Dodged Bullets: 14 Actors Who Were Almost Superheroes

Published 4 years ago by , Updated May 3rd, 2014 at 7:40 am,

ashton kutcher superman Dodged Bullets: 14 Actors Who Were Almost Superheroes

Ashton Kutcher as Superman

While Warner Bros. tried to push forward with Abrams and Ratner’s Superman, a cavalcade of well-known actors young, tall and dark-haired, put their hand up for the lead role. Among them were Brendan Fraser, David Boreanaz and Ashton Kutcher, who all auditioned.

Rumored to be the front-runner after a “very, very good” screen-test, Kutcher eventually ‘punk’d’ Ratner and producers when he decided to drop himself from the race, after being spooked by the alleged ‘Superman curse.’

“… I think there’s a bit of a curse behind that role – the things that have happened to people. Also, I think once you’ve played that role then you’re just forever known as Superman. It’s kind of hard to play other things. I have a lot of other characters I’d rather play.”

Ratner soon dropped out of the project too, leaving McG to jump back on board and pick up the Superman slack. Still using Abrams’ galaxy-spanning script, McG looked to cast an unknown as the Man of Steel, and shot test footage with TV stars Jason Behr (Roswell), Henry Cavill (The Tudors) and Jared Padalecki (Supernatural).

In the end, McG was spooked himself – not by the dreaded curse but by the flight to Australia, where Warner Bros. wanted, and eventually got, its new Superman film shot. Bryan Singer braved the travel, and with him came an adequate actor to fill the big red boots, Brandon Routh.

Sylvester Stallone as Superman

sly stallone superman Dodged Bullets: 14 Actors Who Were Almost Superheroes

While Brandon Routh was a worthy replacement, Christopher Reeve was THE perfect Clark Kent/Superman, with producer Ilya Salkind fortunately taking the unknown actor route in order to cast his lead in his Superman: The Movie.

Directed by Richard Donner, Superman was the first big-budget, big-screen superhero movie and attracted some big names. The biggest – Warren Beatty, Robert Redford and Burt Reynolds – were said to have knocked back offers to star as Superman early on in development; but rising stars were knocking down Salkind’s door to audition. They included Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nick Nolte and  Sylvester Stallone, who threw his hat into the ring after the success of Rocky.

Stallone apparently lobbied hard for the part  and could’ve been Superman – until he received a big right hook from Marlon Brando, who had already been signed to star as Jor-El, the father of Kal-El/Clark Kent/Superman. Brando didn’t want the Itallion Stallion playing his son.

marlon brando superman Dodged Bullets: 14 Actors Who Were Almost Superheroes

Salkind – the man who first gave Superman cinematic life and ultimately ended it with Superman III and IV - said just last month at the Wizard World Anaheim Comic Con that it would have been “a little bit difficult to imagine” Stallone in the role:

“After meeting a lot of actors, such as Jon Voight – we even met Neil Diamond, don’t ask me why - I knew in my heart of hearts it had to be an unknown.”

Thank god his heart of hearts was making the decision – the world would be a much sadder place if it had never known Reeves as the Man of Steel.

Continue to the latest superhero movie near miss…

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TAGS: batman, captain america, iron man, iron man 2, iron man 3, spider-man, superman, superman man of steel, the avengers, the dark knight rises

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  1. Kansas;Wichita

  2. Ah man,,,,,that was a good laugh!!! Epic!!!
    ^

    Nothing, I’m sorry to bother you, Nandrolone-Decanate.
    Ah. ;-O

  3. wtf K?

  4. the manips are gold, man. gold.

  5. You know Thomas Jane was also up for the Wolverine role. In fact Singer wanted him, but Fox wouldn’t let him hire Jane unless there was a screen test, of which Jane couldn’t do because of scheduling another film at the time.

    Here’s the interview where, Jane talks about it.

    http://www2.kisw.com/listen/thomas-jane-0

  6. Mihovil, I think Jackman was perfect for Wolverine!

    Jane is a good actor, but doesn’t have the wild look Hugh can pull off.

    :-)

    I think the X-Men films would have sucked without him.

  7. I liked Jackman as Wolverine too, I just found it interesting that Jane was basically a hair away from being cast. While, I do think Jane could have pulled off playing Wolverine, I thought he was much better suited as the Punisher.

  8. Ah I agree Mihovil, Jane was great as Punisher!

    I liked the recent directors cut Dvd release.

  9. You know, I’m really glad Tim Burton (crappy excuse for an artsy director) didn’t get to make Superman. Otherwise, Superman would have had hands for scissors, his girl would be goth and Johnny Depp would play the villain or Superman, which of course, would be dressed in black. Very original if you ask me /sarcasm. Why Tim Burton makes movies even today is beyond me.

  10. I loved this article!

    But there are several, well-documented cases that I think are worth mentioning that were left out:

    Charlie Sheen lobbied for the role of Spider-Man when the film was being developed in the early ’90s, Tom Cruise was also interested. Stan Lee wanted to play J. Jonah, and said in a raido interview that John Cusack was up for Peter Parker. John Malkovich, Nicolas Cage, and Robert De Niro were all offered the roll of the Green Goblin during Raimi’s run. Heath Ledger was the first choice to play Spider-Man at one point, he rejected the studio’s offers fearing typecasting.

    Glenn Danzig (of The Misfits) was set to play Wolverine in a low-budget one-shot X-Men film in the early ’90s because of his height (5’4″) and toned build. Russell Crowe was offered the role in a later production but declined. Angela Bassett had been offered the role of Storm.

    Tim Burton considered Pierce Brosnan, Keven Costner, Kevin Kline, Alec Baldwin, and Tom Selleck for Batman, among others. Willem Dafoe has gone on record stating he was in talks to play Batman early in production, despite rumors he was in the running to play the Joker. David Bowie, Tim Curry, John Lithgow, James Woods, John Glover, Ray Liotta, and Robin Williams were all considered for the Joker.

    Marlon Wayans was actually cast as Robin in Batman Returns & Burtons proposed third film. While promoting GI Joe, he said he still gets residual checks, even though he part was cut.

    Guy Pearce was offered the role of Daredevil (which would have been awesome – fingers crossed for the reboot…), Matt Damon and Edward Norton were also considered.

  11. Last year, I remember reading a story about how a reporter who had an appointment to interview Jason Statham (The Transporter) at Cannes had to interview him at table where he was meeting with Frank Miller (Sin City). Apprently, dispite Stathams obvious Cockney accent, Miller want him to play Daredevil in much darker, more violent reboot. I think, that if Statham could nail the accent he’d be brilliant in the role.

    • Not just the accent, PHOENIX80…he’d HAVE to get a toupee, as Matt Murdock is not bald, but Statham IS a bit sparse on the rooftop…

      • That’s very true. If they set it near the end of his crime fighting career they could work around it, (make out like he’s getting on a bit) but they’d still have to work around that accent. “Oeem t man witout Feeeeaar!”

  12. Rem pretty much got all the ones I can think of. Lets not forget Will Smith Being considered for Captain America. Back in The 90′s Captain movie they offered the part to Arnold Swartzenager but then changed there minds do to hi accent. They also asked Val Kilmer who later on played Batman. Christian Bale auditioned for the role of Robin in Batman Forever and was turned down. Just to add to Matt Damon playing Daredevil(that would be awesome) It was a script written by Kevin Smith who was the Current Writer of the comic and Robert Rodriguez Directing. They all eventually dropped because of the unnecessarily high budget.

  13. Another near-miss was Lyle Waggoner as Batman instead of Adam West.

  14. “Cruise, on the other hand, may have made Stark just an asshole. Sorry Tom.”

    That was LOL funny…

  15. … and, from what I undestand, Prince lobbied pretty hard for the original Joker

  16. Wow! Christopher Reeve, Tom Welling, and Brandon Routh all the way!!!

  17. Always knew Will Smith was a racist

    • I hope you’re joking.

      • …because he is 100% correct with what he said.

        I mean my goodness the comments section of this site is evidence of that!?!

  18. You forgot to mention Jack Black as Green Lantern! Ugh….that would have been awful.

  19. I’d be just FINE in a world without Christian Bale Batman—as well as one without Christian Bale—PERIOD. Just a huge bloated ego, overrated waste of space. Total diva. But no one but Downey could be Tony Stark. Tom Cruise is okay, but not in that role.

  20. I feel neither one way nor another about Tom Cruise, and I think RDJ is definitely the superior actor of the two, but I need to point out that RDJ could also be considered a “midget” in the same vein as Cruise. They are both about 5’6″…just sayin…

  21. And I may be alone in my thinking, but I think John Krazinski would have made a perfect Steve Rogers. *swoon*

    As for Halle Berry, I agree that see is a zero talent moron skating by on her looks. Just listen to any interview that she’s ever done if you don’t believe me. Catwoman is by far my favorite comic book character, abduction I refuse to recognize that abomination of a movie she made by that name. She was NEVER Catwoman as far as I’m concerned. *HISSSSS!!* lol

    End of rant. ;)

  22. AND* not abduction lol

  23. The weird one is Jake Gyllenhaal as Batman. With that voice? No. Now, Daredevil on the other hand, I could totally see him as.

  24. They shouldve used Angela Basset as Storm

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