Brendan Fraser Came This Close to Play Superman But Got Rejected by J.J. Abrams

Brendan Fraser Came This Close to Play Superman But Got Rejected by J.J. Abrams
Image credit: Legion-Media

Brendan Fraser is officially back in the spotlight after his incredible performance in The Whale as Charlie, a morbidly obese recluse.

Fraser recently revealed that he was once in talks to play Superman, a missed opportunity that would have redefined his career.

On The Howard Stern show on February 7, Stern asked about "the role that got away" from Fraser. Fraser revealed that he was one of many young actors in talks to play the titular character in Superman: Flyby, a J.J. Abrams creation in 2002.

He said there were six or seven actors who were tested for the role. The late Fast and Furious actor Paul Walker tested right before him, with Fraser saying it was all of the "usual suspects."

While Fraser acknowledged that such an iconic role would be a massive opportunity, it would also be "chipped on [his] gravestone."

He'd forever be synonymous with the Man of Steel. He called it a Faustian bargain – he wasn't willing to dedicate his entire career to one character.

Ultimately, he didn't want to only be known for one thing, having prided himself on the diversity of his career.

"I'm not a one-trick pony."

Still, he admitted he was disappointed when the opportunity didn't come to fruition. He said a lot of it had to do with studio politics, but added that they probably read the hesitation on his face during his screen test.

"I think that's why you test," he said. "They could kind of see I was there 98%."

Among those auditioning for the role were Ashton Kutcher, Jared Padalecki, and a young Henry Cavill – who took over the role a decade later. The movie was reportedly intended to kick off a trilogy and would have delved deeper into the Superman mythos, explaining events that had been relegated to exposition scenes in other films.

For example, it would have explained that Clark Kent's glasses were made of lead, allowing him to have greater control over his super-vision.

This was early in J.J. Abrams' career and two decades after Christopher Reeve's Superman had ended in disappointment.

It was a well-written and interesting screenplay, but it was criticized for over-explaining everything about the mythos. It ultimately went unmade, with DC deciding instead to do a semi-sequel in 2006 – Superman Returns starring Brandon Routh.

Brendan Fraser Came This Close to Play Superman But Got Rejected by J.J. Abrams - image 1

Fraser's career has had a rebirth in the past few years, including a role in DC's Titans and Doom Patrol as Robotman. His role as Charlie in The Whale earned him his first Oscar nomination; the winner actor will be announced Sunday, March 12 on ABC.