While promoting his new film Nightcrawler, writer/director Dan Gilroy shared that audiences would’ve seen a very unique take on the Man of Steel in Tim Burton’s canceled film, Superman Lives.
“Well I came in after Kevin Smith and Wesley Strick had written drafts,” Gilroy said. “I was very much taken by Tim's approach, which was that Kal-El was not told by Jor-El, before he got put in the little spaceship, who he was or where he came from. So poor little Kal-El, when he winds up on earth, he has no freaking idea where he came from. His biggest fear is that he's an alien. Our Superman was in therapy at the beginning of the film. He's in a relationship with Lois Lane and he can't commit. Or he was maybe in couple's therapy. But he can't commit because he doesn't know who he is or what is going on with him. He's hoping that he has some physiological condition that gives him these powers but that he's still human. It becomes very apparent, though, early in the script, when Lex Luthor uncovers the remnants of the spacecraft, he suddenly realizes – "Oh my god, I'm an alien." It was all about the psychological trauma of it. I loved it.”
Nic Cage wasn’t the only unique casting choice for the film, Gilroy states.
“We had Chris Rock as Jimmy Olsen,” he said.
Gilroy explains that timing ultimately proved to be the film’s Kryptonite.
“They pulled the plug right when we were doing camera tests,” Gilroy said. “We were doing camera tests. It was very far along…And unfortunately, while we were working on the script, Warner Bros was hemorrhaging. Every big movie that was coming out was bombing and failing and when it came time to step up and bankroll our script, they didn't have the financial wherewithal or desire. Which is a shame because Tim would have knocked it out of the park. And Nic Cage, oh my god! I was so ready for that.”
Gilroy is confident that the failed film would’ve been a monumental success if it had hit theaters.
“Tim [Burton] would have created a Superman for the ages,” Gilroy said. “I really feel that.”