The Death Of Su­per­man Lives: What Hap­pened?

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Rated -

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.

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