Jon Schnepp is currently working on his Kickstarter-funded documentary, "The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened?", which focuses on Tim Burton's Superman movie that was close to being made in the '90s that would've starred Nicolas Cage "Ghost Rider". When the project first began, even before Tim Burton was involved, Kevin Smith wrote the first draft. Warner Bros. hired screenwriter Dan Gilroy to rework the script so that the budget could be more manageable. Movies.com recently sat down to talk with him about what could have been.
Gilroy: I had some pretty high-profile ones. You know, I spent a year working with Tim Burton on his Superman Lives movie and the day they pulled the plug on that was very, very disappointing. It was disappointing for all of us: for me, for Tim, for Nic Cage, for John Peters. We were very far along and Warner Bros. had gone through a cycle where nothing they were making was connecting and they were hemorrhaging money and they just didn't feel that they could sustain making that film. So that was a major disappointment. I think Tim would have made a really marvelous film out of what we had come up with. That was hard.
Movies.com: How do you recover from that?
Gilroy: It's a wound. It's like getting punched in the face. You spend a year pouring all your artistic and creative energy into it and suddenly it evaporates and goes away in the space of a phone call. And you have to regroup. It's a disappointment, though obviously there are greater disappointments in life than that, but you have to take the time to say that hurts and figure out what that means and as honestly as possible move on and continue what you're doing. I think Tim and all of us went through that process. It was very painful.
Movies.com: Is there anything from your script that you wanted for Superman that you're still bummed hasn't seen the light of day?
Gilroy: Tim had the idea, which was really the driving force of the movie, that Jor-el didn't have the chance to tell Kal-el when he put him in the little spaceship meteorite where he came from or who he was. So poor little Kal-el grew up on Earth having no idea where these powers came from or who he was, and I always thought that was a really inverted, deconstructionist element to bring to the story. I loved it and working with Tim we tried to explore it as much as possible. I'd love to see it happen some day. I'm a big Tim Burton fan.