Before his short-lived run as Batman, Ben Affleck almost had a crack at playing Superman thanks to a script from his old pal Kevin Smith. Now, to stave off any confusion, yes, Affleck technically played Superman in the 2006 film Hollywoodland, but only as part of his performance as TV actor George Reeves, who famously played the character in the 1950s. For the purpose of Smith’s latest tale, Affleck was going to be the actual Superman in an all-out blockbuster film that was hoping to trade off his white-hot career in the ’90s. Via Variety:
“I was writing it for Affleck,” Smith said. “Ben was heating up. Like he was there. I think he’d been hired for ‘Armageddon.’ Affleck, he’s a fucking 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.”
However, things started going south when Superman producer Jon Peters began eyeing Sean Penn for the role because “he has the eyes of a killer.” That’s when Smith knew the project was doomed, which ultimately proved correct.
The Superman project that would’ve starred Affleck morphed into the infamous Superman Lives that was set to star Nicolas Cage under the direction of Tim Burton. That film never made it out of pre-production thanks to studio meddling and Burton ultimately abandoning the project after getting fed up with Peters. It would take almost a decade until Superman appeared on the big screen in 2006’s Superman Returns, which failed to connect with audiences, leading to Henry Cavill rebooting the character in 2011’s Man of Steel. It’s hard to make a Superman movie, folks.