While Brendan Fraser has become beloved among DC fans for his role as Cliff Steele/Robotman in HBO Max’s Doom Patrol, he almost played another hero. Back in the early 2000s, the actor was up for the role of Superman in Superman: Flyby, J.J. Abrams’ cancelled Superman origin film. For any actor who ultimately gets to play the Man of Steel, it’s a life-changing thing and now, Fraser is speaking out about almost having that opportunity. In a recent appearance on The Howard Stern Show, Fraser spoke about the opportunity and how he was disappointed it didn’t come to pass.
“Of course, it’s a life-changing, amazing opportunity,” Fraser said, though he admitted that, in a way, not getting the role was good for him. “I think inherently I didn’t want to be known for only one thing because I prided myself on diversity my whole professional life … I’m not a one-trick pony.”
He added, “I felt disappointed that there was an amazing opportunity, and it didn’t come to fruition.”
He also said that there were a few factors that went into him not getting the role.
“It had to do with some [real] shenanigans and studio politics and, probably, inherently in my screen test … they could kind of see I was only there like 98 percent,” he said.
Fraser did go on to get his DC hero moment as the voice of Robotman as well as playing the human Cliff Steele in HBO Max’s Doom Patrol, but he also landed a role in the Batgirl film — though that film was shelved by Warner Bros. Discovery.
“It was a story about a guy who had been in the service and his benefits were cut and he was very angry with the system and what else he is going to do but burn it to the ground?” Fraser said of his character, Firefly. “You’ve got some sympathy to him, you’ve also got some humanity to him, and on top of that, a screw loose … Like all the best bad guys, you kind of like him a little bit. I relished this part — it was great fun.”
Batgirl was directed by Bilall Fallah and Adil El Arbi, with a script written by Christina Hodson. The film would’ve starred Leslie Grace as Barbara Gordon / Batgirl, with JK Simmons reprising his role as Commissioner James Gordon, and Michael Keaton reprising his role as Bruce Wayne / Batman. Also joining the cast was Ivory Aquino as Alysia Yeoh, and Jacob Scipio, Rebecca Front, Corey Johnson, and Ethan Kai cast in currently-unknown roles.
“The decision to not release Batgirl reflects our leadership’s strategic shift as it relates to the DC universe and HBO Max,” a Warner Bros. spokesperson said in a statement when the cancellation was first confirmed. “Leslie Grace is an incredibly talented actor and this decision is not a reflection of her performance. We are incredibly grateful to the filmmakers of Batgirl and Scoob! Holiday Haunt and their respective casts and we hope to collaborate with everyone again in the near future.”