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Last week, the entertainment world was shocked by the news that Warner Bros. Discovery was cancelling its upcoming Batgirl film, even as the project neared completion, as part of a wider strategy that involves pushing the spectacle of the company's DC Comics characters on the big screen rather than through streaming projects. What this means for the wider spectrum of announced DC-based projects is still unclear, but filmmaker Kevin Smith revealed last week that one of his lingering projects is also a likely casualty of the shift.
On the 400th episode of his Hollywood Babble-On podcast, released last week, Smith explained to co-host Ralph Garman that he'd previously been approached about contributing to Strange Adventures, the HBO Max anthology series announced back in 2019 under the supervision of Arrowverse mastermind Greg Berlanti. The series was designed as an anthology with each episode focusing on certain lesser-known DC characters, and Smith noted that for his episode, which he would have also directed, he chose Bizarro and Jimmy Olsen.
Working with Supergirl writer Eric Carrasco, Smith crafted a story that would have served as a kind of "secret origin" for Bizarro, in which Olsen would have arrived in a "version of Bizarro World" in which a version of Bizarro would have appeared as a regular guy dressed in a Superman costume. The episode would have then revealed that Bizarro had found an issue of the Daily Planet that had somehow made its way out into the cosmos, remade his world to revolve around Superman, and set himself up as the hero while forcing the other residents of the planet to conform to this narrative. Though Bizarro would have emerged as a villain with this reveal, Smith eventually explained that the episode would have wrapped up with a heroic turn for the character, and maybe even a Superman cameo.
The real kicker? While Smith stressed that nothing had been set in stone, his first choice to play Bizarro was an Oscar-winning actor who'd previously almost played Superman on the big screen.
"I tell you all of this and the entire story just to tell you that the person who is — we didn't lock it in, he wasn't signed to a contract — but the person we were pursuing to play our Bizarro was Nicolas Cage," Smith said.
You can get the entire story in the video below, with the Strange Adventures-specific info arriving at about the 7:00 mark. (Note: Some NSFW language ahead.)
Smith noted that he and Carrasco had turned in three drafts of their Bizarro script, while four other "creative teams" were at work on Strange Adventures concept, and that the goal was for the series to head into production on its first season when all of those scripts were in place. Smith also noted that the budgets for these episodes were in the $16-20 million range, an upgrade from the $3-4 million he'd worked with on episodes of The Flash and Supergirl. Sadly, it doesn't look like the series will ever get made, now that the Warner Bros. Discovery team is making changes.
"This was killed, definitely, by the new regime," Smith said, but also noted in the conversation that he can't be too upset by the decision.
"Things work out for me, generally speaking," he said. "This was always a million-to-one shot. I couldn't believe they even asked me to do it, but me and Eric wrote a terrific f***ing script, and it was heading toward production. It wasn't even like wish fulfilment. This was something they were gonna do."
Maybe someday someone will revive the Strange Adventures concept, or maybe DC Comics will draft Smith to turn his Bizarro story into a comic book miniseries. Whatever the case, it sounds like an exciting DC project that we would have loved to see.
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