd-funded film, which will include interviews with Burton and the two screenwriters, Kevin Smith and Dan Gilroy.
The documentary from filmmaker Jon Schnepp is delving into the events that led up to the movie's premature end. The team will be taking us behind-the-scenes in an effort to discover what really went down on the set of Tim Burton’s Superman Lives.
The First 10 Minutes
The movie will be comprised of interviews and true accounts from the people who were there. The video above is a great piece of footage that gives us a real insight into how the fans and writers alike felt about the project.
What is really surprising is the Bryan Singer references. It seems clear that Bryan Singer does not hold this Burton premise in high regard. Are the Singer movies too soft? Kevin Smith seems to think so.
Superman Lives was due for release in 1998 but struggled with a lengthy production, which forced Cage to abandon the project in 2000. Nicolas Cage was one of the hottest movie stars of the era so he couldn't afford to hang around.