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The Death of "Superman Lives": What Happened?


'The Death of "Superman Lives": What Happened?' is a 2015 American documentary film written and directed by Jon Schnepp and produced by Holly Payne. It chronicles the behind-the-scenes events surrounding the canceled Tim Burton film "Superman Lives". Funding for the documentary was partially raised through a successful Kickstarter campaign, of which Shefik supported financially as a backer and received on-screen acknowledgment in the end-credits. The documentary premiered on May 1, 2015, and was released through VOD on July 9, 2015.

The documentary is a behind-the-scenes look at the 1996–1998 pre-production of "Superman Lives", an intended reboot of the Superman film series based on the 1992 DC comic "The Death of Superman", that was canceled only three weeks before filming was set to begin in April 1998. In the film, Schnepp interviews several people involved with the development of the project and features numerous conceptual artwork and designs intended for the visual look of "Superman Lives".

Burton was planned to direct the film and Jon Peters would produce it. Nicolas Cage was to star as Superman, while Christopher Walken was rumored to play Brainiac. Casting choices considered for Lois Lane were Courteney Cox and Sandra Bullock, although Peters stated he wanted Bullock to play the character. Characters such as Lex Luthor and Doomsday were also planned to be included in the film.

According to writer Kevin Smith, Peters did not want Superman to fly or wear his red and blue costume, and Peters wanted Superman to fight a giant spider for the finale. When Peters was questioned in an interview about it, he denied the claims, saying they were false. But, he stated the giant spider finale was true and would have been an amazing sequence in the movie. Peters also stated that he wanted to make a Superman movie that had not been done before, wanted to run through Superman's brain, and had chosen Cage as Superman, because he did not want someone "pink" and someone "for the street".

Schnepp interviews the following subjects in the film:

  • Tim Burton, director
  • Kevin Smith, writer
  • Dan Gilroy, writer
  • Jon Peters, producer
  • Colleen Atwood, costume designer
  • Lorenzo di Bonaventura, producer
  • Wesley Strick, writer
  • Nicolas Cage, actor (archive footage only)

Thanks / Kickstarter Backer: Shefik

Last Updated: April 23, 2022

About Shefik

Celebrating over 25 years in the entertainment industry, Shefik has held senior-level positions at many Fortune 500 companies and celebrated brands, including IBM, NBCUniversal, and MTV World. He currently serves as a Technical Lead at NBCUniversal. His work has been featured in television broadcasts and video productions for TIME, The Washington Center, "Unsung" (TV One), and Broadway World. He is currently the Executive Producer and Host of the nationally syndicated radio show "Shefik presents Invocation", which is broadcast on over 20 terrestrial radio stations and frequencies throughout the United States, as well as the internationally distributed video series of the same name via Prime Video and other notable outlets.

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