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. Here is a link to the same shot above that someone added color to. Gives a good impression of what it would look like.

    Also don’t forget this guy trying to make a documentary on why Burtons Superman movie was cancelled.

  2. The costume from the waist up doesnt look that bad. Pretty cool, actually. Legs are not bad. That massive cup that looks like it would be very distracting. Looks like what the leads in clockwork orange wore, just painted blue. I would have been really curious to see what or how nic cage would have come off as supes. Especially since he loves the character so much.

    • A Clockwork Orange was awesome…just sayin’…

    • Yep…the cup and the crotch area look just like hero’s from SnL’s Ambiguously Gay Duo!! LOL it does I swear!! Love the rest of it though..

  3. Thank GOD this didn’t see the light of day.

  4. DC is the definition of failure.

    • Actually, I think this is the definition of failure:

      “fail·ure [feyl-yer] noun

      1. an act or instance of failing or proving unsuccessful; lack of success: His effort ended in failure. The campaign was a failure.

      2. nonperformance of something due, required, or expected: a failure to do what one has promised; a failure to appear.

      3. a subnormal quantity or quality; an insufficiency: the failure of crops.

      4. deterioration or decay, especially of vigor, strength, etc.: The failure of her health made retirement necessary.

      5. a condition of being bankrupt by reason of insolvency.”

    • Troll is the definition of loser.

  5. Nic Cage really isn’t an awful actor. But I think my biggest problem with him as Superman would be his voice and the fact that he kind of looks like a fish. The suit is pretty awesome but with a director like Tim Burton I really don’t see this type of project being anything but garbage. And I like Burton. He just makes a certain type of movie. Burton makes dark, weird and qwarky movies and having attached to a character that is supposed a, “Big blue boy scout” it just doesn’t work. I’m scared that Snyder’s Superman won’t be boy scoutish enough. But one thing I do like about every Superman movie is the fact that they cast a somewhat unknown in the leading role. I mean sure Cavill was in that show, and Routh was in a couple really stupid movies (not including Returns which wasn’t that bad) and Reeves was in a T.V Show I think too but even so. Cage was famous and it would have been laughable to see such a familiar face play him…

  6. this suit isnt that bad. The belt is distracting but that could be the b&w photography, I just think that some previous posters were right, Nic Cage was just not right for the part. He speaks slowly which may have worked for the Clark Kent alter ego, but not as Supes.

    • Agreed. His slow,sarcastic slur that he uses in every role just wouldn’t fit.

  7. looks interesting, I usually like tim burtons stuff. he had a pretty good track record in the 90s but idk if burtons style would have worked very well for superman. the cancellation was prbly for the best but if there were some alternate reality that would allow me to see what it would have been that would be cool.

  8. You guys should’ve mentioned the documentary currently in the process of being made by Jon Schnepp. He’s chronicling the entire documentary and is also teasing an actual revival of some of the scenes from the film. Right now it has a kickstarter out for funding and stuff. It actually looks like a pretty cool thing to check out.

  9. He would of been a good bruce wayne/batman.

    • He would have actually. Or at least a funny one.

  10. I remember talk about this back in the 90s and thinking at the time that it sounded really bad. If I remember correctly, the costume was going to be black.

  11. I think he would have been so bad as superman no offense. He’s just not at all anything like superman. And I thought it was supposed to be like a shiny multi color changing suit in that one. I hope that documentary gets made about this movie.

  12. Looks like they made the costume from leftover Batman suit parts. However, I would have been interested in the movie. At the time, I really enjoyed the first Batman movie………

  13. I have no problem with Burton at all, Loved Batman, but I do have a big problem seeing Nicholas Cage in a Superman suit! its just not him, Thank God this didnt happen, Bring on MOS!

  14. My memory is that someone said, in an offhanded way, that they thought Cage would be good in a Superman movie; but the guy meant as the villain Braniac. Hollywood telegraph being what it is, and the reverence Cage has for the title character, is how he got so far to be taken seriously as a contender for the main part instead. Thus far no one has mentioned Moonstruck—during the filming he chewed up so much of the scenery that Cher didn’t think the film was going to be anything, but his intensity is what made her more believable. He is a much better actor than he gets credit for. I personally disliked Burtons take on Batman, but the films hold up and I am more impressed with them now than when they first came out. The intensity he and Cage would have brought to this project would have resulted in the best Superman movie ever created or the absolute worst—which is why i’m sorry it never came to be.

  15. You have to look at the logistical side of things in this situation. Shortly thereafter, Nicholas Cage won an academy award. He certainly has the acting ability to play such a role. However, if you read further into it about this movie and it’s development you’ll learn that in the script (written by Kevin Smith) that Nic Cage’s superman would be one who would fight giant spiders and not have the capability to fly. … That does sound like a failure. But I believe given the right story behind it, this would have probably been an alright movie.

    • *Nick Cage won the academy Award two years before Superman Lives entered pre-production. But I agree that he is a good actor when given the right part.

  16. Christ the ultra realism, Nolan fanaticism around here poisons the air quality.

  17. I’m finding that after decades of consuming comic book media in all forms, I would be accepting of an entirely fresh take on any major hero. However, seeing Cage in the Supersuit just doesn’t make the cut. Perhaps he could turn in a worthwhile performance in some unusual approach to Superman, but not in a conventional story that is faithful to the source material. His performance of Johnny Blaze made this abundantly clear. Despite his acting skills, his looks and voice just don’t fit with most comic book hero characters. Yet I could see him playing the Joker or the Riddler just fine.

  18. Man that looks worse than Brandon Routh

  19. I hope they will put this documentary in ‘Man of Steel’ DVD/Blu-ray. I’m really curious about this.

  20. Part 03 of convo

    Steve Prouty: I worked on this at the former bat shop. It was run by costume designer and long time Burton collaborator Colleen Atwood. Jose and Thom Floutz ran the sculpting. Ralph Cobos ran mold shop, and I was the paint and finish department. There was also a large group of costumers involved. It was a union shop but we all held different cards. Xfx was hired to do the regeneration suit only. We were to do the hero look suit and a black suit for after he regenerates.
    We did 9 months of R&D suit designs. Probably 6 or so completely different suits with numerous variations of each. Some real out there designs but the final suit was pretty cool. I’ll post more about what the final suit was comprised of. Heres how the final suit was put together. Colleen wanted a very snug lean look so from Cages body cast we made a sized down version of him. The idea being something akin to a wetsuit so it fit tight with no real buckling or weird wrinkles. It was 2 parts, pants and upper body with under crotch connections, no zippers.The muscle groups were sculpted on this while costumers made custom spandex suits on another form. The muscled were molded and run in foam latex. Then the muscles were glued on to the under suit. At that point I would ( through a way too complicated multi step process) blend out the muscles and spray 6 to 8 coats of 1068 mold silicone on the entire suit. The layers varied from blue coats to clear coats with iridescent powder coats as well. It was basically like painting a flexible car. All the coats were hot kicked and warm cured between layers. Originally we did a hyper shiny slick looks to the suits but eventually we went with a more satin look. The powder pigments we mixed in had a 2 tone effect so it kicked differently at certain angles. The capes were sprayed in panels on the “cape tables” like the bat capes but we used zeltex, a clear water based urethane for them so we could get multiple layers of color and a real depth to it. It took weeks to process a new suit so if this would have gone in to production it would have been a huge undertaking. Cage was a nice guy but I don’t think anyone really saw him as superman.

    Vincent Guastini-The long haired version looks like the hair dresser from hell. Jesus how awful.

    Steve Prouty: Yeah, that weird shiny suit with the long hair photo was a very hastily put together mockup to flesh out some ideas. No one liked that hair look. I always thought that this project was doomed by the choice of Cage. Unfortunately he was the one that got the ball rolling at WB. At least he finally got to play a super hero and fulfill his desire with that flaming skull deal.

    Joe Nazzaro: Thanks, Steve, for the huge amount of info. I think a lot of people (myself included) have often been confused by the ‘traditional’ suit and XFX’s ‘regeneration’ suit, which has led to a lot of misinformation over the years. While I was never all that thrilled by the prospect of a Burton/Cage Superman, that by no means minimizes the fine work that all of you did on the project.

    Part 04 of convo next

  21. Have to admit…Brainiac is the best choice for a villain hands down!! Brainiac should absolutely be next on Man of Steels agenda..if not they are just regurgitating the same old crap, Zod, luther, thats it i guess…LOL thats all they got for us as far as the movies are concerned, least Burton had the smarts to go for it, and he knew the perfect villain Brainiac and luthor, very smart!!

  22. I think if Mr Coppola would’ve played Superman,,,,It would have ruined his career…..after all he is Coppola…;) Playing Superman should be left to and for the unknowns…..I did like Nick as Ghost rider tho….and also in treasure hunt,,,,,;)

  23. … God DOES exist…

  24. You want to know what I would have wanted to see in a Superman Film…

    Lois, being stripped of her illusion, in such a way, that it would jar the living bejesus out of the audience, and not take their eyes off the screen….

    She ditches Superman for Ursa. YES. Ursa. Not in any kind of sapphic way…no. But in a way where, Ursa coming to the realization, through a betrayal, in such a heiniously twisted way by Zod, that it scars BOTH LOIS and URSA…and it’s the catalyst that makes them bond, in an even more deeper way than the fairytale romance, that Lois has/had with Clark!

    that they’re both lost and hurt TOGETHER, and now they just want run somewhere to live NORMAL somehow, whatever the h-ll Normal is,

    And in a diner, somewhere FAR from from the NEVER ENDING BATTLE…

    These two women just…open up. they let their hair down, and the lines between Good and Evil just get washed away…

    Says Ursa during one part of the Conversation to Lois: “I guess I can be thankful, I suppose…I can sit on a lump of coal, clench my ass, and poop a diamond out…I can even tell the truth to the diamond exchange man, he’d never believe me, and I can pay for a nice apartment, and something better to wear than THIS (pointing to her “suit”)”

  25. I’m glad I was spared the torture. Cage’s little twitches would have made Supes look rather spastic.

  26. The suit looks sick, though I agree that Cage would have made a weird Superman, especially with that receding hairline haha. I thought Brandon Routh (and Superman Returns as a whole) was excellent. Very reminiscent of the old movies. I don’t understand why people are so hard on that movie/actor.

    Also, Michael Keaton was awesome in Batman. Probably my favorite movie of all time. Granted, I’ve enjoyed the new Batman movies, but I just don’t see the excessive hype. Burton (along with Elfman’s music) really gave the movie a special feel, and he probably would have done a great job with Superman too (had he had a better fitting actor). I just hope Nolan gets a better music composer for Superman and doesn’t make it all suspense-esque like the new Batmans felt at times.

  27. I Think Tim Burton Would Be A Awesome Director For A Superman Movie (Especially If Brianiaic Is The Villain.)

  28. His hairline lost to kryptonite.

  29. He pulled off Big Daddy “fairly well”? That was one of his top performances.
    He created this unique quirky slightly insane yet charming and endearing father-figure, PLUS he was kickass in the action, which he is obviously used to. He’s a freaking great actor, and things like his role in ‘Kick-Ass’ really show that. He should just stop doing generic action-flicks. Cause thát’s the problem.

    • Also, maybe Cage as Lex Luthor or something, perhaps?