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McG’s Superman Returns?

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You may remember a few short years ago, back when he was only known for his music-video clips and “Charlie’s Angels” movies (suppose they’re one and the same), that McG was briefly attached to direct “Superman Returns” – -or whatever his Man of Steel movie was to be titled.

McG’s “Superman” was to be a little more action-centric than Bryan Singer’s but also a little kookier. J.J Abrams script for the film, though quite entertaining, was definitely not of the same ilk as the first four “Superman” movies. It was essentially a retold origin story in which the hero’s homeworld, Krypton, was locked in a civil war between Jor-El (Superman’s father) and his evil brother Kata-Zor. Kal-El is sent to Earth to live with the Kent’s, but Kata-Zor tracks him down. He meets a C.I.A agent (investigating U.F.O’s) named Lex Luthor, and flirts with a lass named Lois Lane at a party, before discovering she’s his new work colleague at The Daily Planet. Oh, and did I mention they actually kill Superman in the film? They resurrect him, of course, but he does bite it.

McG was said to be pretty fixed on British actor Henry Cavill (“The Tudors”) playing Superman but briefly toyed with the idea of using someone a little more recognizable in the role like Josh Hartnett and Brendan Fraser.

Fraser, who was a signature away from a deal, says McG’s film would’ve been far superior to Singer’s.

“In my view, and I say this with respect, it’s far superior than Bryan Singer’s [Superman Returns film]. J.J. had a vision that was larger. It spanned galaxies. It was Lord of the Rings. I mean, it was that huge. It was like a Third World War on Earth involving different planets and universes, and brotherhoods – sibling rivalry and the collision of enormous powers. I mean, come on, it wasn’t smacking you over the head with a symbolic hammer till you weren’t paying attention. That’s how good J.J. is.”

There were rumours too of Johnny Depp being asked to play Lex Luthor – which might have been interesting.

But anyway, why did McG leave the production? Amusingly, he quit because he didn’t want to go to Australia – and not because he’s scared of our boxing Kangaroos, but because he doesn’t like to (kinda ironic) fly.

If he’d have found his nerve, we’d have likely had seen McG’s “Superman” movie and not Singer’s. Not that we won’t ever see McG’s version of “Superman” – especially now that he’s Warner Bros’ new Golden-Boy.

The “Terminator Salvation” director tells Io9 that he does wonder whether he might get to tell his Superman story one day.

”I talk to JJ [Abrams] a lot about that. We went through a lot on that whole thing, I don’t know. I talk to the DC guys, [President Paul] Levitz is here and I just saw Greg. Food for thought. I think it’s a great character, I would want to make the character infinitely more dark and complicated, and get away from the big Blue Boy Scout a little bit and get into the alien among us. And how that could be lonely and interesting. It’s not that I would make it depressing, I’d would just make it a little tougher… Which I suspect people would respond to. We have the glorious Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, which to me is an excellent example. I like the Schumacher pictures and everything Burton did but it needed to be reinvented to some degree and I think we’re all better for it. We’re all happy it went that way at least. I haven’t thought about it clearly”.

Warner Bros are said to be looking at doing some kind of “Superman” reboot, so you never know. They’ll just have to find the bucks to film it in L.A though.

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About Caffeinated Clint

The writer/publicist/producer who wears the editor hat on Moviehole. Favorite films include "Say Anything...", "The Hunt for Red October", "Jerry Maguire", "Almost Famous", "Die Hard", "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo", "Young Guns", "American Psycho", "Back to the Future" and the "Star Wars" series.
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