The Mummy brought franchise success to the actor, but in the end, he wouldn’t want to only be known as Superman.
IndieWire is reporting on one of the many Superman reboots of the late 90s/early 2000s that never saw the light of day. One of those incarnations was a film titled Superman: Flyby, which was written by blockbuster filmmaker J.J. Abrams. Brendan Fraser went up for the titular role as the first Mummy had already hit screens, and though he’s cemented as Rick O’Connell, he now shows his gratitude that he didn’t get cast in a role that was bigger than the actor, like Superman.
In an interview with Howard Stern, Fraser expounds on the situation, “Everyone in town was reading for Superman. Like, again, we’re testing, I think, six or seven guys in 2002, 2003. Paul Walker, I remember Paul Walker was before me. They were like the usual suspects.” Fraser had blossomed into an action-adventure star with The Mummy, but the actor stayed versatile with his career rather than play people identical to O’Connell.
Fraser did try to prepare himself to be known as “Superman” throughout the rest of his career had he gotten it, though. “Of course, it’s a life-changing, amazing opportunity. But I had to reconcile with, ‘OK, say you do get the job to be the Man of Steel, it’s gonna be chipped on your gravestone. Are you OK with that? I mean, forever more known as the Man of Steel.’ There was a sort of Faustian bargain that went into feeling…I think inherently. I didn’t want to be known for only one thing because I prided myself on diversity my whole professional life, and I’m not a one-trick pony.”
Per IndieWire, the Flyby script involved, “Clark Kent as a college senior who connects with journalism student Lois Lane at a fraternity party. Clark’s father dies shortly after hearing of Clark’s first excursion as Superman, and the film featured a massive global fight between Superman and Ty-Zor.”
Of course, the movie didn’t go forward, and Fraser, although relieved, still felt some disappointment. “I felt disappointed that there was an amazing opportunity, and it didn’t come to fruition. It had to do a lot with some shenanigans and studio politics. And probably, inherently, in my screen test. I think that’s why you test… they could kind of see I was only there like 98 percent.”