Photos from Tim Burton’s ‘Superman Lives’ Depict Nicolas Cage in Costume

Published 2 years ago by

big daddy Photos from Tim Burtons Superman Lives Depict Nicolas Cage in Costume

This summer, comic book fans are eagerly awaiting the big screen return of Superman in director Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. Back in the 1990s, however, the character was almost brought to life by none other than Tim Burton, director of Batman and Batman Returns.

The film – titled Superman Lives – was going to feature Nicolas Cage as the last son of Krypton and would have seen classic villains Lex Luthor and Braniac teaming up to defeat Superman. Pre-production had begun on the project when, alas (or perhaps thankfully), it fell apart. Superman wouldn’t return to the big screen until Bryan Singer’s 2006 aptly titled Superman Returns.

Now, thanks to the DCU Movie Page, we have a better glimpse at what Cage would have looked like in Supes’ iconic suit. See the photos below:


cage superman 280x170 Photos from Tim Burtons Superman Lives Depict Nicolas Cage in Costume

The black and white nature of the photos doesn’t give us any indication as to the colors of the Superman Lives costume, but the design certainly strays very far indeed from the more realistic take we’re getting with Man of Steel (as well as Singer’s version from Superman Returns). Rather than streamlining the suit to make it less exaggerated, the Burton design instead embraces the overtly cartoony muscle tone in the same way Michael Keaton’s Batsuit did.

One can easily surmise that Burton would have applied a similar tone and comic book faithfulness to his take on Superman that he did to his 1989 version of the Dark Knight. Cage’s suit here seems to support that theory, at least based on this newly-uncovered photo.

However, the real question is whether or not fans would have been as receptive to Cage as Superman as they were to Keaton’s Batman. It’s easy to say now that Cage would have been miscast as the character, but Keaton – who was best known as a comedic actor at the time – was also criticized as a poor choice for the part of Bruce Wayne/Batman.

After all, Cage later got a chance to suit up as the Batman-esque superhero Big Daddy in Kick Ass, a role which he pulled off fairly well. On the other hand, he also starred in a pair of critically maligned Ghost Rider films, meaning his track record for playing comic book heroes is less than stellar since missing his chance to play Superman.

So, do you think that Cage could have pulled off the role of Superman, Screen Rant readers? Or are you glad the moviegoing public was spared his take on the character? Let us know in the comments section.

Man of Steel – the latest big-screen incarnation of the hero – hits theaters on June 14, 2013.


Source: DCU Movie Page [via Comic Book Movie]

Follow Robert Yaniz Jr. on Twitter @crookedtable
TAGS: Superman
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  1. No offense 2 cage, but thank God this didn’t get made. Just never thought that Tim Burton was the right director for a Superman film. I also remember back in the day how whenever someone brought up the iron man film, cage was attached 2 that project as well.

    • +1

      I enjoy most of Burton’s movies, and I liked Cage in Raising Arizona and Adaptation, but that would’ve been a disaster.

      • I thought I was the only person who thought this way!! Raising Arizona was a fantastic movie but Cage acting like a hick is easy to him as he is a hick! This could have been a worse acting decision than Tom Cruse as Jack Reacher or George Clooney as Batman – this would have beaten them all hands down!!

        • Cage as Superman?! That would have been one of the worst casting decisions in film history.

        • Nicholas Cage is a hick? He’s in the Coppola family, he was born in Long Beach.

          • Sounds and acts like one in every movie I have seen with him in it, calling it how it looks – nothing else. That annoying, deep south whisper he has does my head in!

            • Not like he’s an actor or anything…

            • Well if you’re ever interested in some movies where he doesn’t speak that way and actually delivers a good performance, try Snake Eyes, Bringing Out the Dead, Adaptation, Matchstick Men, and Leaving Las Vegas(which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor).

  2. I wouldn’t gone with that costume as it would be worse than Cavill’s. One as stated it looks as Keaton’s 89 Batman costume with the S on it & i would imagine Burton would have darker blue & red colors to it. 2nd, it makes Superman look as if his costume is armor or bullet proof for no reason.

    Imo, i couldn’t see Cage as Superman.

    • Cavill’s suit looks bad@ss man and hes gonna kill it as superman

  3. This superman is almost as bald as Lex Lurthor. Bet they gonna make Lex as blondie then to distinguish both of their outlook. Overall I’m just glad this movie was not make.

    • I think it would have been odd to have a balding Superman. I’m curious as to how it would have turned out though.

  4. I just… *sigh* what on earth were they thinking?

    • No one knows what Tim Burton is thinking… that’s why he’s Tim Burton ;)
      I’m so glad this movie never happened!

  5. Thank god this didn’t happen. What’s next Chris Tucker as Batman?

  6. For the 90′s I don’t think the suit looks too bad. Cage on the other hand…

    • he looks fine for a man in his 90′s.

  7. People seem to forget how good of an actor Nicolas Cage is (Adaptation, Face/off, Leaving Las Vegas, Lord of War, Matchstick Men, …) just because lately he takes every role offered due to his financial problems. Also, he is a big fan of Superman and even named his son Kal-el so I think he would do justice to the character. Burton on the other hand would probably do something comic-like like Batman and Batman returns which would probably be better than Superman Returns (2006). People now want a movie that is more realistic (Like TDKR trilogy, but back then Burton’s approach would work just fine. (sorry for my crappy english, it’s my second language)

    • Cage is a great actor. I’ve liked more of his movies than I’ve disliked. He plays the part he’s asked to play. I watched the director interview in Ghost Rider. Mark Steven Johnson told Cage to play it like a campy horror movie and he did. Not the actors faults the movie sucked.

      • Finally found more nic cage fans on the internet. Awesome.

    • I have found in life that people tend to repeat what others tell them.
      If one person says Cage is a horrible actor, the rest do. Its not an observation they make, its what the popular opinion is.

      Cage is fun, he is not the best nor the worst actor to ever be on the big screen. Burton’s superman would be fair as long as the studios kept is imagination in check, that mans mind is not always something I find entertaining.

      • Not all people tend to do that, the “best actor” will always come down to opinion. Theatre is an art that cannot be judged scientifically, it’s a beautiful complex form of entertainment that is unique in it’s own way. There is no “best” when it comes to handing out awards, more than one person is upset in the end. Criticism is harder than it looks to find whats fair and what isn’t because it all really is debatable in the end.

        I don’t like Cage, thats just me. Not because of some “popular opinion”

        • That maybe true for you, but is highly true for most of the populace.

          • People who think that Cage is a good actor are in a minority but he seems to do well at the box office, usually because his films are popcorn throw-aways such as Face/off, Gone in 60 Seconds, the Rock – I could go on forever – None will go down for having great acting, a plausible plot (most have plot holes bigger than the Grand Canyon) or any lasting appeal but somehow, with the same character he played in Raising Arizona he has managed to duplicate that guy in every movie and make a bucket full of cash so good luck to him I say!!

  8. I blame Tim Burton for the dodgy modern rubber Batman suit. What kind of agility can a martial artist like Batman gain from wearing a rubber suit?

    • @ Spence

      Bale’s batman costumes don’t allow him much martial artist agility neither. For that kind of action to it’s fullest, Batman’s costume would need to be more similiar to Cavill’s Superman costume.

      • That’s what I mean. It all started with Tim Burton. Looks like he was taking the same approach to Superman’s costume.

        Also, I wouldn’t mind seeing a grey and black Batman costume especially in the Justice League film. Batman will stand out like a sore thumb dressed in all black rubber.

      • Some kind of military fabric with minimal kevlar enhancements. JUST NOT RUBBER! The full body shots of Bale in costume below his waist just looked ridiculous in TDKR. The rubber kind of looked floppy on his legs as he’d walk/kick.

  9. Yes, it’s kooky, mysterious and ooky. But for some reason, I would’ve liked to have seen this collaboration between Burton and Kevin Smith (although I could just read the darn script).

    Guess I’ll have to settle for the documentary, assuming it gets made:

    • Awesome. Totally awesome.

    • Wow I had no idea that the ball was ever rolling on a Superman Lives movie!

      I think that would have been awesome to see, I kind of get Nic Cage as Superman to, he’s got that awkward geekiness about him to play Clark and the physique to play Superman, It’s shame it never got made, would have been more interesting than Superman Returns

  10. I think I’m gonna be sick

  11. Would have loved to see it !! Why not ?

    • +1
      Would have been a pretty unique take on Superman. Couldn’t have been worse than Brandon Routh in Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns.

      • Oh yes it could have, easily!

        • Well, yeah probably. If it made enough money, they would have franchised it and instead of the upcoming MOS, we’d have the remnants of Burton’s weird take.

  12. Based on the Death/Return of Superman series? Yes please! There’s a multifilm franchise for you.

  13. I actually think this suit and the new one look very similar. Granted, this one accentuates the muscles more, but it had dropped the external pants and looks very ‘modern’ in its design. In fact, i can honestly believe this particular suit was as much a source of inspiration for the MoS one as any from the comics.

    That said, Cage in the suit does not look, erm right?

  14. Keaton was miscast and i think most people acknowledge that.

    Cage is good on occasion, maybe superman would have been that but i doubt it.

    • I feel…

      Michael Keaton is the best Batman, but Christian Bale is the best Bruce Wayne. In live action though, Kevin Conroy to me remains Batman forever (pun intended).

    • Say what? I dont believe Ive read anywhere where ‘people’ acknowledge he was miscast unless you are speaking about before the fact. Or tow or three people that you know made that statement.

      One or two young kids that are now comparing it to the Nolans maybe but really the way you write that statement is an overwhelming amount of people think Keaton was not good for Batman.

      I would question that.

      • +1,000,000

        That is very questionable, considering the fact that the common person does not find much wrong with Batman ’89 and that the combination of Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson was a fantastic clash of Batman vs. The Joker

      • Beside it being completely awesome!

    • I didn’t like Keaton… or Bale.


    • Um excuse you, but I disagree with your bs statement. Keaton was fantastic as Batman. “Most people” got over themselves when they actually saw that he did a good job

      • Yep, Keaton IS the best batman so far and that is a fact – he was not miscast – Burton wanted him after they finished Beetlejuice

        • People seem to forget that movie came out when people still thought as Adam West Batman as Batman!

    • On an entirely different note… Nice site CF!

  15. What crazy casting!!! Thank God this didn’t get made!

  16. If Superman Lives ever made it to the theaters and bomb.

    Makeup Artist would have won an Academy Award for Making Nicolas Cage look like he had a good full head of hair.

  17. Cage as Superman? No way. Cage as an earthling or maybe another Kryptonian pretending to be Superman for some twisted reason….Yeah

    • He could be Bizzaro?

      • That doesn’t sound unreasonable.

  18. A Few years ago. One of the military contractors was designed a new flexible body armor, based on Polymer technology. The armor was Class Vii Kevlar reinforced with carbon metal mesh.

    The suit was designed to be worn over a form fitting body suit made of light flexible breathable latex. There were contacts running at the shoulder, elbow, forearms, chest, back, things, legs and calves. A Polymer ion batter pack was built into a belt.

    The Theory was. An electric current would go through the suit to the armor and polarize the armor, making it 10 times more dense, but retain mobility. I was a participant in the trials.

    I was to run, lift, climb, jump with the suit on and powered up. I am 6’4 and weighed between 240-250 lbs. My Speed in the 40 yard dash was 4.5 Without the suit, with the suit I was 4.65. My vertical jump was 32 inches

    The suit was negligible in restricting my movement. It was theory to stop up to .50 caliber shot from range, and stop a .40 caliber from 15 feet away.

    Problem was, the person wearing the suit would get a jolt when they started to perspire. Which was like getting hit with a low wattage stun gun. Was not harmful, just distracting. If the suit got wet from the outside, it would make it very painful.

    Plus, each suit was like 500 grand. So it is possible to make a suit that can be used in HTC and Closed Quarters combat. Just at a cost and discomfort.

    • Interesting if true.

      This sounds like what Iron Man’s suit in the comics is supposed to be like. It’s cloth-like until it’s “activated” and becomes dense like iron. That’s why he was able to fit it folded into his suitcase (although Favreau’s take on the Iron Man suit in a briefcase was more visually entertaining).

  19. Cage is an academy award winner sure…but he is no hunk…so it’s good he never played Superman…

  20. Nicolas Cage was casted to play Superman back in the year 1998 and I remember Warner Bros asked Tim Burton to discard the script. The script didn’t make sense at all. I heard “Superman 5″ was turned down and the Man of Steel costume looks terrible.

  21. Looking at the Big Daddy photo…..Cage for Batman in the JL???

    • Hell no, no offense to Cage, but I want to see someone who doesn’t have so many good AND bad movies play Superman so we still have a shred of hope. Besides, JLA should be good with whoever they choose, I prefer DC over Marvel, for there movies are more serious and dark.

  22. Thank you DC
    For not scarring my childhood.

  23. My gut tells me this would have sucked. But there’s just no way for me to know for sure. I’ll just say it looks “interesting”

  24. Looks more like a Joel Schumacher abortion.

  25. I don’t know, I actually kind of like the costume…. but the actor was all wrong.

    • The costume is actually really good, but nothing about Cage even whispers Superman

  26. Thank god we didn’t get to see the cage buldge. It would have been a Joke for years to come just like the batniples.

    I’m looking forword to Man of Steel. As long as there is plenty of action and a good script I’m good. Maybe in the next one if that comes to pass we can see Braniac.

  27. How about letting Cage play the Joker.

  28. I’m going to reserve my judgment on whether Cage would have done well as Superman or not. Many people clamored that Keaton, RDJ and Ledger weren’t going to do well. And, we know how that turned out. Obviously, that doesn’t mean that Cage would have done s good job. We’ll never know for sure.

    • i don’t think there was ever a doubt as to RDJ playing Tony Stark. A rich, womanizing, narcissist with substance abuse issues. That not even an act for him it’s who he is. Hell there’s NEVER been a more accurately cast role in all of history.