The director of the canceled 'Superman Lives' says he's in "quiet revolt" against the studios that "do whatever they want" with Al technology
The director, 65, worked for nearly two years in the '90s on Superman Lives, starring Cage as the Man of Steel, before the project was scrapped. Speaking recently with the British Film Institute, the Batman director addressed Cage's surprise cameo as Superman in The Flash, as well as Michael Keaton's return as Batman in the DC film. (Burton directed Keaton in the 1989 original and its 1992 sequel Batman Returns.)
Discussing Hollywood's trend of bringing back beloved characters with the assistance of AI, Burton said "it goes into another AI thing, and this is why I think I’m over it with the studio. They can take what you did, Batman or whatever, and culturally misappropriate it, or whatever you want to call it. Even though you’re a slave of Disney or Warner Brothers, they can do whatever they want. So in my latter years of life, I’m in quiet revolt against all this.”
The Beetlejuice director also said he didn’t “have regrets” about working on Superman Lives, which was canceled after almost two years of pre-production.
“I will say this: when you work that long on a project and it doesn’t happen, it affects you for the rest of your life,” Burton said. “Because you get passionate about things, and each thing is an unknown journey, and it wasn’t there yet. But it’s one of those experiences that never leaves you, a little bit.”
In March, Cage, 59, made headlines explaining why Superman Lives never came to fruition while accepting the Variety Legend & Groundbreaker Award at Miami Film Festival.
"They wanted Renny Harlin to do the movie," Cage recalled to the audience, referring to the Cliffhanger director, per Variety. "I sat down with Renny. I was doing another picture, he came to the trailer and we talked. I liked Renny… but I thought if I'm going to do this, it's such a bullseye to hit."
The National Treasure star went on to say that he instead asked Burton to make the film, noting he "was a big fan" of Burton's work on the Batman films.
"But they were scared at the studio because of Mars Attacks!," Cage said, referencing Burton's 1996 release. "Warner Brothers had lost a lot of money on the movie. These movies that are really weird, that challenge and break ground, they piss a lot of people off. I think they got cold feet [on Superman Lives]."
"They'd spent a lot of money already building the sets and the costume and what have you," he recalled. "But you never know. I don't mean to be cryptic Cage, but you never know!"
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Cage described his version of the character as "a really different, sort of emo Superman, but we never got there," per Variety.
After years of rewrites, the film was finally abandoned. However, a 2015 documentary called The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened? — available on DVD, Blu-ray and VOD through its official website — revealed a picture of Cage in a Superman suit with long brown hair, which ended up going viral.
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