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30 Actors Who Almost Played Superman

Jared Padalecki

Who They Missed Out To: Another one of McG's 'unknown' auditionees, Padalecki certainly had the beefy physique going for him.

When McG's movie fell apart (and was replaced with Bryan Singer's), Padalecki moved on. So, technically, he lost out to Brandon Routh. But not really.

If They Had Got It:
We might not have gotten more seasons of Supernatural . And that would have just been sad.

Burt Reynolds

Who They Missed Out To: Christopher Reeve. Ultimately, Reynolds was deemed too recognisable and not suitable temperamentally speaking.

“Everyone said put Burt Reynolds in a Superman suit,” Richard Donner remembers. “Well, for a certain kind of movie where you want to camp it up, Burt Reynolds would have been wonderful.”

If They Had Got It: Something very camp would have happened, apparently.

Yes, even camper than a man wearing his underpants on the outside.

Kris Kristofferson

Who They Missed Out To: Christopher Reeve.

Kristofferson was deemed, simply, “not right” for the role.

If They Had Got It: Superman would have had one seriously-impressive mane of hair.

Jude Law

Who They Missed Out To: Nobody. Law was also approached by Brett Ratner for the Batman Vs Superman movie, but turned down the offer after he realised he could be playing Supes for more than one movie.

If he'd signed on, it's likely he would've gone up against Colin Farrell's Batman…

If They Had Got It: We genuinely cannot imagine Jude Law in the Superman suit. Can you?

Jerry O'Connell

Who They Missed Out To: Brandon Routh.

“Yes I tested,” O’Connell said in 2003. “And hey, they still haven't called me back - so for all I know I'm going to get home and have a cape on my front door step.

“The movie looks very cool, and I’m a big fan, so just being asked was an honour, but being on the shortlist - hey, can't do much better than that.”

If They Had Got It: We'd have spent the whole movie going, "Isn't that the kid from Stand By Me ?"

Matt Bomer

Who They Missed Out To: “I was in full tights,” Bomer told MTV in 2010, having auditioned for Brett Ratner’s Superman. “I was rocking the tights, the Speedo, all of it.”

Technically, he actually landed the role – but Ratner’s film fell apart. “I actually screen-tested for Superman, and there was a time when Brett Ratner and I were going to work together on it,” the Magic Mike star said.

“That particular incarnation of that franchise sort of fell apart, and then it became a whole different beast."

If They Had Got It: There would have been a dance sequence that really showed off Bomer's moves.

Paul Walker

Who They Missed Out To: Um, himself. Sort of. Walker auditioned for the role of Superman, but he actually turned it down.

“They made it very clear that Superman was mine if I wanted it,” he said in 2003. “I was aware that with all the deals that went with it, the merchandising and all that stuff, I would be made for life financially.

“So I asked the director whether I should do it and he said that if I said yes, the studio would effectively own me for another 10 years and that I'd be identified with the role of Superman until I died.

“I came to the conclusion that I didn't need that at this stage of my career."

If They Had Got It: Superman would have been ridiculously vanilla and yawn-inducing.

Nick Nolte

Who They Missed Out To: Christopher Reeve. Interestingly, Nolte was pitched to director Richard Donner (by producer Ilya Salkind) before he signed on to helm the film.

"We found guys with fabulous physique who couldn't act, or wonderful actors who did not look remotely like Superman," creative consultant Tom Mankiewicz remembers. Nolte was probably one of those guys.

If They Had Got It:
It just wouldn't have been Superman - even if Nolte would look great rocking a cow lick.

Matthew Goode

Who They Missed Out To: Henry Cavill. Goode was one of the actors Zack Snyder apparently tested for Man Of Steel, the pair having worked together in 2009’s Watchmen .

Movie Newz reported the screen test in 2010, stating that Goode would play Clark Kent, with plans to enhance Superman using CGI. Funnily enough, this never came to be.

If They Had Got It: We could have ended up with a Super-suit that resembled the Green Lantern CGI atrocity.

That said, Superman’s CGI cape in Man Of Steel looks just fine to us.

Armie Hammer

Who They Missed Out To: Henry Cavill.

"I did talk to my people recently about that for the first time, and I think they’re going a little older with Superman," Hammer told Vulture in 2010. "I hear they’re going 35, 40."

If They Had Got It: We wouldn’t have had him playing Prince Charming in Mirror, Mirror, which was just about that film’s only saving grace.