Kevin Smith was the inaugural guest on Yahoo Entertainment’s “The Never-Weres” series and spoke regarding his unsuccessful attempt to get a Superman movie off the ground with Ben Affleck in the title role.
Smith was coming off his success of Mallrats which featured Affleck as Shannon Hamilton is the secondary antagonist of the film. Warner Bros. was in development on a new Superman movie titled Superman Reborn, but Smith thought the screenplay was “terrible.”
Smith pitched his own Superman movie based on The Death of Superman comic series. Smith’s script went into development with producer Jon Peters, but the two clashed over casting.
“I was writing it for Affleck. Ben was heating up. Like he was there. I think he’d been hired for ‘Armageddon.’ Affleck, he’s a fucking giant, like he’s built like a superhero, built like a giant action figure, particularly with the height. And then he puts on the muscles there too. So in my head and heart, it was always Ben and Michael Rooker.”
Smith wanted Affleck for Superman and Rooker for the villainous role of Lex Luther, but Peters had a different idea. The Hollywood producer wanted to cast Sean Penn as Superman, as the actor was hot off an Oscar nomination for Best Actor thanks to his role in the 1995 drama Dead Man Walking.
“[Jon Peters] goes, ‘Look in [Penn’s] eyes in that movie, he’s [got] haunted eyes, the eyes of a killer. And I was like, ‘Dude, it’s Superman. You know, that’s not how most people think of Superman’…But he wanted to reinvent it. He wanted something gritty, graphic and grownup. He essentially wanted like what Zack Snyder eventually did.”
Check out the interview here.
Tim Burton eventually took over the reins of Superman Lives and set Nicolas Cage to star.
Affleck would get his superhero shot years later by being cast as Batman/Bruce Wayne in Batman v Superman. Affleck is reprising the character in Warner Bros.’ upcoming The Flash, due in theaters November 4.
Check out details on our upcoming Kevin Smith documentary: KevHeads currently in pre-production.