In McG's Superman: Flyby, Robert Downey Jr. would have been Lex Luthor
Two McG stories in one day! This must be a big deal for the director, who I learned in some circles is affectionately called "the poor man's Michael Bay". Ouch.
Anyway, there was this one time that the helmer was set to do a Superman reboot before Zack Snyder's MAN OF STEEL hit the scene called, FLYBY. I had heard of this way back when, but instantly forgot about it as soon as the news hit my hears. If the project would have gotten off the ground, there would have been some interesting changes and Robert Downey Jr. would have been Lex Luthor.
In an interview with The Playlist, McG talks about the project that never was:
"It's not the first franchise picture McG has been attached to that almost changed the entire mythology of a beloved property. In the early aughts, McG was attached to "Flyby," a rebooting of the "Superman" series that, thanks to a boldly different take from screenwriter J.J. Abrams, would have made wholesale changes to the origins of Superman, his home planet Krypton, and his main nemesis Lex Luthor. McG ended up exiting the project when the studio was adamant about shooting in Australia. He blames his fear of flying for being "thrown off" that project, calling it his "rock-bottom" moment, which would eventually lead him to taking on his next film, the plane-crash drama "We Are Marshall," as a catharsis."
"McG says no final casting decisions had been made on the film, though he did mention one name that, we admit, we hadn't heard before. "We had Robert Downey Jr. locked up to be Lex Luthor, which I think would have been extraordinary," McG enthused. But his pick for the Big Blue Boyscout is actually much less of a surprise. "Ironically, we liked Henry Cavill a lot, but we hadnt cast him yet," he says of the actor currently wearing the tights in the upcoming "Man Of Steel." "J.J. wrote the script, and we got that to a really good place in the end," he says of the film, the first in a proposed trilogy. "But Im to blame for [the film not happening]."
There were also some other past details and casting decisions that were pointed out via /Film:
-They were looking at unknown actors to play Superman. Stan Winston designed a prototype suit and McG reportedly shot test footage with several candidates, including Jason Behr, Henry Cavill, Jared Padalecki and Michael Cassidy.
-Selma Blair and Scarlett Johansson were in talks for Lois Lane
-Shia LaBeouf was on board to play Jimmy Olsen
-LaBeouf claimed that McG wanted Johnny Depp for the role of Lex Luthor
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