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Nicolas Cage went in to film some scenes as Superman for "The Flash." But it did not go down how it appeared in the movie — at least that's Cage's side of the story.
"First and foremost, I was on set," Cage told Yahoo Entertainment, debunking any theories that archived video footage from his sidelined late-1990s Tim Burton-directed film "Superman Lives" was used to create his scenes in the controversy-laden Ezra Miller movie.
"They did put a lot of time into building the suit … and I think ['The Flash' director Andy Muschietti] is a terrific director, he is a great guy and a great director, and I loved his two 'It' movies," Cage said. "What I was supposed to do was literally just be standing in an alternate dimension, if you will, and witnessing the destruction of the universe.
"Kal-El was bearing witness [to] the end of a universe, and you can imagine with that short amount of time that I had, what that would mean in terms of what I can convey. I had no dialogue [so I had to] convey with my eyes the emotion. So that’s what I did. I was on set for maybe three hours."
But the Oscar-winning actor says what he shot and what he saw onscreen were two different things.
“When I went to the picture, it was me fighting a giant spider. I did not do that. That was not what I did," Cage noted. "I don’t think it was [created by] AI. I know Tim [Burton] is upset about AI, as I am. It was CGI, OK, so that they could de-age me, and I’m fighting a spider. I didn’t do any of that, so I don’t know what happened there."
In an interview earlier this year with the British Film Institute, Burton aired his grievances with the AI.
"They can take what you did, [Michael Keaton's] Batman or whatever, and culturally misappropriate it, or whatever you want to call it," Burton said. "Even though you’re a slave of Disney or Warner Brothers, they can do whatever they want. So in my latter years of life, I’m in quiet revolt against all this."
Read more: Do you dream about Nicolas Cage?
In a separate interview this September, Burton lamented that AI "sucks something from you."
He went on: "It takes something from your soul or psyche; that is very disturbing, especially if it has to do with you. It’s like a robot taking your humanity, your soul.”
Cage then added his takes to the AI discourse in his Yahoo interview, saying that he fully understands where Burton's disdain for the technology comes from.
"I know what he means. I would be very unhappy if people were taking my art … and appropriating them. I get it," the "Moonstruck" actor said. "I mean, I’m with him in that regard. AI is a nightmare to me. It’s inhumane. You can’t get more inhumane than artificial intelligence.
"But I don't think it [was] AI [in 'The Flash']. I just think that they did something with it, and again, it’s out of my control. I literally went to shoot a scene for maybe an hour in the suit, looking at the destruction of a universe and trying to convey the feelings of loss and sadness and terror in my eyes. That’s all I did."
One thing that did bring Cage joy about his appearance in the superhero box-office flop was the opportunity for Oscar-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood's Kal-El suit to make it onscreen.
"I do feel that the movie gave that beautiful suit that Colleen Atwood designed a chance to be seen, and I was happy about that because she put a heck of a lot of thought into that series,” he said.
In 2015, the "National Treasure" star talked about his Superman movie that never was.
“I had great belief in that movie and in what Tim Burton’s vision was going to be for that movie. I would’ve loved to have seen it, but I feel that in many ways, it was sort of a win/win because of the power of the imagination," he said. "I think people can actually see the movie in their minds now and imagine it and in many ways that might resonate more deeply than the finished project.”
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.