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Kent Wait

Who still wants to play Superman? Josh Hartnett drops out leaving three finalists

Paul Walker | IS HE SUPER ENOUGH? Walker's in the running
IS HE SUPER ENOUGH? Walker's in the running
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Just two weeks ago, it seemed like Warner Bros. finally had found its ''Superman'' star. The leading candidate was Josh Hartnett, according to the Hollywood Reporter, which said studio execs were intensely studying his audition tape. Now, however, the trade paper says Hartnett has removed himself from consideration. Which means that one of the three remaining finalists cited by the Reporter could be the face of the franchise for the next decade: Brendan Fraser, ''Fast and the Furious'' star Paul Walker, or...Matthew Bomer?

Who's Matthew Bomer? He's a soap actor, with credits on ''Guiding Light'' and ''All My Children,'' but no movie experience. He's 24 and has the requisite brunet forehead curls. Still, how did he find his way into consideration? What happened to such prospects as Hartnett, Jude Law, and ''Mutant X'' star Victor Webster? And are there any other would-be Clark Kents remaining? Asked by EW.com to explain (or even confirm) all these comings and goings, a Warner Bros. rep declined to comment.

If Hartnett has dropped out of the race, it's not a surprise. The ''Pearl Harbor'' star, who told EW.com last year, ''I've turned down every superhero I've been offered,'' was reluctant to commit to three movies over a possible 10-year stretch. So was Law, director Brett Ratner recently told Variety. According to the Reporter, the studio hopes to shoot screen tests of the three finalists next week, so that Ratner can start making the movie before Haley Joel Osment is old enough to play Superman.

Originally posted Feb 27, 2003