Nicolas Cage Reflects on Tim Burton’s Canceled Superman Lives Movie

By | March 12, 2023

Nicolas Cage was set to play the role of Superman in Tim Burton’s canceled film Superman Lives. According to the actor, he’s still not really sure why that movie never happened.

Speaking during the acceptance of the Variety Legend & Groundbreaker Award at the Miami Film Festival, Cage reflected on the canceled film, noting that he was the one who approached Tim Burton about making the film.

“They wanted Renny Harlin to do the movie. I sat down with Renny,” Cage said. “I was doing another picture, 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, I said, 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.”

Cage went on to praise Burton’s work on films like Mars Attacks, but also noted that Warner Bros. were “scared” after the film had lost so much money, and he ultimately believes they got “cold feet” when it came time to make Superman Lives.

“I love 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!”

As far as his version of Superman, Cage referred to his take as “more of a 1980s Superman,” with “samurai black long hair” with an emo feel to him.

The infamous Superman Lives was originally developed in the mid-1990s and was written by Kevin Smith after he pitched an idea for the film to producer Jon Peters. A release date was originally planned for 1998, with Kevin Spacey in talks to play Lex Luthor, Christopher Walken the choice for Brainiac, with Sandra Bullock, Courteney Cox, and Julianne Moore in the running for Lois Lane, and Chris Rock as Jimmy Olsen. Ultimately, the project was put on hold in 1998 and never came out.