Last October, we reported that back in the 80's Willem Dafoe was almost cast as Tim Burton's Batman/Bruce Wayne. Now, MTV has unfurled yet another casting close-call for a beloved DC Comics character, this time for the Man of Steel... but don't think the Dark Knight has nothing to do with this!
Back in 2003, before Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns and before Christian Bale would become the Caped Crusader in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, Bale was apparently one of only two actors that met with director Wolfgang Petersen, for a starring role in Batman vs. Superman. But Bale wasn't being looked at for Batman, along with Josh Harnett, he met met Petersen for the role of Superman!!!
Imagine that??? It's hard to imagine Bale out of the black body armor, and into the red and blue tights. But Petersen – director other big budget blockbuster fare such as Air Force One, Outbreak, The Perfect Storm and The Neverending Story – said the film nearly happened.
It was pretty close, and then the studio got a single Superman script I think from J.J. Abrams at that time, and [Warner Bros. chief] Alan Horn was so torn – because it’s such a fascinating concept to do a Batman versus Superman film. And I still think it would be to do that. But the studio decided to try separate version of Superman and Batman, and then maybe think about down the road if you want to bring them together in one film.
Brett Ratner would go on to be attached to direct the Abrams project, which moved far enough along to audition and screen test actors for the role of Superman, such as Brendan Fraser; and attach Anthony Hopkins as Jor-El, Superman's father.
Like Petersen’s iteration, the Ratner/Abrams project would ultimately collapse, with Warner Bros. joined with Bryan Singer for Superman Returns, which starred Brandon Routh.
We all know how well Nolan's Batman films did, but Petersen has only good will towards the Dark Knight, and is just as big a fan as anyone:
I loved Dark Knight, I was completely sucked into it, blown away by it. I thought right away it deserved an Academy Award for Best Picture, and I was really disappointed that it didn’t get it. I thought Heath Ledger was just phenomenal. I am a big fan of that movie.
How do you think Christian Bale would have done as Superman/Clark Kent???