Somewhere in the multiverse, Brendan Fraser landed the role of Superman in the early 2000s when Warner Bros. recruited then-screenwriter J.J. Abrams to pen a new film about the Man of Steel. In our world, Fraser lost out on the role. The Oscar nominee recently opened up to Howard Stern about what it was like being a contender for Superman. Abrams’ script, “Superman: Flyby,” courted all of the biggest names in Hollywood at the time.

“Everyone in town was reading for Superman,” Fraser said. “Like, again, we’re testing I think six or seven guys in 2002/2003. Paul Walker, I remember Paul Walker was before me. They were like the usual suspects.”

While Fraser realized that landing the role of Superman would be “a life-changing amazing opportunity,” he also “had to reconcile with, ‘Okay, say you do get the job to be the Man of Steel, it’s gonna be chipped on your gravestone, are you okay with that? I mean, forever more known as the Man of Steel.'”

“There was a sort of Faustian bargain that went into it,” the actor continued. “I think inherently, I didn’t want to be known for only one thing because I prided myself on diversity my whole professional life and I’m not a one-trick pony.”

Fraser did not land the role, nor did “Superman: Flybay” take flight at Warner Bros. past the development phase.

“I felt disappointed that there was an amazing opportunity and it didn’t come to fruition,” Fraser said about not landing the role. “It had to do a lot with some shenanigans and studio politics. And probably, inherently, in my screen test. I think that’s why you test… they could kind of see I was only there like 98%.”

Warner Bros. and Abrams were developing “Superman: Flyby” around 2002. When the project got shelved, the studio pivoted to a different take on the Man of Steel. That led to “Superman Returns,” which cast Brandon Routh as the eponymous hero and was directed by Bryan Singer.