How Brendan Fraser was nearly cast as Superman
Martin Macdonald - 21 May 2023, 11:53 Share
There have been many attempted adaptations of the Superman comics that ultimately didn't make it to the silver screen.
Most famously, Nicolas Cage was set to play Clark Kent in a movie directed by Tim Burton named Superman Lives. The Oscar-winning actor even screen tested for the role while wearing the famous red and blue suit, but the film ended up not happening.
In the early 2000s, J.J. Abrams was hired to direct a new Superman feature, and at that time there were various young actors in Hollywood linked with the part.
One of them was Fraser, but he admits he is happy he didn't land the role as he would have been typecast for the rest of his career.
“Everyone in town was reading for Superman. They were testing six or seven guys in 2002 or 2003,” he said on The Howard Stern Show.
“Of course, it’s a life-changing, amazing opportunity, but I had to reconcile with, ‘OK, say you do get the job to be the Man of Steel. It’s going to be chipped on your gravestone. Are you okay with that? You will forevermore be known as the Man of Steel.'
“There was a sort of Faustian bargain that went into feeling, and I think inherently I didn’t want to be known for only one thing because I prided myself on diversity my whole professional life. I’m not a one-trick pony.”
Fraser is currently enjoying a career renaissance thanks to his performance in The Whale which has earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.
Fraser: Batgirl didn't get a fair chance
The Mummy actor was also set to appear in theatres as Firefly in the new Batgirl movie which was cancelled before release by Warner Bros.
The superhero feature, starring Leslie Grace as Batgirl, was filmed to be part of the extended DC Universe and was actually near completion before Warner Bros. decided to pull the plug. Speculation was rife as to why it was cancelled, with the general assumption back then being that Warner Bros. did so as a tax write-off due to a change in strategy within the studio.
However, Discovery CEO David Zaslav later explained that the studio ultimately did not "believe" the movie would succeed.
Frase believes the footage stdudio heads saw wouldn't have reflected the final product.
The thing about it was it was screened in a garden-variety test screening," he again told Howart Stern.
"It was a director's cut, a first cut, it wasn't finished. I mean, I don't know about you, but I don't eat half-baked cake. I don't want to see something that's not ready yet.
"The sad thing is that I don't know if it was judged on merit. It wasn't shown in the best light that it could have been. I mean, yes, once you give a film to the people and the world, it's open season to criticize or praise it or whatever you want. But this didn't even really get a fair shake."