Our film section editor, Vladimir Jean-Gilles, and film critic, Axandre Lemours, had the chance to chat with film director and Collider personality, Jon Schnepp, about his documentary The Death of “Superman Lives”: What Happened? and all things film.


What do you do when you’re anticipating the production and release of a superhero movie, but it ends up not happening? Well, if you’re a big comic book fan like John Schnepp, you’ll make a documentary about why it didn’t happen.

But before we get into that, let’s rewind a little and see how Jon Schnepp became the creator behind the documentary that critics called “a must-see for any superhero movie fan”. Before becoming a director, Schnepp went to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. “I knew I loved to draw comics. I knew I love painting […] I wanted to investigate film and video. And that’s what I did at that very creative college.” As soon as he finished college, he did film video and performance arts in front of bands. “It was really fun those first early years of my 20’s. Kind of acting and building props and working in music videos.” The producer describes himself as self-motivated. Schnepp is much more than a film director. On his resume, we can see him listed as a writer, cartoonist, animator, editor and voice actor.  His first film production was the sci-fi short The Removers in 2001. His filmography however does include multiple TV series such as Metalocalypse (2006-2012 ),  Aqua Teen Hunger Force (2000-2002) and Space Ghost Coast to Coast (1995-1999) for Adult Swim. He also directed the W chapter in the The ABCs of Death, an international independent anthology horror comedy film which contains 26 chapters, each directed by a different infamous filmmaker from around the world.

We could say that Jon Schnepp started coming up with the idea of The Death of “Superman Lives”: What Happened? when he was not fully satisfied after the release of Sydney J. Furie’s 1987 Superman film. “Superman for the Quest for Peace just didn’t do it for me. So cut to 17 years later, ‘Superman Returns’ came out and I remember just, you know, no really being into it. I was kind of bored. I fell asleep in the theater. It’s a cool homage to the Richard Donner’s Superman films. But it wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted something cool.” He then remembered the Tim Burton Superman film that was being discussed back in the 90s. The script was suppose to be written by Kevin Smith and featuring Nicolas Cage as Superman. The 2015 documentary TDOSLWH, which is a bac story on the movie that never happened features interviews with Tim Burton, Kevin Smith and archived footage of a Nicolas Cage interview. Fans also have the opportunity to see a collection of original art and conceptual work that would have appeared in the movie.

John Schnepp is currently working on multiple projects notably a sci-fi movie and a horror movie which will begin filming in June 2016. Schnepp is also working on another documentary. Sweaties Unite: Rise of the Uber-Nerd will explore the world of superheroes and villains in today’s. To be exact, we will follow the rise of those characters in the cinematographic universe and the decline of comic book stores. He’s very vocal about the extinction of hard copy comics and how it affects the creators in the industry. “I really want to find out what we can do to open that backup and open up the creativity of what comic books are. The whole reason we have this renaissance of superhero films is because people are allowed to make new characters.” Click here to back this project on Kickstarter.

In the meantime, you can download The Death of “Superman Lives”: What Happened? on What do you think? Would you have wanted to see this movie on the silver screen? How do you think it would have unfolded? Share your thoughts down below and let us know.

Daphney Attis_Author