Out this weekend is the thriller Nightcrawler, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, as a seedy antihero who documents dark happenings in the steets of Los Angeles. The critically-acclaimed film marks the directing debut for Dan Gilroy, who has also written Real Steel and The Bourne Legacy. But making the press rounds leading up to Nightcrawler, Gilroy has dished on a less successful project he worked on: Tim Burton’s doomed Superman Lives project, that would have seen Nicolas Cage as Superman, Chris Rock as Jimmy Olsen, and Lex Luthor uncovering Kal-El’s alien ship.
Gilroy wrote the final version of the Superman Lives script — following Kevin Smith’s version and a draft by Wesley Strick — and he talked to Indiewire about working on Burton’s supremely-alienated take on Superman that would seen the Kryptonian in therapy:
“I was very much taken by Tim’s approach, which was that Kal-El was not told by Jor-El, before he got put in the little spaceship, who he was or where he came from. So poor little Kal-El, when he winds up on earth, he has no freaking idea where he came from,” said Gilroy. “His biggest fear is that he’s an alien. Our Superman was in therapy at the beginning of the film. He’s in a relationship with Lois Lane and he can’t commit. Or he was maybe in couple’s therapy. But he can’t commit because he doesn’t know who he is or what is going on with him. He’s hoping that he has some physiological condition that gives him these powers but that he’s still human.”
Gilroy also revealed that Kal-El’s spacecraft would be uncovered by Lex Luthor, forcing Kal to realize he is an alien. “It was all about the psychological trauma of it.”
Warner Bros. killed Superman Lives before shooting began, and in earlier interview with Collider, Gillroy revealed just how close it came to being filmed.
“They built tens of millions of dollars of sets. When they pulled plug, this was very far along. The day they pulled the plug, I went out to the valley where the production facility was, and I walked through a building with several hundred people working in it with sketches and set designs. It was very far along. We were weeks before shooting,” said Gilroy.
Tim Burton’s doomed take on Superman is also the focus of a documentary Kickstarted by director Jon Schnepp (Venture Bros., Metalocalypse). The Death Of Superman Lives: What Happened? is set to be released early 2015, and features Tim Burton, Kevin Smith, Grant Morrison and artist Liam Sharp.
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