Skip to main content
See if you can find the skateboarding santa.

Documentary: The Death of 'Superman Lives' What Happened?

If you're a fan of Superhero films or you're a filmmaker interested in the Sci-fi/Superhero genre then this documentary about Tim Burton's doomed movie, staring Nicolas Cage as Superman, from the 1990's, Superman Lives is a fascinating insight into the pre-production of a big budget film.

The Death of 'Superman Lives' What Happened?, a documentary by Jon Schnepp, follows the development of the movie from writer/director, Kevin Smith's early, and well documented involvement, right through to the final days of when Warner Brother's pulled the plug and transferred their funding to another movie, Wild, Wild West, that, arguably, should've been canned too.



The Nic Cage Super Suit that
we all said "Hell NO!" to.
If you're like me, and first heard about Tim Burton's failed Superman movie staring Nicolas Cage when the image on the left was doing the rounds online, you're probably thankful it never happened. After all, not only is it hard to imagine Nic Cage as Superman, but this image just looks like everyone dodged a bad cos-play bullet.

Then, since I discovered that Kevin Smith's story about how he was brought in to write a script for Superman that had to include a giant spider was linked to Tim's film, I've always had a mild fascination for what Superman Lives might have been. Note: If you haven't heard Kevin's story about his dealings with producer, John Peters, on this project, do yourself a favor and watch the video at the link above. It's hard to believe it's true because it's just so comical and hilarious.

After watching this documentary, which includes interviews with all the key players; Kevin Smith, John Peters, Tim Burton and the various artists and costume designers that worked on the film, your whole opinion on a Nicolas Cage/Tim Burton Superman movie is likely to be flipped. Especially when you consider the Superman reboot that we got with Superman Returns. That I've written about previously in my post, The Trouble with Superman.

Even though a Superman movie with a giant spider sounds bat bonkers crazy it's still way more interesting than anything we saw in Superman Returns.

This more classic Super suit is a later
design, seen here in a test photo.
Not only that but the sheer number of monster designs, a spacecraft shaped like a skull, Brainiac and Doomsday plus a myriad of Superman suit designs, will easily convince you that this thing would've probably been more visually exciting than Man of Steel.

Then you see Nicolas Cage actually wearing one of the more classic design of suits that may have made it into the final movie and, sure, he still looks a little unorthodox, but it's not so far off that you can't picture it having the potential to be amazing. It is Nic Cage after all.

I found this documentary to be incredibly fascinating. There's plenty of production artwork to give you a sense of what might have been, along with costume fitting footage and discussion with Nic and Tim Burton.

Getting to hear Kevin Smith and John Peters talk about their experiences with each other is a rare but special moment too. Not least because John confirms almost every part of Kevin's story, and what he denies you can see that maybe there's still some truth to it.

For example Kevin says that John said he didn't want Superman to wear the suit. John denies this but I suspect, given the direction of all the suit design on Superman Lives, John probably meant he didn't want the Christopher Reeve, spandex version of the suit. He wanted a much tougher looking design.

It's a real shame this movie didn't get made because I don't think you could make it now, even if everyone who worked on it came back on board. Superhero movies have become something much different to what this may have been, and could even look dated now, since Tim Burton's style is very much linked to all the 90's Batman films, even though he didn't work on the last two.

However, as a documentary I'm really glad this story got told. It acknowledges all the hard work that went into the project and elevates it from people thinking Nicolas Cage in a Superman movie was some kind of a joke to something that may just have been pretty darn awesome.


Comments

Buy Gifts and Apparel featuring art by TET.

Popular posts from this blog

How to Transfer Any Line Art to Your Griptape - Easy Skateboard Griptape Art Tutorial

Dog Star Griptape Art by TET Griptape art is once again gaining popularity amongst modern skateboarders. For those of us who have tried to create our own griptape art, using paint pens, you'll know reproducing your design onto the grip, without making any mistakes is incredibly challenging. Mostly because you just have to go for it and draw the design freehand, with paint pens, directly onto the griptape. You can make the odd mistake here or there but if you get the proportions of the design completely wrong, it can be very difficult to fix. Often you just have to live with the mistake. To address the problem I've come up with an easy way anyone can transfer a line art design to their griptape, removing almost all the anxiety of getting the proportions wrong. In fact, you could do this with any line art design, even if you have no drawing skill at all. Watch the video below to see my technique in action and/or skip past the video where I highlight the basic steps to get your de

Course Review: YouTube for Bosses - Sunny Lenarduzzi. How to grow your YouTube Channel into a Business

YouTube for Bosses Free Mug...  or the most expensive mug  you'll ever buy? I've been subscribed to  Sunny Lenarduzzi's YouTube channel for a few years, learning a lot on how to grow a following on sites like YouTube and Instagram. If you have any interest in growing your own YouTube channel I'd highly recommend watching some of Sunny's videos on the subject.  Definitely explore her 2019 back catalogue for the most useful information. This year she's been on a bit of a 'being authentic' pivot that, personally, doesn't resonate all that much with me (but probably speaks volumes to anyone with similar experience). I'm not saying she shouldn't or isn't being authentic, it's just I didn't subscribe to hear stories about her life journey. To get back on track, Sunny runs a successful online business with her flagship course, YouTube for Bosses , a stand alone paid course that does act as something of a gateway to further paid (but opt

The Lego Man - He's got all that!

Who would have thought that owning one of the worlds largest, private Lego collections could take you so far. Tom Lucieer of Angaston, South Australia, not only has met the Queen (of England) but is a frequent guest of her majesty and family when they are in Australia. He's also met Prince Charles, Lady Diana and Camila Parker-Bowles. Not only that, he grew up with TV Vet, Dr Harry, and is a friend of the Irwin family (yes, that's Steve Irwin's family). Tom will happily tell you all this as part of the guided tour of his collection, which, aside from Lego, includes much railway memorabilia and colourful anecdotes about days gone by, his achievements and more. Frequently he will finish each particular monologue with the phrase, "Have you got that?", just to check that he hasn't confused you because, as he points out, his display and the stories behind it are a lot to take in at once. In the photo you can see Tom holding a special award, which I think is for b

Kids today are smarter than their parents?

Mother's Bed Art Board Print by TET. Available from RedBubble . How often have you heard it said that kids today are smarter than their parents? I’ve heard it quite frequently in the media – even Dr Phil has said it. I say speak for yourself. It’s not true and don’t let the media fool you. Today’s kids may have access to more information that may give them more choices but in my experience, they only take in what they want to hear and still make stupid, uninformed decisions. Just like we used to at their age. Like any cross section of people there will be exceptions. There are kids that are genuinely smarter, more mature and responsible for their age. However the vast majority know everything they need to know by the time they turn fourteen. They’re ‘adult’ enough to be responsible for all their own decision making so parents should just let them do what they please…right? Just like we thought at fourteen. Don’t be fooled. Just because your son knows how to download MP3’s onto an i

Boom Crash Opera Born Classic But Not Again

Boom Crash Opera are an Australian Band that reached the peak of their popularity in the mid to late nineteen eighties. They are a band that I knew about at that time but was never really excited by until they released their ill fated double album Born and Born Again in 1995 (Album cover pictured). At the time of its release I was very much into emerging Australian musical acts and was also looking out for new sounds that were different and had kind of a futuristic/electronic sound. Artists that I was buying at the time included; Swoop , Nine Inch Nails and Pop Will Eat Its Self . As well as a really interesting release by David Bowie, the concept album, Outside . Born was a fairly radical departure for Boom Crash Opera (BCO). The first single, Gimme , was often compared to the sounds of Gary Glitter, particularly his single, Rock n Roll part 2 , because of the pounding drum loops. Watch the video below. My favorite single from the album is dissemble which probably went now

How to Start From Nothing - a Video by Sorelle Amore Finance About Starting Any Kind of Business

Sorelle Amore. It's the million dollar question for many people wanting to start a business who feel they don't have the knowledge, money, skills, time, or all four, "How do I start from nothing?" If that's something you want to know too then the video below by  Sorelle Amore , an Australian photographer and social media entrepreneur success story, who is most known for literally writing the book on how to take an #AdvancedSelfie, has an answer well worth considering. Just in case you feel advice from a professional selfie photographer couldn't possibly be meaningful Sorelle's journey to financial freedom in just two years is well worth looking into. One takeaway for me is that at age 28 she was broke, but turned things around and was a millionaire by age 30. While that's an exceptional result of quite a lot of hard work, writing books, building courses, and more, what it says to me is, it's possible to be financially secure in less than two years

Course Review: Passive Income for Graphic Designers - Sell Your Designs, Graphics, Fonts & More

Passive Income is that somewhat elusive idea of earning a living even while you're sleeping. Often considered a 'scam' term used by charismatic marketers to sell you a dream of instant riches asterixed with, in very tiny print "results may vary". Passive Income Course for Graphic Designers is a Udemy course by Skybox Creative (a.k.a. designer, Angelina Samadhi) that guides you through the actual work you need to do (a point that is often glossed over by those charismatic marketers) to create a passive income business selling digital art and design products online. Note that I am an Udemy Affiliate and links within this article to the course are affiliate links. You don't have to use them but it does help keep this site free. Having said that, Passive Income for Graphic Designers is a course I have completed in full, not simply to write a review, but to actually learn from Angelina's experience... because I'm definitely not earning a living from affil