When I read the rumor about a possible Batman/Superman team-up, I couldn't help but wonder if the recent news was actually related to an old report making the rounds yet again.
I'm referring to an old story about what was originally going to be a film known as Batman vs. Superman.
Batman vs. Superman was a movie set up at Warner Brothers which Wolfgang Petersen (Das Boot, The Perfect Storm) was going to direct, with a script by Andrew Kevin Walker (Se7en), and rewrites by Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind, Batman and Robin).
According to SupermanSupersite, the project came together after the JJ Abrams/McG Superman Lives initiative fell apart, with Warner Bros. announcing B V S in July 2002.
Why? Because they had two of the biggest superheros under their roof: Batman and Superman. Of course, Warner had also tried to get Tim Burton's Superman, and a Darren Aronofsky/Frank Miller Batman collaboration together - all to no avail.
Christian Bale and Colin Farrell were both considered to play Batman, Jude Law was going to play Superman, but reportedly it all fell apart because Petersen went on to direct Troy. Aint-It-Cool-News confirmed Law "had the role...it was his," but there were concerns about future sequels.
When an actor agrees to play a superhero, they usually have to sign on for the sequels as well, and reportedly Law was worried that future sequel scripts would be less than stellar - meaning he'd be forced to star in them because of his contractual obligations.
Law reportedly liked Walker's script, and when asked about B V S at the Creative Screenwriting Expo, Walker said, "I really leaped at the opportunity to work on Batman Vs. Superman," and explaining to the screenwriting hopefuls how you get a prestigious gig like this, "You go in and you pitch. They had taken a core concept and they had ideas about what they wanted to do, but you sit down and break down the story, you keep beating it out and get really specific with it, then once you get to a point where you feel comfortable about it, then you discuss it with the producers then you go and pitch it to the studio.
"So that's how I got involved, just sitting down with Wolfgang Petersen, which was great, beating out a story, writing it, then having it go down the tubes very quickly! I lost a lot of sleep on Batman Vs. Superman obsessing about it. 'These are two iconic figures, this is really important...' But I was very proud of it, I was really diggin' it." (Walker also wrote the first screenplay for X-Men, and a great, unmade script of The Silver Surfer, his favorite comic book character, both for Fox.)
Several years after it all fell apart, Petersen told SuperHeroHype, "I still think the Superman/Batman clash, putting them together in one film, would be absolutely fantastic. I hope it will still happen because they are so different as we know. The dark Batman and the sort of goody goody Superman. It's so nice to play with both and see how the dynamic between the two, also including fighting between the two, how that would work."