The late 1990s were a very strange time. The sitcom was still king on television, Brandy and Monica were tearing up the pop charts with “That Boy is Mine,” the Toronto Maple Leafs were actually playoff contenders, and Nicolas Cage was set to star as Superman in the Tim Burton-directed “Superman Lives.” Say what?
Yes, back in 1997, Oscar-winning actor/professional eccentric Nicolas Cage had been hired by Warner Bros. to play the Man of Steel in a film directed Tim Burton and written by Kevin Smith. For a variety of reasons, “Superman Lives" never happened, but the fact that it even came close to getting made (WB reportedly spent more than $30 million on pre-production work alone) is equally fascinating. The Tim Burton-imbued vision of Superman was about as wacky as you might expect, and at one point in pre-production the director had the crime-fighter donning a suit of gleaming, light-filled armour instead of the traditional red-and-blue tights. The film also would have featured numerous DC Comics villains (including Doomsday, Brainiac, and Lex Luthor) teaming up to take down the Man of Steel.
There have been plenty of stories about the doomed production in the intervening years, and even a few pieces of leaked concept art and a now-infamous photo of Cage donning a test costume, but nobody outside of those involved in the project seems to know the full story.
Filmmaker Jon Schnepp aims to change that with a new documentary project called “The Death of ‘Superman Lives’: What Happened?” See his Kickstarter pitch video below.
Like many fans, the “Metalocalypse” co-creator and “ABCs of Death” contributor has always been fascinated by the aborted Superman movie, collecting and saving every tidbit of information available on the project. But Schnepp wants to know more; he wants to hear the story of "Superman Lives" right from the horse's mouth. But chasing down studio executives, actors, and directors requires time and resources, which is why Schnepp pitched his doc about the making of “Superman Lives” to the Kickstarter community in the hopes that he can find some like-minded comic book fans to crowdfund the project.
In addition to the documentary telling the definitive story of the lost Superman movie in the words of the people who tried to make it, Schnepp also plans to recreate props and even scenes from the never-made film if the project reaches its $150,000 stretch goal. "The Death of ‘Superman Lives’: What Happened?” is an ambitious project, but with renewed interest in the "Big Blue Boy Scout" thanks to the upcoming "Man of Steel" Schnepp is sure to generate some buzz for his documentary.