Jude Law didn't want to be Superman, but here are four of the best screen portrayals

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Jude Law has surprised many comic book fans by revealing that he turned down the role of Superman in 2004 when Warner Bros were planning a reboot.

The role eventually went to Brandon Routh, who starred as the Man of Steel in Superman Returns.

Speaking on US chat series The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the 43-year-old admitted he couldn't see himself in the role because he is English.

Jude Law
Jude Law (Andy Kropa/Invision/AP)

"It didn't float my boat, you know, like I just really didn't want to go there," he said. "First of all, I'm an Englishman and I felt like ... it just didn't seem to fit, and I was always worried about the outfit and I just didn't fancy it."

London-born Jude was sent the suit to try on to see if it would persuade him to change his mind so he popped into his bathroom with the costume.

"I look round, I'm in the mirror and suddenly ... I'm Superman. And the music kinda comes in like daaaa, daaaa, da, da, daaaa, da-da-da! I'm stood there and then I had this picture of that, of me in that costume, on posters all over the world and I was like 'no way' and I unzipped it. I was Superman for two minutes - that's enough."

The star of Alfie may not have wanted the role, but here are four of the best screen Supermans.

Christopher Reeve

Christopher Reeve
Christopher Reeve (Moviestore Collection/Rex/Shutterstock)

The late actor won worldwide fame and acclaim as the Man of Steel in four films from 1978 to 1987. He starred in Superman, Superman II, Superman III and Superman IV: The Quest For Peace, for which he received a story credit.

Tall, chiselled and athletic, his Superman embodied the old catchphrase of "Truth, justice and the American way". The actor also switched effortlessly between comedic moments and the more dramatic ones.

To say he remains the definitive Superman for an entire generation (or more) is putting it mildly.

Sadly, Christopher was paralysed from the neck down in 1995 after a horseriding accident. He died nine years later.

Tom Welling

Tom Welling
Tom Welling (Channel 4)

E4 import Smallville was the story of a young Clark Kent and his journey to becoming the Man of Steel. Starring the very attractive American actor, it captivated audiences for a decade until the show ended in 2011.

Tom proved he was a Clark Kent for the new millennium and it was largely down to his convincing portrayal that Smallville became a big success on both sides of the Atlantic. It had one of the longest runs of any comic book-based series.

The show also boasted Christopher Reeve, who had praised Tom's performance, as Dr Virgil Swann.

Dean Cain

Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher
Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher (PA)

Who remembers Lois & Clark: The New Adventures Of Superman? Viewers of Channel 4´s The Jump will be well aware that American actor Dean donned the famous red cape for the popular 1990s TV series.

Before she became a desperate housewife in the US hit Desperate Housewives, Teri Hatcher first gained popularity as Lois Lane in this contemporary spin on the comic book character.

Dean's Superman was morally upright (of course), with a nice sense of humour, but he was also surprisingly sexy.

The producers of this romantically driven show knew which side their bread was buttered on and they didn't hesitate to draw out the will they/won't they relationship between Lois and Clark.

When they finally became man and wife, things got pretty steamy in the bedroom.

Henry Cavill

Henry Cavill in Batman v Superman
Henry Cavill in Batman v Superman (Warner Bros Pictures/YouTube)

The role of Superman brought the British actor international fame and acclaim. Like Christopher Reeve, he has the height and the dark, chiselled looks and he has women swooning at his feet.

Henry first played Superman in the 2013 reboot film Man Of Steel, one of the highest grossing Superman films of all time. He reprised the role for Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice. Although it did not find favour with critics, the blockbuster performed solidly at the box office.