Have you ever come across an internet myth? An actual legend that gets passed around forum to forum, speculative post followed by speculative article with everything based off of one grainy piece of evidence or a story told to someone off the record by a friend of a cousin of someone involved?
Have you ever randomly come across a story or a photo that seems too strange not to be true?
I’m not talking Slenderman, I’m not talking Al Gore claiming to have invented the internet, I’m not even talking the most convincing story you’ve ever read on Creepy Pasta. This is older than that; this is a story that comes from a time where the internet was itself in its infancy.
Have you ever heard of `Superman Lives`?
In 1996 Warner Brothers assembled together the likes of Tim Burton (He Who Does Not Read Comics), Kevin Smith (He Who Reads ALL The Comics) and Nicolas Cage (He Who Does Not Turn Down A Role) to work together on a new comic book super hero film, a reboot before reboots were a thing. An impressive team was brought together by Burton to work on the film and (according to rumours) a whole story line and script treatments had been worked out before Warner Bros. pulled the plug on the whole thing.
This May Director Jon Schnepp comes to MCM Expo (22nd to the 24th at London’s ExCel Centre) to premier one of the internet’s most anticipated documentaries. `The Death of “Superman Lives”; What Happened?` will be screened to a paying audience on both the Friday and Saturday evening, with Schnepp himself available to meet fans, answer questions and even pose for selfies (if you buy the premium ticket that is). The film gives us an insider’s look into the why’s and how’s of what could have been. With interviews featuring both Tim Burton and Kevin Smith themselves, alongside producers Jon Peters (whom it has been said was a driving force of ruining the film) and Lorenzo di Bonaventura; Smith’s fellow script writers Wesley Strick and Dan Gilroy, production designer Rick Heinrichs, SFX artist Steve Johnson and costume designer Colleen Atwood (who would have given us that truly glorious image of Ol’ Nic Cage in the plastic looking, practically poured on supersuit)
I, for one, am sorely tempted to buy a ticket to the screening. I’ve been to a few of the ticket only sneak peeks at MCM before and they’ve always been good fun but something still has me in two minds about going to the screening. `Superman Lives` is something I learnt about very early on in my internet adventures, the photo has always seemed to be around and every other year or so more snippets of information have been attached to it. Like how the script went to hell and back due to the demands Jon Peters supposedly made to the writers, or the addition of various animatronic sidekicks for main baddie Braniac or a cute toy-market set up space dog for Lex Luthor, or did you ever hear the story of how Warner Bros. would spend around $30 million (In nineties money no less. So that’s, what… About a billion now? That’s how inflation works, right?) on the project only to have Burton and Smith bat the script around, trashing each other’s work before most of the team got fed up with it all and quit?
The internet will give you a plethora of stories about the insanity of what happened to this film, some of them utterly weird and some of them verging on the offensive. But do I really want to sit through a whole documentary about it? I’m hardly the biggest DC comic fan and I like the films even less. My interest would be solely on untangling the myth from the fact and getting to know the inner workings of film production, and I can get that from the documentary `Lost in La Mancha` for the disaster laden Johnny Depp vehicle about Don Quixote.
I’m very curious about the film and a big part of me really wants to go see it, but another big part of me wonders if I could be bothered to sit there after a long first day at a con, dressed in my Arthur Dent cosplay (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, BBC TV series version, say `hi` if you see me) Either way it’s sure to be one of the main talking points of MCM and it could be your only chance to see a large audience screening of the documentary.
If you want to experience `The Death of ‘Superman Lives’; What Happened?` for yourselves, it will screen after MCM London Comic Con at 6:15pm-8:15pm on Friday 22 May and Saturday 23 May. Head on over to the MCM London ticket page, there are two price ranges to pick from (£20 and £10): http://www.mcmexpostore.com/collections/london-comic-con
To help you make up your mind, head to youtube to watch the final trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkRxXicAuYo