Nicolas Cage is often the butt of many movie fan jokes, but just when you’re about to give up on the guy, he’ll come up with something like National Treasure or Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, where he knocks it out of the park.
One of those star-making opportunities that people have always speculated about could have been his long-rumored turn as the Man of Steel in a Tim Burton-directed feature called Superman Lives.
The film would have been Nicolas Cage near the height of his box office earning power in the 1990s on the heels of Burton’s successful (and iconic) Batman take.
Now a documentary from filmmaker Jon Schnepp called The Death of ‘Superman Lives’: What Happened? gives us insight into what that film might have been like complete with test footage of Cage in costume. Which is something the film refers to as “the holy grail” of superhero footage.
In an exclusive first look, Schnepp released some of that footage to the L.A. Times, and you can view it at this link along with the trailer further down in this post.
The Nicolas Cage Superman test footage was shot in 1997 just after Burton worked on Mars Attacks!
The fascinating thing — and something the documentary touches on — is how Burton would have used different looks for Superman throughout his film, including a long-talked-about “lightning suit.” As it turns out, the lightning suit would have been used for about two minutes in the film while Superman was in a state of slumber. Reportedly, he would not have been flying about in it.
The costume we actually see Cage wearing doesn’t have any of the iconic symbols on it, but it looks very Burton Batman-esque, perfectly sculpted and gelled to Cage’s form with maximum mobility.
Cage even gets to move around in it quite a bit, and it appears to fit him like a glove. He would have also been sporting long, dark “emo” hair for at least part of the film.
For more of the “painful memories” as Burton refers to it, check the trailer out here.
As for the next incarnation of Superman, audiences will be seeing him as adversary (and presumably eventual ally) of Batman in Zack Snyder’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, the follow-up to Man of Steel.
What do you think about Superman Lives, readers? Would Nicolas Cage have made a good Superman? Sound off in the comments section.
[Image via YouTube screen grab, linked above]