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Paul Walker Was the 'Frontrunner' to Play Superman — Here's Why He Turned Down the $10 Million Deal

The late actor's manager and stunt double opened up about how Walker almost played Superman in 'I Am Paul Walker,' which aired Saturday on The CW

<p>Ian West/PA Images via Getty; Getty</p> Paul Walker; Superman

Ian West/PA Images via Getty; Getty

Paul Walker; Superman

Paul Walker could've been the Man of Steel.

In the 2018 documentary I Am Paul Walker, which aired Saturday on The CW, the late Fast & Furious actor's manager Matt Luber said that Walker "was screen testing for Superman" at some point before his death. (Walker died in a car accident at age 40 on Nov. 30, 2013.)

"I think it was a $10 million deal, and he was the frontrunner," Luber added.

"I knew he was up for it," said Walker's stunt double and childhood friend, Oakley Lehman, in the documentary. "I knew he was thinking about doing it, and I knew he did not want to do three or four Superman [films] and be Superman for the rest of his life."

Luber went on to recall a phone call he got from Walker in which the actor told him, " 'I’ve got an 'S' on, I got a cape, boots, tights ... this is not me. I’m getting the f--- out of here. Gotta go. F--- you.' And he was gone."

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<p>Warner Brothers/Courtesy Everett; Clay Enos/Warner Bros.</p> Brandon Routh (L) and Henry Cavill as Superman

Warner Brothers/Courtesy Everett; Clay Enos/Warner Bros.

Brandon Routh (L) and Henry Cavill as Superman

Related: All the Actors Who Have Played Superman on Screen

Among those who played Superman on the big screen during Walker's lifetime were Christopher Reeve in the 1978 Superman and its sequels, as well as Brandon Routh in 2006's Superman Returns.

Henry Cavill later donned the glasses-and-cape combo of the hero with the Clark Kent alias, starting with 2013's Man of Steel and, most recently, for a cameo in last year's The Flash.

In February 2023, Brendan Fraser revealed during a guest spot on The Howard Stern Show that he and Walker were both up for the lead in 2006's Superman Returns, and that "everyone in town was reading for" the part around the year of 2002 or 2003.

The Academy Award winner, 55, recalled that Walker auditioned for Superman "before me" amid a group of "usual suspects" at the time, before admitting he also felt hesitant to fully commit to the iconic superhero role.

"Of course it's a life-changing, amazing opportunity, but I had to reconcile with, 'Okay, say you do get the job to be the Man of Steel. It's going to be chipped on your gravestone. Are you okay with that? You will forevermore be known as the Man of Steel,' " Fraser told Stern.

<p>Mauricio Santana/Getty</p> Paul Walker in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on March 21, 2013

Mauricio Santana/Getty

Paul Walker in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on March 21, 2013

Related: Remembering Paul Walker's Career in Photos

Walker himself commented on opting out of playing Superman back in 2003, telling the Chicago Sun-Times that he "could have made a gazillion dollars on that franchise" but didn't need it.

"My favorite brand of running shoes costs $23. I rarely pay more than $40 for my jeans," he said at the time. "Throw in a T-shirt and that costs me $20 or $10 if I buy it on the beach. I don’t need a gazillion dollars to manage that kind of lifestyle.”

I Am Paul Walker, which first aired on Paramount Network in August 2018, "explores Paul’s private side in tandem with the highlights of his highly successful film career," according to a release.

Directed by Adrian Buitenhuis, the documentary includes "interviews with those who knew Paul best, along with an extensive personal archive of never-before-seen candid video and still photographs provided by family and friends of the late actor," per the release.

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