More Hollywood Brilliance: Will Smith Was Offered Superman

Published 7 years ago by , Updated September 12th, 2013 at 10:52 pm,

Wow… things have actually been pretty quite here on the “tear Hollywood a new one” front, but this story puts the powers that be right in my sights once again. According to a recent interview with Will Smith, he was offered the iconic role of Superman in Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns before it was offered to Brandon Routh.

Thankfully, Smith had the presence of mind to turn it down.

According to MTV:

“There is no way I’m playing Superman!’ Because I had already done Jim West [of 'Wild Wild West'], and you can’t be messing up white people’s heroes in Hollywood! You mess up white people’s heroes in Hollywood, you’ll never work in this town again!”

Well, I don’t know about never working in Hollywood again, but would there be an outcry?

Are you kidding?

The only thing I’d like to know is what brilliant Hollywood mind floated that idea? I mean heck, maybe they could have suggested Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to play Muhammed Ali instead of Smith in Ali. I’m sure there might be a bit of controversy had that been the case.

This is complete speculation, but I’m wondering if there’s any chance it was director Bryan Singer who floated the idea… after all he didn’t have a problem with making Superman the father of an out-of-wedlock child.

I’m actually quite glad that Will Smith dipped his toe in the superhero genre with Hancock – I only wish the studio had kept their hands out of it and allowed the film to be released as an R-rated film as originally intended. I’m sure it would have turned out to be a better film.

This whole story is just a plain head-shaker as far as I’m concerned.

Source: MTV via ComicBookMovie

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  1. I have to say…I think I would have rather seen a black Superman. Then having to sit through that two and a half hour, snore fest.

    I mean seriously, who is really waiting for Superman: Man of Steel?

  2. “I mean seriously, who is really waiting for Superman: Man of Steel?”

    Not me.


  3. I’m…brown…but even I have to admit I just cant picture the sight of Big Willy in a cape in my head without laughing!

  4. I’m waiting for the next Superman film. Superman Returns was a solid flick, and infintely better than X3 (most disappointing movie ever made) – good call Bryan Singer on that move.

    Also mad props for using a complete unknown to play Superman who played the role perfectly.

  5. I allways thought that rumor was BS now you saying its true. WOW.
    That picture is halarious. :-)

    You know people would be saying the “S” stands for Scientology.

    I’m really sick of Will Smith and I’ve allready commited to going to HAMcock tommarow.
    Aahh Mannn…

  6. “Also mad props for using a complete unknown to play Superman who played the role perfectly.”
    Hey, man, quit being sarcastic!

  7. uhhh Batzarro, that’s not sarcasm.

    Routh was perfect as Superman and he was a complete unknown. For years they toyed with ideas of who would play the next superman, including Nicolas Cage. Routh was perfect, he had the look the physique and he did the role very well.

    I’m guess you haters of superman returns might be big X3 and Spidey 3 fans, lol

  8. I agree Rob that Routh was perfect as Supes. I felt the superkid was lame but overall it was solid film. The scene with the spaceshuttle was worth the price of the dvd alone. (That’s my fav part of the film).

    X3 was ok even with the Ellen Page mutant. Haha. But I still think the film gets thrown out the window when day turns to night in the time of 1 second at the beginning of the final battle. The Phoenix character was wasted as was Cyclops.

    I think I’m the only one here that felt Spider Man 3 was the best so far… ;-)

  9. Routh had the look, and also the charisma of a quarter pound of tofu. The third acts of the Spider-man and X-men are the only ones I have not actively sought for purchase for those respective series. But at least those understood Superheroes are meant to do action things. Isn’t that the point? But, hey, at least Will Smith avoided THAT bullet…

  10. Hey now people! I loved “Superman Returns” and wholeheartedly look forward to “Superman: The Man of Steel”.

  11. Years ago, ironically enough, Ali was offered the part of Superman for the iconic Richard Donner version.


  12. Actually I have a “Giant” format comic book from the 70′s that has Ali sparring with Superman himself on the cover…A testament to how truly popular and iconic Ali was…Anybody know what I am referring too?

  13. JAmes Marsdens Cyclops character was probably killed off in the movie because Marsden was such a strong supporter of Singer and he was quite vocal about his lack of support for Ratner to take over Singers franchise spin..add to the fact that Singer gave him a role in SR and that was the nail in the coffin for Cyclops…I think Ellen Page was a perfect Kitty Pride.I watched SPiderman a dozen times, Spiderman II a half-dozen times..SPiderman 3 I watched once and only once and I have no desire to watch it again…Peter doing the disco Stu/Fred Astaire bit REALLY RUINED that movie for me and I think they ruined the Gwen Stacy myhtos for me as she was Peter’s true first love and they should have stayed true to that mythos…Since MJ became that in the movies they should kill her off and make Gwen Pete’s new squeeze..


    That’s awesome! Heck, there was a Charles Barkley vs. Godzilla comic and commercial:


  15. I’m REALLY looking forward to Man of Steel. Loved SR, minor flaws and all.

  16. Green,

    I had that same comic book! Very cool. :-) Can’t remember how it was that Superman didn’t pummel Ali, lol. No powers, maybe.


  17. Superman Returns is a beautiful film. I wasn’t totally in love with it when I first saw it, but I really respect Singer’s vision and his attempt at something epic and mature.
    Anyone who says it outright ‘sucks’ needs to take a step back and think about it for a few minutes. Either that or they are just morons with no appreciation for well-crafted cinema.
    Anyone who can’t see any good in that film, I can’t take them seriously.

  18. Also, there is no way Singer would’ve chosen Will Smith to play Superman. Singer wanted someone who looked like our collective impression of who superman is, like Chris Reeve.

  19. “There is no way I’m playing Superman!’ Because I had already done Jim West [of 'Wild Wild West'], and you can’t be messing up white people’s heroes in Hollywood! You mess up white people’s heroes in Hollywood, you’ll never work in this town again!”

    The rest of that sentence … “…Ask Shaquille O’neal after he made ‘Steel’.”

  20. Zipper Stevens: I don’t understand what you are saying. Steel was black last I saw him…Or are you impying messing black heroes is a poison pill, as well?

  21. “Superman Returns is a beautiful film.”

    Uh, nothing personal, but if I want to see “a beautiful film” I’ll let my wife drag me to some Victorian era chick-flick.


  22. Batz: Kind of: I’m aware of John Henry Irons but even an intended black version of Superman didn’t work. What has Shaq done since then? But then again, comparing Shaq’s stage presence to Will Smith’s is about like comparing their NBA careers.

    Steel is something I still think could work on the big screen. Maybe that’s a franchise that needs a reboot/remake/reimagining. :)

  23. Totally disagree with the guy who said X-3 was bad…no-way, this film was my fave X-Men movie…tighter…great effects…good cast…I don’t know why some folk took this view it was poor…and wasn’t it a smash at the box office too!?!I rest my case!!!
    I want to see another Superman movie too,but like Spiderman,they got to give us something new and different or they risk flushing the worlds biggest heroes down the pan.

  24. I don’t believe this. Wil is just saying this for hype purposes only. Superman is such an iconic character, they wouldn’t dare cast Smith in the role. Just too far off the mark. Dwayne “rock” Johnson for Capt. Marvel maybe. But Wil Smith as Supes? Gimme a break. BTW, the Superman franchise is one large snoozefest. They need to jettison the whole Superman/Messiah stuff. It shackles the character and prevents him from any type of growth because he’s supposedly perfect. Batman works so well because of the contrast between his perfect crimefighting skills and psychological complexities…

  25. I actually really like Brandon Routh as I thoiught he did a fine job in Superman Returns. I have givin some though to Dwayne (THE ROCK) Johnson if WB wanted to try something a litte different. He’s certainly is one likeable guy! Singers Superman film is flawed but it’s still good in my opinion.The next Superman movie needs a villian other than Lex Luthor.

  26. I’m sure Routh is a great guy. But as Superman, he was too effeminate for me. They should’ve gone with a more rugged type. Its bad enough that the guy wear tights resembling pantyhose, did they have to cast some guy who looks like he belongs in an Abercrombie & Fitch advertisment? Reminds me of former Houston, Texans quarterback David Carr. Great looking dude, but couldn’t play ball. The same hold true for Routh in Superman. Chris Reeve was a rarity…he could play macho and sensitive at the same time…not too many other guys can pull that off

  27. Carter,

    I’m with you, bud. I would LOVE to see someone cast that fits the look as Alex Ross depicts Superman.


  28. Zipper Stevens: And I agree with you! I would have understood that the Steel movie didn’t dwell any into the Superman angle. But the core of the character, I.E. “Make it count” could have been presserved. Saw the movie the other day on Youtube. Man, John Henry is essentially a mix between Shaft and MR T. When what he SHOULD be is a smart engineer who knows he can’t get the job done with just strenght.

  29. ~Forgive me for this…~

    Now this is the story all about how/
    My life got flipped, turned upside down;
    And I’d like to take a minute, just sit there, Miss
    I’ll tell you how I became the toast of this fine Metropolis…

    In a podunk town, Smallville, found and raised/
    In the barnyard is where I spent most of my days….
    Cleanin’ stalls out, geekin’, peekin’ like a fool,
    Usin’ x-ray vision on the cheerleaders showerin’ after school.

    When Adopt-A-Pop died, ’cause his heart gave him strife,
    Started makin’ trouble in my bucolic life;
    I lose one adoptive parent and my mom lets it rip,
    ‘You’re not of this Earth, boy; you came by rocketship!”

    I begged and pleaded with her to say she was wrong;
    But that’s when the green crystal started singin’ its song
    Told me to go North, past Santy Claus land
    And when I got there, pitchin’ practice with green lightstick in hand

    First class, don’t I wish;
    Drinking melty snow and eating frozen raw fish!
    Is this what my life is supposed to be?
    I’ll give it two weeks; then again, maybe three.

    But wait…I hear the crystal hit the icecap,
    Then I see weird alien girders and that kinda crap!
    I don’t think so…I’ll see what they sell;
    Hey! Big Charley Rich head, calls himself Big Jor-El!

    Stood there for 12 years, watchin’ pretty lights
    Then the show stopped an’ I was wearin’ tights!
    My costume designer must have drunk too much grape
    Cause my underpants are outside, and I’m wearin’ a cape

    Well, I flew to Metropolis like a meteor aflame,
    Then got major hotvibes from Miss Lois Lane.
    If anything I could say that this chick was rude,
    So I got her brushoff, then went for some food

    I left the building then heard a strained cry
    Little Miss Snobby was just ’bout to die
    So one quick-change later, up, up, and away
    Now I’m savin’ the world almost every day!