Superman has existed in many, many forms over the years. On the big screen alone he's been played by four different actors over the course of six decades. And then there's a number of other small-screen TV versions, not to mention a further handful of different voice performers over the years. In total we're look at well over a dozen different portrayals of Superman in modern media alone. And yet there are still more Supermen that could have been.
The most famous alternate-reality Superman is perhaps Nicolas Cage, who would have played the Man of Steel in Tim Burton's abandoned movie. He's not the only late-'90s icon to almost wear the suit, though. Jude Law also turned down Superman. Funnily enough, Law passed on the project after he saw himself in the suit.
The Gattaca star recently opened up about the time he was asked to play Superman when on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. It's much funnier to hear him tell the story, but the basic gist of it is that once he actually put the suit on, he suddenly saw himself plastered on posters all over the world, which just isn't something he wanted.
Law doesn't specifically say which director offered him the part, but this was not actually for Superman Returns, as some may assume. Rather, this was for the J.J. Abrams-scripted Superman: Flyby, which at the time was to be directed by Brett Ratner. The movie never did find the right movie star to justify its enormous budget, and eventually Flyby fell by the wayside and Bryan Singer swooped in to create Superman Returns. The rest is history.