A lot of young actors would probably jump at the chance to play Superman with barely a second thought, particularly now in this age of franchises. Even in the 1970s, when superhero movies were a relatively untested thing on a grand scale, it was a dream role for many, a chance to be an icon. So why did David Hasselhoff say no?
In a new interview with The A.V. Club reflecting on his life and career, Hasselhoff was asked about the worst professional advice he'd ever received. He revealed that once upon a time, he was considered to star in 1978's Superman: The Movie. His manager, fearing he'd be typecast, talked him out of it.
"A long time ago, I was up for Superman, and my manager at the time said to me, 'I don’t think you should do Superman, because if you do Superman, you’ll be Superman for the rest of your life.' And you know, Christopher Reeve went on to be Superman in real life and in films and in all kinds of different films. That was probably the worst advice."
The fear of typecasting is a very real thing when it comes to playing iconic roles. Some actors simply risk it, while others use the stardom they gain from megafranchises to take risks when the franchise is over (look, for example, at Daniel Radcliffe's career). For Hasselhoff's the fear of typecasting was never particularly real. In fact, at this point, he's just glad he got to keep working, even if he did miss out on being The Man of Steel.
"When people say, 'You’re such a nice guy. You still embrace Knight Rider and Baywatch! Most actors get really upset!' What? Why?! I mean, look at Schwarzenegger. He went right back to the Terminator. Get over it. You’re lucky if you get one hit. You’re freaking lucky if you get one hit! I’ve had like five or six. So that’s the advice I got, and I’m still laughing about that, because I was really close to getting Superman, and we pulled out of it."
So remember, everyone: Somewhere out there in the Multiverse there's an Earth where The Hoff is Superman.