Looking back at movie history can be pretty entertaining, especially when it comes to casting for the movie Superman. Of course, everyone knows that Christopher Reeve played “The Man of Steel” in the 1978 film. Yet do you know who else was up for the role? Clint Eastwood. How about Sylvester Stallone? Producers even looked at Dustin Hoffman as a possibility. The lineup of those who almost played Superman pretty much makes up a who’s who list from the 1970s.
You see, Reeve had that “it” factor for the role. He provided those who saw the movie with a glimmer of belief that a man could, indeed, fly. Margot Kidder did a great job as Lois Lane, too, opposite Reeve. OK, now to those who “almost” found themselves as Clark Kent with a giant “S” on his chest.
Eastwood, Robert Redford, Stallone, Nick Nolte, James Caan, Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Paul Newman, and Warren Beatty were on the list of possible actors, Collider states. Producers were intent on looking for a name that would get a lot of buzz. The “big name” would bring a lot more attention to Superman. So, in that sense, it makes a little bit of sense that they would want Hoffman. Why, though?
Ilya Salkind, producer of Superman, said, “One side, they were extraordinarily protective [of the character’s image] and on the other side, they weren’t so aware of reality because as much as Dustin Hoffman is a fantastic actor, I don’t think he would have been a great Superman. Perhaps he could have been.”
‘Superman’ Producers Wanted Dustin Hoffman In Some Role
They did think, though, that he might be a good fit to play Lex Luthor. Salkind said that producers met with Hoffman at the Cannes Film Festival. They offered him the role, but it “didn’t work out,” Salkind said.
Stallone did a screen test for Superman. But some reports had Marlon Brando standing in the way there. See, Brando had veto rights over the movie’s casting. Newman received a $4 million offer to play either Superman, Jor-El, or Lex Luthor. He turned them down. Nick Nolte would have played Superman, but he wanted to portray him as schizophrenic. For Redford, his demands for money as well as a lack of a finished script doomed his involvement.
Did you know that there are some people who aren’t actors that expressed interest in the role? Singer Neil Diamond, yes of “Sweet Caroline” fame, talked about how he wanted to play Superman. Meh, that didn’t work out. Another name from the 1970s is Caitlyn Jenner, who was Bruce Jenner then. An audition took place. Jenner said, “I was asked to go to Rome and do a screen test for the original Superman [movie]. I got the whole cape on, went back there, and spent a week… I went to the ice crystal (the Fortress of Solitude), had fights with Lex Luthor, did all that stuff.”
One more name, which was on the DC Comics list of approved names, was Muhammad Ali. Apparently, DC Comics was looking to cast the movie on name only. Obviously, Ali was passed over.
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