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Movie lovers around the world know Christopher Reeve as the title character in the 1978 classic Superman, but few know that Clint Eastwood was first offered the role.
When Warner Brothers executives were tossing names around and trying to decide who would take on the Superman role, several actors’ names were thrown around. Eastwood was offered the role, but told Frank Wells (president of Warner Brothers at the time) that he preferred playing more realistic characters.
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While it’s hard to imagine anyone but Reeve in the role, several actors in addition to Eastwood were offered the part, including Paul Newman and Burt Reynolds.
Most fans agree that Eastwood typically holds onto roles that allow him to maintain his tough-guy persona. His role as the Man with No Name in the Dollars Trilogy of Spaghetti Western films cemented his place in the Hollywood antihero camp.
While it’s fun to imagine how Clint Eastwood would have made the Superman role his own, Reeve took the role and ran with it — and fans wouldn’t have it any other way. Reeve’s legacy is that of the hero — while Eastwood’s characters are a bit darker.