The Death Of Superman Lives: What Happened?
From Krypton to development hell
Release Date: 9 July
2015 | Video on demand Director: Jon Schnepp Interviewees: Tim Burton, Jon Peters, Kevin Smith, Colleen Atwood, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Rick Heinrichs
Imagine a time,
if you can, when cinemas were not filled with superhero movies. This dark epoch has a name: the ’ 90s. Following the spectacular flop of Superman IV: The Quest For Peace, producer Jon Peters and director Tim Burton planned to revitalise the Man of Steel’s fortunes with Superman Lives, inspired by the popular Death Of Superman comic storyline. But just before the film was due to start production, with Nicolas Cage in the lead, Warner Bros pulled the plug.
Jon Schnepp’s documentary looks at what might have been had Superman Lives, er, lived, via interviews with Peters and Burton, screenwriters Kevin Smith, Dan Gilroy and Wesley Strick, and a host of artists and designers. Kevin Smith’s stories about his script meetings with Peters are hilarious ( giant spiders abound) while the chance to see so much of the spectacular concept art created for the film is wonderful. Notable by his absence is Nicolas Cage, although this blow is softened somewhat by the inclusion of costume test footage that captures the actor and Burton chatting about the character.
Since there was never a final script, the picture that emerges of Burton’s vision remains fuzzy, but his regret at never being able to realise his interpretation of Superman is palpable and, watching this, all too easy to share. David West Superman Lives was set to feature Lex Luthor, Doomsday and Brainiac. First choice for Brainiac was Christopher Walken.
“Well I don’t know, do you know?” He doesn’t know.