It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a man with no regrets.
Brendan Fraser reflected on losing out on playing Superman in a since-canceled early 2000s film titled “Superman: Flyby,” penned by J.J. Abrams. Fraser auditioned for the superhero role along with “Fast and Furious” star Paul Walker in 2002.
“Everyone in town was reading for Superman. Like, again, we’re testing I think six or seven guys in 2002, 2003. Paul Walker, I remember Paul Walker was before me. They were like the usual suspects,” Fraser said during “The Howard Stern Show.” (Watch the clip below.)
However, Fraser had reservations about being only known as the Man of Steel if cast.
“Of course, it’s a life-changing amazing opportunity. But I had to reconcile with, ‘OK, say you do get the job to be the Man of Steel, it’s gonna be chipped on your gravestone, are you OK with that? I mean, forever more known as the Man of Steel,'” Fraser said. “There was a sort of Faustian bargain that went into feeling…I think inherently, I didn’t want to be known for only one thing because I prided myself on diversity my whole professional life and I’m not a one-trick pony.”
Ultimately, Fraser explained that “studio politics” at Warner Bros. led to “Flyby” being canceled but perhaps it was for the best.
“I felt disappointed that there was an amazing opportunity and it didn’t come to fruition,” Fraser said. “It had to do a lot with some shenanigans and studio politics. And probably, inherently, in my screen test. I think that’s why you test… they could kind of see I was only there like 98 percent.”
For the “Flyby” script, Abrams reportedly wrote Clark Kent as a college senior who connects with journalism student Lois Lane at a fraternity party. Clark’s father dies shortly after hearing of Clark’s first excursion as Superman, and the film featured a massive global fight between Superman and Ty-Zor.
Instead of Abrams’ “Flyby,” Warner Bros. moved forward with “Superman Returns,” helmed by Bryan Singer and starring Brandon Routh as the Man of Steel.
Fraser’s recent statements on the state of superhero movie stars echo Quentin Tarantino’s decries on the “Marvelization of Hollywood,” with actors being identified solely by their onscreen personas.
“You have all these actors who have become famous playing these characters. But they’re not movie stars. Right?” Tarantino recently said. “Captain America is the star. Or Thor is the star. I mean, I’m not the first person to say that. I think that’s been said a zillion times…but it’s like, you know, it’s these franchise characters that become a star.”
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