Earlier this month, Cage told Yahoo! Entertainment that the final version of his Flash cameo was very different from what he actually filmed. “When I went to the picture, it was me fighting a giant spider. I did not do that,” he said. “That was not what I did. I don’t think it was [created by] AI … It was CGI, OK, so that they could de-age me, and I’m fighting a spider. I didn’t do any of that, so I don’t know what happened there.” The actor added, “AI is a nightmare to me. It’s inhumane. You can’t get more inhumane than artificial intelligence.”
Cage expounded on his stance in a new interview with WIRED, saying the extent to which CGI and AI are used should be pre-agreed upon by studios and actors. “That is the linchpin to it. There’s an agreement and a mutual understanding and a contract that you’ve gone into knowing both sides and knowing full well what we’re getting into,” he said.
“I’m not saying they used AI on the Superman thing,” Cage continued. “Maybe they did. I don’t know. Maybe it was just CGI, but whatever it was, that’s not what I did on the set. As much as I love [director] Andy [Muschietti] and [sister and film producer] Barbara [Muschietti] — and I do think they’re great — it’s still not what I was told to do on set.”
Superman lives again in The Flash
Cage’s cameo as Superman in The Flash brought the actor’s DC journey full circle. Cage was once attached to star as the Man of Steel in director Tim Burton‘s Superman Lives. Kevin Smith wrote the original draft of the screenplay, which saw Superman fight a giant spider in the third act. (This plot point was one of multiple edicts producer Jon Peters imposed on Smith.)
Of course, Superman Lives never saw the light of day. Warner Bros. infamously shelved the project in April 1998 — mere weeks before shooting was set to begin. Years later, director Jon Schnepp put out The Death of “Superman Lives”: What Happened? — a documentary chronicling the abandoned superhero film’s troubled development.
The truth behind Nicolas Cage’s cameo
The Flash finally brought the battle between Cage’s Superman and the giant spider to life as part of a third-act sequence showcasing different versions of DC’s on-screen heroes from across the multiverse. As Cage told Yahoo!, however, what he actually shot was a lot less involved — and the entire fight sequence was added in post-production.
“What I was supposed to do was literally just be standing in an alternate dimension, if you will, and witnessing the destruction of the universe,” he said. “Kal-El was bearing witness [to] the end of a universe, and you can imagine with that short amount of time that I had, what that would mean in terms of what I can convey. I had no dialogue [so had to] convey with my eyes the emotion. So that’s what I did. I was on set for maybe three hours.”
Despite his apparent hang-ups about the final product, Cage did offer high praise for Andy Muschietti. He was also glad that his Superman costume finally got to see the light of day in an official capacity. “They did put a lot of time into building the suit … and I think [Andy] is a terrific director, he is a great guy and a great director, and I loved his two It movies,” Cage said. “…I do feel that the movie gave that beautiful suit that Colleen Atwood designed a chance to be seen, and I was happy about that because she put a heck of a lot of thought into that series.”
The Flash is currently available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital. The film is also currently streaming on Max.