Kevin Smith reveals he wanted Ben Affleck for his infamous 90s Superman project

Ben Affleck in Hollywoodland
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Kevin Smith has been talking about his collapsed 1990s Superman project: he wanted Ben Affleck, the producer had other ideas.

It’s common knowledge that back in the 1990s, Kevin Smith was brought in by Warner Bros to advise on its latest attempt to bring Superman to the screen  following the aborted Superman 5 and the end of the series of Christopher Reeve films. Whilst the project was loosely based on The Death Of Superman storyline that was shifting an incredible number of comic books around that time, the project was mired in rewrites and uncertainty, and so Warner Bros bought in Smith, a hot director of the back of Clerks and a known comic book fan, to help punch the story up.

Smith would end up rewriting the script entirely, something he’s spoken about at length, most candidly in the excellent Jon Schnepp documentary, The Death Of Superman Lives: What Happened? However, Smith hasn’t really talked about who he had in mind for the Man of Steel when he wrote the script, until now at least.

According to Smith, Ben Affleck was his ideal Superman, years before the actor would go on to play both Daredevil and Batman.

Smith told Yahoo! Entertainment  that “I was writing it for Affleck. Ben was heating up. Like he was there. I think he’d been hired for Armageddon. Affleck, he’s a ‘clucking’ 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 [as Lex Luther].”

Of course, Smith was just the writer in this process, with producer Jon Peters wielding a lot of power over the process, and Peters, it would be fair to say, did not want the young Affleck donning the suit. Instead, recalls Smith, he wanted to go in a very different direction: “[Jon Peters] goes ‘look in [Sean Penn’s] eyes in [Dead Man Walking], he’s [got] haunted eyes, the eyes of a killer”.

Smith explained  “that’s not how most people think of Superman … but he wanted to reinvent it. He wanted something gritty, graphic, and grown-up. He essentially wanted like what Zack Snyder eventually did.”

Ultimately, the project would collapse when Tim Burton was bought in off the success of his Batman films and took it over. Even then, it’d never see the light of day.

Affleck would eventually get his superhero turns in as Daredevil and Batman, plus, the actor would don the Man of Steel’s iconic suit too, when he played the Superman actor George Reeves in the excellent 2006 drama, Hollywoodland. Would Affleck have made a good Superman at that point in his career, do you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…

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