In January of last year Jon Schnepp, a Los Angeles-based director of the Adult Swim series Metalocalypse and The Venture Brothers as well as a contributor to the horror anthology feature The ABCs of Death, created a Kickstarter page to raise funds for a documentary he hoped to make about an aborted attempt to reboot the Superman franchise in the late 1990s. After raising the budget necessary to proceed Schnepp managed to secure interviews with several of the principal players and now The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened? is very much a reality.
Schnepp has released the first trailer for the film, which you watch here below.
Superman Lives came close to going before the cameras in 1997 with Nicolas Cage starring as the Man of Steel and Tim Burton directing from a script written by Kevin Smith and later extensively rewritten by Wesley Strick. Concerns from Warner Bros. over the skyrocketing budget and unusual tone Burton was going for with the greatest superhero in comic book history ultimately led to the project being scrapped. Over the years various photos and conceptual art have made their way onto the Internet and Schnepp hopes to give audiences a more comprehensive document of the development and eventual collapse of what could have been the strangest big-budget superhero movie ever made.
Schnepp has interviewed Burton, Smith, Strick, comic book scribe Grant Morrison, producer Lorenzo Di Bonavenura, production designer Rick Heinrichs, costume designer Colleen Atwood, and visual effects artist Steve Johnson among others. The interviews are intercut with concept art, FX test videos, and behind-the-scenes footage. The best part is seeing Cage getting into costume with long black hair (and glasses for his Clark Kent persona) and briefly flying as Superman. We’ll get to see all of this and more in the final film, but so far this fan-funded documentary is looking as juicily entertaining as the recent Jodorowsky’s Dune.
The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened? is still in production and Schnepp requires an additional $85,000 to finish the film. You can donate right here.