Nick Nolte Wanted to Play Superman As a Schizophrenic


  • Nick Nolte was considered for 1978’s “Superman.”
  • He came up with an interesting way to get the producers to pass on him.
  • “I turned them off by saying that I would only do it if I could play him as a schizophrenic,” Nolte told Insider.

Before Christopher Reeve became the face of Superman for the superhero’s big-screen reveal in the late 1970s, the movie’s producers considered many stars for the iconic role, including Robert Redford, Burt Reynolds, Sylvester Stallone, and even Muhammad Ali.

But perhaps their most unique consideration was Nick Nolte. 

At the time of getting 1978’s “Superman” off the ground, Nolte was a rising star in Hollywood thanks to his performances in the TV miniseries “Rich Man, Poor Man” and the thriller “The Deep.”

However, it turned out Nolte wasn’t into playing Superman, so he came up with an interesting way of getting out of it.

“They were interested in me but I turned them off by saying that I would only do it if I could play him as a schizophrenic,” Nolte recalled to Insider in a recent interview.

superman christopher reeve

Christopher Reeve as Superman.


“That’s sabotage,” Nolte continued. “It would have been very strange to play that.”

Reeve turned out to be the right choice. “Superman” became the highest-grossing movie of 1979 (the movie opened in December 1978) and the actor went on to play the character three more times, cementing his place as one of the best adaptations of the character.

Nolte went on to have a great career of his own: He has been Oscar-nominated three times and is responsible for timeless movies like “48 Hrs.,” “Cape Fear,” and “Warrior.”

The 81-year-old isn’t done yet. He just recently premiered his latest movie “Rittenhouse Square” on the festival circuit and has several more in production.

“I’ve always said that I’ll keep on going until I just can’t go anymore,” Nolte told Insider.

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