The official trailer and screening dates have been revealed for documentary THE DEATH OF ‘SUPERMAN LIVES’: WHAT HAPPENED?
The Death of “Superman Lives”; What Happened? delves into one of Hollywood’s most enthralling “what if” stories. This feature length documentary gives an inside look into what would have been the most original, unexpected and cosmic Superman movies ever made.
The story begins in 1996 when Warner Brothers gave the green light for the first Superman film in 10 years, “Superman Lives.” Legendary producers, Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Jon Peters, engaged writer Kevin Smith (whose first film Clerks (1995) placed him in a pool of up-and-coming new filmmakers) to write the screenplay for “Superman Lives.” As an avid comic book fan, Smith centered the script on “The Death of Superman” story line from the comics, while also bringing new elements to the Superman Lives story.
Warner Brothers then brought in visionary filmmaker Tim Burton to direct the project. Burton had earned his reputation at the time for his unique aesthetic with films like ‘Beetlejuice’ and ‘Pee Wee’s Big Adventure’ as well as the critically acclaimed ‘Edward Scissorhands’ and ‘Ed Wood.’ Most notably at the time for Warner Brothers, however, was Burton’s unparalleled success at reinvigorating the superhero genre with the blockbusters, ‘Batman’ and ‘Batman Returns.’ One of Hollywood’s leading actors at the time, Nicolas Cage (whose 1995 film ‘Leaving Las Vegas’ had garnered him an Academy Award for Best Actor) was cast to play Superman. By bringing in Tim Burton and casting Nicolas Cage, it was clear that Warner Brothers intended to make an unprecedented Superman story for a contemporary audience.
For nearly two years following Warner Brothers’ initial green lighting of ‘Superman Lives,’ under the direction of Tim Burton and with Kevin Smith’s script as the starting point, and then moving on with screenplays written by Wesley Strick and Dan Gilroy, an elite group of concept, SFX and costume artists worked tirelessly on the pre-production of the film, with the creation of thousands of storyboards, plus countless concept designs and original costumes. At the time, examining the psychology of a superhero was new territory. Burton was intrigued by the idea of humanizing a character with extraordinary capabilities, particularly in relation to his challenges of interacting with the world at large. With Cage in the lead role, the film would have changed the way in which the modern audience viewed the iconic superhero, Superman.
In making this documentary, director Jon Schnepp has embarked on a journey to shed light on this much mythologized and prematurely terminated motion picture. The film features Schnepp’s interviews with legends and luminaries such as director Tim Burton; legendary producers Jon Peters and Lorenzo di Bonaventura; screenwriters Kevin Smith, Wesley Strick, and Dan Gilroy; production designer Rick Heinrichs; special effects artist/designer Steve Johnson; storyboard artist/designer Tim Burgard; and costume designer Colleen Atwood, among others. This core group of artists contributed unique source material to the documentary, including never before seen footage and artwork. Yes, this documentary will explain what happened. More than that though, this documentary will bring ‘SupermanLives’ to life for the audience by showing them what would have been the most innovative take on Superman. Ever.
Starring Tim Burton, Jon Peters, Kevin Smith, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Dan Gilroy, Rick Heinrichs, Jon Schnepp, Steve Johnson, Wesley Strick, Sylvain Despretz, and many more…
Written and Directed by Jon Schnepp and Produced by Jon Schnepp & Holly Payne, The Death of “Superman Lives”; What Happened? screens at MCM Comic Con at ExCel London 22nd & 23rd May and VOD from 9th July.