Nicolas Cage Used City Of Angels As Practice For Playing Superman

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Written By Sedoso Feb

The saga of “Superman Lives” is a storied and infamous one, and has been well-related in Jon Schnepp’s 2015 documentary film “The Death of ‘Superman Lives’: What Happened?” In brief, after the success of the “Batman” films directed by Tim Burton, the director was tapped to give the same treatment to the Man of Steel. He cast Cage as Kal-El, and various scripts were workshopped over several years of pre-production. Director Kevin Smith has famously related his experiences writing a script for ultra-producer Jon Peters, and how Peters had some very weird demands (he famously disliked Superman’s flying scenes, wanted Superman to have a gay robot sidekick, and demanded a scene wherein Superman fights a giant spider). 

The production went as far as costume tests, and one can find images online of Cage in the Superman outfit. Cage’s look was equally infamously recreated in CGI for a parallel universe sequence in Andy Muschietti’s 2023 bomb “The Flash.” In the Variety interview, Cage only recalled that Warner Bros. became skittish and shut down the production. “The studio wanted Renny Harlin,” Cage said, “and were frightened it would cost too much money so they shut it down.” Harlin had directed actioners like “Cliffhanger,” and “The Long Kiss Goodnight.”

While on the set of “City of Angels,” Cage decided to make a conscious decision to stop blinking when he was on camera. He wanted his character to seem less-than-human, and not blinking was a subtle way to communicate that. Cage also admitted that he was going to take a similar approach when playing Kal-El, a Kryptonian alien. His Superman, he felt, should feel a little outside of the human experience, a little alien. He was to be inhuman, similar to an angel.

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