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Photo of Josh Hartnett as Superman Surfaces From Brett Ratner’s Scrapped SUPERMAN: FLYBY Project — GeekTyrant

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A new photo has surfaced online featuring actor Josh Hartnett dressed up as Superman for a wardrobe test for Brett Ratner‘s scrapped Superman film project Superman: Flyby. This is the project that J.J. Abrams wrote the script for.

The costume shows us that this version of the Man of Steel would’ve sported a red Superman logo against a black background rather than yellow. This version of the logo was most notably used in the Max Fleischer Superman cartoons. As you can see, the “S” doesn’t really pop.

Several actors were considered for this role at this time including Henry Cavill and Brandon Routh. Hartnett was originally offered the part, but ultimately turned it down. Matthew Bomer was then hired for the role, but after that the project fell apart.

Hartnett talked about turning the project down saying: “Spider-Man was something we talked about. Batman was another one. But I somehow knew those roles had the potential to define me, and I didn’t want that. I didn’t want to be labeled as Superman for the rest of my career. I was maybe 22, but I saw the danger.”

Superman: Flyby was “an origin story that included Krypton besieged by a civil war between Jor-El and his corrupt brother, Kata-Zor. Before Kata-Zor sentences Jor-El to prison, Kal-El is launched to Earth to fulfill a prophecy. Adopted by Jonathan and Martha Kent, he forms a romance with Lois Lane in the Daily Planet. However, Lois is more concerned with exposing Lex Luthor, written as a government agent obsessed with UFO phenomena. Clark reveals himself to the world as Superman, bringing Kata-Zor’s son, Ty-Zor, and three other Kryptonians to Earth. Superman is defeated and killed, and visits Jor-El (who committed suicide on Krypton while in prison) in Kryptonian heaven. Resurrected, he returns to Earth and defeats the four Kryptonians, while the script ends with Superman off to Krypton, leaving a cliffhanger for a sequel.”

Robert Downey Jr. was set to play Lex Luthor in the film and Shia LaBeouf was going to play Jimmy Olsen. Scarlett Johansson and Selma Blair were up for the role of Lois Lane, and Christopher Walken was in talks to play Perry White, and Joel Edgerton was up for the part of Ty-Zor. Paul Walker was also up for a role in the movie.

Abrams wrote Superman: Flyby in 2002. At the time he was best known for his work on the TV series Felicity. He talked about his vision for the film saying: “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 photo comes from Ryan Unicomb, who apparently has a knack for finding stuff like this from unmade or unreleased film productions.

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