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Nicolas Cage: More Like “Man Of Rubber”

September 23, 2009

I’m still not convinced this is real, but if it is, I’m appalled.

This video is making the rounds today. It’s a collection of sketches relating to Tim Burton’s Superman film, followed by what is purported to be test footage of Nicolas Cage in a Superman costume for the aborted 1990s movie. From what limited view we get, it seems to be fake rubber muscles, which were still kind of in vogue, as the world had not yet realized how terrible Batman and Robin was.

Unlike many comics fans at the time, I was all right with the idea of Superman being played by Nicolas Cage. The way I saw it, and the way I debated it with friends, was that Tim Burton was going to cock the whole thing up anyway with his usual unusual approach, so it really didn’t matter if quirky Cage put on the cape. This would not be the classic Superman of old; this would be Jon Peters’ “caged animal,” a weird, feral alien with bad hair and a designer itching to add rubber nipples to the suit. Probably also puppets.

The hair is another interesting thing; Cage said at the time that he had no intention of changing his thinning brown hair for the role, which had a lot of fans gasping. His long black hair in this shot reflects the way Superman looked in the comics at the time. Cage had long hair in Con Air, which was made around the time this footage might have been shot, but this is an altogether different wig. I think he might have taken it from a Wonder Woman costume.

Still, I’m suspicious, particularly considering that little necklace he’s wearing. Things like that always make me think PhotoShop. And the body looks a bit too much like an action figure, particularly above the weird S shield. If it is fake, though, it’s still a representation of something that might have actually happened. Taking that into consideration, as well as scriptwriter Kevin Smith’s hilarious description of his time on the film, I realize how lucky we are that all we got was Superman Returns.

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