Brendan Fraser Auditioned for Superman

Brendan Fraser can currently be seen as the DC Comics character Robotman on the DC Universe series Doom Patrol. Well, you don’t necessarily see him since he’s just providing the voice of a, well, robot man. But long before this opportunity came along, Fraser was in line to play one of the biggest DC Comics superheroes of all time.

Back in the early 2000s, Brendan Fraser was still enjoying the success of The Mummy franchise and the various comedies he made throughout the ’90s. He was a pretty big star, and he looked like a hero. That’s how he ended up auditioning to play Superman in a movie that Brett Ratner would have directed from a script written by J.J. Abrams. He didn’t end up getting the job, but now he’s finally opened up about that opportunity and why it went away.

Speaking with SyFy, Fraser was asked about rumors that he almost played Reed Richards in Fantastic Four. That rumor wasn’t true, but his audition for the movie that would have been Superman: Flyby was very real. Here’s what Fraser had to say about it:

“I auditioned for Superman. I even wore the suit. It was cool, it was pretty cool. I mean, I didn’t get the job. It went away. Brett Ratner was a bit ‘woo hoo’ in those days, and that’s well documented. And that was a script J.J. Abrams wrote but it never got made. And it was freaking Shakespeare in space. It was so cool. It was worlds colliding and, it was really, really cool.”

Shakespeare in space, you say? That’s high praise for a movie about a guy who wears tights with little red underwear on top of them, a red cape and a not-so-subtle curl in the front of his hair. But as we know, Superman has been at the center of some extremely powerful and influential stories, so that’s not really a stretch. Plus, J.J. Abrams painted an enticing picture of what this Superman would have been when he discussed it five years ago:

“The thing that I tried to emphasize in the story was that if the Kents found this boy, Kal-El, who had the power that he did, he would have most likely killed them both in short order. And the idea that these parents would see – if they were lucky to survive long enough – that they had to immediately begin teaching this kid to limit himself and to not be so fast, not be so strong, not be so powerful. The result of that, psychologically, would be fear of oneself, self-doubt and being ashamed of what you were capable of. Extrapolating that to adulthood became a fascinating psychological profile of someone who was not pretending to be Clark Kent, but who was Clark Kent. Who had become that kind of a character who is not able or willing to accept who he was and what his destiny was. The idea in the movie was that he became Superman because he realized he had to finally own his strength and what he’d always been.”

You can definitely see the flairs of Hamlet in there, so Fraser wasn’t kidding. Of course, as we know, the movie never got made. But if you’d like to know more about Superman: Flyby, there was quite the extensive and scathing review of the script at Ain’t It Cool News back in 2002. There were even rumblings that this review and the negative buzz it sparked may have been what killed the project. But it sounds like maybe Brett Ratner’s wild antics in his personal life didn’t help much either. And instead, we got Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns, for better or worse.

Whew, Brett Ratner and Bryan Singer? Two directors who are pretty much done (hopefully). My how the times have changed.

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