Kevin Smith‘s unproduced Superman film from the ’90s has become the stuff of geek legend. Mostly thanks to the hilarious stories Smith’s told about the process of getting the job and writing the script over the years. There’s even a documentary about the unmade Superman Lives film, made by the late, great Jon Schnepp. But now, thanks to an interview with Smith to promote The Never-Weres (via Gizmodo), we’ve learned that his intended Man of Steel was none other than future Batman, Ben Affleck.
And no Superfleck doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.
In the Yahoo interview, Smith said “I was writing it for [Ben] Affleck. Ben was heating up. Like he was there. I think they had hired him for Armageddon. … Affleck, he’s a f***ing 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, which was a weird Mallrats reunion.”
Considering his long-standing affinity for Affleck, it’s no surprise Kevin Smith saw Ben Affleck as his Superman. After Mallrats, he cast Affleck in Chasing Amy, Dogma, and Jersey Girl. And honestly, Michael Rooker would have been the perfect Lex Luthor. Maybe if Mallrats had been a hit, superhero movie history would have played out far differently. But then Tim Burton took the reins, and he wanted Nicolas Cage. Kevin Smith’s picks went the way of Krypton.
After Batman and Robin bombed at the box office, Warner Bros. almost immediately canceled their plans for a new Superman movie. They wouldn’t release a new Superman movie until almost a decade later, with 2006’s Superman Returns. Interestingly, that very same year, Ben Affleck wound up putting on the Superman costume anyway. He wore it in the film Hollywoodland, Affleck played George Reeves, the 1950s television version of Clark Kent. So in a roundabout way, he did get to play the Last Son of Krypton.
With Affleck promising to never play a superhero again after his stint as Batman is over, it seems unlikely he’ll ever play Superman proper. But if Smith’s unproduced Superman Lives script finds new life as perhaps a DC animated film? Maybe he can convince him to voice the character. It would be a nice full-circle moment.