One of the most talked about movie franchises currently reigning supreme in Hollywood is the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). The DCEU only began back in 2013 with Man of Steel, and the franchise is already the 17th highest grossing franchise in film history, mostly thanks to both Batman v Superman and Wonder Woman respectively reaching over 800 million at the box office.

Of course, the DCEU will still have a long way to go before they reach the same level of success and prestige as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but in a short amount of time, the DCEU has already caused quite a stir.

With Justice League quickly approaching on the horizons, the DCEU is bound to make even more headlines in the near future. The DCEU has already made many headlines with their films, but they have made just as many headlines over what has gone on behind the scenes of those films.

It goes without saying that the DCEU has been subject to controversy already. Suicide Squad was a key example, where Jared Leto’s practice for method acting as the Joker called for him to send some lewd “pranks” to his cast mates, like bullets, a dead hog, and a live rat.

We all know that story by now, but there are some shocking things about the DCEU– things that went on behind and in front of the camera– that even the most die hard of DCEU fans may not know about.

Here are the 15 Facts Even Die-Hard Fans Didn’t Know About The DCEU.

15. Gal Gadot Had No Idea She Auditioned for Wonder Woman

Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman 2 copy 15 Facts Even Die Hard Fans Didn’t Know About The DCEU

When Warner Bros. was first casting for the role of Wonder Woman for their DCEU, it was a top secret. So secret, in fact, that they would not allow actresses to go into their auditions knowing that they were reading for the part of Wonder Woman.

Just ask Gal Gadot, who once revealed during an interview on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon that she read for the part of Wonder Woman without knowing what character she was reading for.

When she did the audition, she was told that it was a secret role and, without knowing who or what her character was, she just had to read the lines she was given. When she went back to Israel, she was asked to do some more camera tests and got the call from Zack Snyder about which character she was reading for all along.

14. Will Smith Trained with Navy Seals for Deadshot

Will Smith Deadshot Gun 15 Facts Even Die Hard Fans Didn’t Know About The DCEU

Considering how the character appears in comic books, many people felt like Will Smith is an oddly unconventional choice to play Deadshot in the DCEU, especially considering that Smith is better known for playing the charming lead in a schmaltzy picture rather than the usually deadly serious assassin that Deadshot normally is in the comics.

Knowing that he wasn’t everyone’s first choice at playing Deadshot, Will Smith decided to make the most out of the opportunity. He decided to go all out in preparing for his role. The biggest way he prepped for his performance as a skilled marksman was by training with NAVY Seals and Army Rangers in shooting combat.

The preparation helped Smith’s turn in Suicide Squad seem even more legitimate as a skilled shooter who never misses a shot.

13. Lex Luthor Was Almost Played By a Completely Different Actor 

Tom Hanks and Jesse Eisenberg Lex Luthor 15 Facts Even Die Hard Fans Didn’t Know About The DCEU

For Warner Bros., the journey to find its new Lex Luthor for their DCEU was a long and rigorous one. After Kevin Spacey did such a bang up job in Superman Returns— probably the only good thing about that movie– there were obviously some big shoes to fill for the role of Lex Luthor.

Initially, Warner Bros. was going to head with the typical direction of getting an older actor in the role. Joaquin Phoenix was asked to play the part, but turned it down. Tom Hank’s name was thrown around and was allegedly asked, but if he was, he turned it down.

So the company decided to go for a younger actor instead. Adam Driver was asked and seemed interested, but had to decline due to a scheduling conflict. Ultimately, the part went to Jesse Eisenberg.

12. Batman V Superman Was Originally Pitched in 2001

Batman V Superman Logo in I Am Legend 15 Facts Even Die Hard Fans Didn’t Know About The DCEU

Warner Bros. went on an even more gruelling and agonizing journey when it tried to bring Batman v Superman to the big screen. The film project was actually originally pitched back in 2001 by writer Akiva Goldman.

The pitch was actually successful and Warner Bros. set the film to come out a few years later. Goldman wrote an early draft of Batman v Superman and everything, but for whatever reason, the project got dropped and replaced by Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.

However, Goldman never could let go of his Batman/Superman pipe dream, and so when he wrote and produced I Am Legend, he decided to drop a little Easter egg related to the project as a billboard that advertised the film that we didn’t get until 2016.

11. Ben Affleck Almost Directed Man of Steel

man steel superman zod death 15 Facts Even Die Hard Fans Didn’t Know About The DCEU

Ben Affleck’s performance as Bruce Wayne/Batman has divided many audiences in his brief run as the Caped Crusader so far. One wonders, with all of the controversy surrounding his casting, maybe audiences would have preferred to see Ben Affleck direct a film for DCEU rather than act in it.

This almost nearly was the case as he was on a shortlist of directors who Warner Bros. wanted to bring in as the director of Man of Steel back in 2010. At the time he was asked, he was just coming off some exceptional praise for his film The Town, where his directorial work had garnered some serious Oscar talk.

Affleck was even asked if he would direct, but declined due to lack of interest. Hence, the director’s chair was given to the next name on that shortlist: Zack Snyder.

10. Ryan Gosling Almost Played The Joker

Big Short Ryan Gosling interview 15 Facts Even Die Hard Fans Didn’t Know About The DCEU

It can be argued that the hardest role in the DCEU that Warner Bros. tried to cast was the Joker. After all, the last actor to play the Joker on the big screen was Heath Ledger and, for obvious reasons, those are some big shoes to fill. The pressure alone could scare some actors off.

It was certainly one of the deciding factors in why some of the actors who Warner Bros. approached backed out of jocking for the role. The one man at the top of Warner Bros.’ shortlist was Ryan Gosling.

Gosling was asked to play the Joker, but because he was not willing to sign a multi-film contract commitment, he declined their offer. Warner Bros. then moved on to the next name on their shortlist: Jared Leto, who accepted.

9. Amy Adams Was Almost Lois Lane in Superman Returns

Superman Amy Adams in Man of Steel 1 e1500726996740 15 Facts Even Die Hard Fans Didn’t Know About The DCEU

For the foreseeable future, Amy Adams will be playing Lois Lane in the DCEU, but she very nearly played the character much sooner. As childhood fan of Superman, Amy Adams held the character of Lois Lane very near and dear to her heart for much of her career, so much so, in fact, that she constantly auditioned to play the character whenever the opportunity presented itself for her.

The first time came in 2003 when she jocked to play the part in Brett Ratner’s Superman Flyby project that never got off the ground. Then, when Bryan Singer was looking to cast a Lois Lane for Superman Returns, Amy Adams couldn’t wait to audition.

Unfortunately for Adams, the role went to Kate Botsworth instead. Now, be it due to determination or destiny, Amy Adams will be playing Lois Lane for many years to come in the DCEU.

8. Christopher Reeve Has a Cameo in Man of Steel… Kinda

Man of Steel Christopher Reeve Easter egg 15 Facts Even Die Hard Fans Didn’t Know About The DCEU

When it was first released in theaters, Man of Steel was presented as a completely modern and fresh take on the Superman character. With that said, this does not mean that the cast and crew behind the scenes did not forget what captivate audiences to gravitate towards the Superman character on the big screen 35 years prior to Man of Steel‘s theatrical release.

That would be Christopher Reeve’s approach to the character in 1978. It seems as though, despite the fact that Reeve has since passed away over a decade ago, Man of Steel‘s filmmakers allegedly wanted to include Reeve in the final cut of the film.

We say allegedly because Zack Snyder says that it was only a coincidence that Henry Cavill’s face briefly looks like Reeve during the flying scene in the movie. Happy coincidence or secret Easter egg? You be the judge.

7. Zack Snyder’s DCEU Cameo

Wonder Woman Zack Snyder cameo 15 Facts Even Die Hard Fans Didn’t Know About The DCEU

We all know how much Marvel loves its cameos. There is a reason why Stan Lee has shown up in every single Marvel movie to date. However, DCEU also wants to take a crack at the game of cameos.

At least, they did so with Zack Snyder. We all remember the old school World War I photo featuring Wonder Woman that appeared in Batman v Superman and Wonder Woman. That pic was snapped on the very first day of production on the set of Wonder Woman.

What we never knew was that Snyder himself was in the background in costume as a World War I soldier. If one were to look close enough in the picture when it appears in either film, they will see a distorted glimpse of Snyder standing around in the background.

6. Patty Jenkins Almost Directed Wonder Woman in 2005

Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins on the Wonder Woman set 15 Facts Even Die Hard Fans Didn’t Know About The DCEU

Patty Jenkins made history this year when Wonder Woman opened up in theaters and shattered box office numbers. The film reached an array of records, including highest grossing film directed by a woman, since the movie was directed by Patty Jenkins.

One has to wonder if these records could have been achieved in 2005 when Jenkins was already in talks to direct a Wonder Woman movie. When Hollywood was in the early stages of trying to get a Wonder Woman movie made in 2005, Jenkins (who at the time was straight off the heels of her critically acclaimed directorial debut Monster) was handed a script for the project and asked to direct it.

However, since she was pregnant at the time, she wasn’t keen on having to leave her newborn boy for a year to go shoot a movie and had to decline the offer. The project fizzled out shortly afterwards, but when it resurfaced for the DCEU, Jenkins was brought back on board.

5. Suicide Squad’s Production Had an On-Set Therapist

Margot Robbit stressed 15 Facts Even Die Hard Fans Didn’t Know About The DCEU

As we mentioned earlier, the cast of Suicide Squad all had a blast working together on the set. On the other hand, when the cast has someone like Jared Leto sending everyone miscellaneous items like bullets and used condoms, life on the set can be a little bit stressful.

This is just one of the reasons why there was an on-set therapist throughout production to console the cast members in between scenes. Adam Beach (who played Slipknot in the movie) explained that when a film like Suicide Squad goes for such gritty realism, the experience is going to weigh a heavy toll on the actors and thus a therapist is necessary to make sure that the actors are of sound mind once shooting is over and everyone walks away from the set.

4. Emma Roberts Almost Played Harley Quinn 

Emma Roberts in AHS Cult 15 Facts Even Die Hard Fans Didn’t Know About The DCEU

When Warner Bros. first started planning out their DC Extended Universe, perhaps one role that was even more important to cast than the role of the Joker was the role of Harley Quinn.

As much as taking the role of the Joker had its pressure attached to it with big shoes to fill, there had to be even more pressure on finding an actress to play Harley Quinn because the character had never seen the live action big screen before.

One of the big names that Warner Bros. went after to play the part was Emma Roberts. Roberts actually got the part and initially accepted it, but due to a scheduling conflict on her Scream Queens show, she had to back out. The role wound up being passed onto Margot Robbie.

3. Gal Gadot Almost Gave Up Acting Before Landing Wonder Woman Role 

 15 Facts Even Die Hard Fans Didn’t Know About The DCEU

Taking up the role of Wonder Woman turned out to be a life changing move for Gal Gadot. Seemingly overnight, Gal Gadot became one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, but the road to success was not an easy one.

As with any successful person in any profession, the road was never coated with sunshine, rainbows, and ease. For Gadot, as she explained during an interview on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, she was not sure how long she could keep working as an actress who constantly got rejected whenever a part seemed like it was “almost” hers.

She seriously considered quitting acting before taking up the secret audition from Zack Snyder for the part of Wonder Woman. There is a good chance that, if she did not get the part, Gadot would have quit acting.

2. Toddler Superman Cameo in Man of Steel

Aaron Smolinski Superman as a child and cameo in Man of Steel 15 Facts Even Die Hard Fans Didn’t Know About The DCEU

For those still on the fence about whether or not the Christopher Reeve cameo is legitimate or not, Man of Steel had another cameo that fans may have missed. It was actually from the first actor to play Superman on the big screen, and it was not Christopher Reeve.

Yes, Reeve was the first actor to play the role in the movies full time, but technically, the first actor to play Superman (or Kal-El/Clark Kent) on the big screen was the toddler who emerged from Superman’s space pod at the very beginning of the 1978 Superman.

That actor was a young Aaron Smolinski in his first movie role. Now Smolinski is all grown up and Zack Snyder decided to sneak him in for an appearance in Man of Steel as a communications officer.

1. Suicide Squad Cast Mates Got Matching “SKWAD” Tattoos

Suicide Squad Movie Easter Eggs 15 Facts Even Die Hard Fans Didn’t Know About The DCEU

As much as the majority of audiences may have came out of Suicide Squad feeling lukewarm about the picture, the cast loved every second of working together on the set. Everyone in the cast was able to create a strong bond beyond the set and developed genuine, long lasting friendships with each other. So much so that most of the cast were willing to get matching tattoos.

Not everyone in the cast was willing to get a matching tattoo, though– Margot Robbie outed Will Smith as someone who didn’t get one– but those who did solidified their bond with ink as a sort of blood bond. To make the occasion all the more personal, the cast’s tats were penciled in courtesy of Will Smith and Margot Robbie.

Can you think of any other secret facts about the DCEU that die-hard fans might not know about? Sound off in the comments!

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