Tom Russo
June 07, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Never mind George Clooney stepping in when it became clear that Val Kilmer wouldn’t play Batman forever. The most inspired bit of casting for a DC Comics character may involve sometime pro basketball player Shaquille O’Neal. O’Neal, who has already posted up in front of the camera for the hoop flick Blue Chips and next month’s Shaq-as-genie confection, Kazaam, is considering playing Steel, an armor-plated superhero introduced as a substitute Superman when DC briefly ”killed off” the genuine article in 1992. While O’Neal and Warner Bros. maintain a steely silence, word is that this is one of DC’s hottest Hollywood properties. ”Well, Shaq does have that Superman logo tattooed on his arm,” says a DC insider, ducking a fuller answer. ”I guess [fellow tattooee] Jon Bon Jovi will play his dual identity.”

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