After decades in Hollywood, actor Nicolas Cage has played everything from cowboys to vampires and everything in-between. However, one dream role alluded him back in the 90s. Cage was cast as the man of steel himself in Tim Burton’s ill-fated Superman Lives film.
Try Paramount+ FREE for a week. Subscribe here to watch your favorite shows.
Though the film went into preproduction (with Cage even being fitted for the iconic blue tights), it never got off the ground. The Academy Award-winning actor still isn’t sure what happened with the film. However, he did give his side of the story while on the red carpet at the Variety Legend & Groundbreaker Award at Miami Film Festival.
“They wanted [Cliffhanger director] Renny Harlin to do the movie. I sat down with Renny. He came to the trailer and we talked. I liked Renny… but I thought if I’m going to do this, it’s such a bullseye to hit,” Cage told Variety. “This has to be Tim Burton. I called Tim and said, ‘Would you do this?’ Tim didn’t cast me, I cast Tim, and Tim said yes. I loved what he did with Michael [Keaton] and Batman, and I was a big fan.”
Nicolas Cage believes the failure of ‘Mars Attacks’ led to his Superman project getting dumped
Cage added, “I love [Tim Burton’s 1996 film] Mars Attacks. I thought Mars Attacks was just a fantastic, groundbreaking movie. He’s a groundbreaker! But they were scared at the studio because of Mars Attacks. Warner Brothers had lost a lot of money on the movie. These movies that are really weird, that challenge and break ground, they piss a lot of people off. I think they got cold feet. They’d spent a lot of money already building the sets and the costume and what have you. But you never know. I don’t mean to be cryptic Cage, but you never know!”
Cage also revealed that he and Burton’s take on the man of tomorrow would be quite different. “It was more of a 1980s Superman with like, the samurai black long hair. I thought it was gonna be a really different, sort of emo Superman, but we never got there.”
The Face/Off star also noted that genre films, such as sci-fi projects, can be the most freeing as an actor. “Everybody is very sensitive right now,” Cage reasoned. “If you look at the science fiction format, you put it on a different planet, you put it in the future, what have you, you can pretty much say what you want because it’s not right now. Oh, I didn’t I didn’t mean that — it was on a planet called Exeter or something. That’s where it happened. I didn’t mean that! You can get your freedom speech mojo on and do what you want.”