My Phone Call with SUPERMAN... by Harry Knowles
Hey folks, Harry here… Had a brief interview with Superman today. I really can’t communicate exactly what this was like. You’ll read the interview, but since seeing the film… I’ve continued to watch the trailers… downloaded the HBO FIRST LOOK – got the plastic lenticular Slurpee cups for the house – though I am drinking iced tea out of them, and I have to say… I feel younger than I have felt in a very long time. I feel that I did a good job of not exactly just asking the “soft” questions – and keeping my wits about me, but under that… emotionally – I was a little kid on the phone with Superman today. Sure, he was in his hotel in New York. His girlfriend was in the room with him, as was his manager. The second he said, “Hello,” I was a kid. He sounds like Superman to me, even as he spoke in a strange fourth person perspective on his Superman/ Clark Kent/ Kal-El life under the identity of Brandon Routh. He was so genuine and wholesome and yet, oddly cool sounding that I couldn’t see him as an actor in a room with his girlfriend and manager. I imagined him in the Superman costume chastising me for over-eating, me retorting that, “Yeah, let me guess, heart attack” and him probing deep through miles of chest tissue to say, “In about 10 minutes, we’ll have to be short.” But alas… We played his game of being “Brandon Routh” – rising star. And frankly, it was a blast. Here ya go…
Harry: Hey Brandon
Brandon: Hey Harry
Harry: Sorry to be added to run of people that you’re inevitably being forced to talk to.
Brandon: (laugh) No worries (laugh)
Harry: What’s it like… Right now you’re one of the most fascinating people out there to interview, simply because you’re in the middle of that, “WOW – This is what it’s like to suddenly be on the tip of everybody’s tongue” To be the thing that everybody’s talking about.
Harry: What’s it like, because for the last 2 and a half years you’ve been in the process of becoming and being Superman, what’s it like to have it kinda out of the bag and talking about it?
Brandon: It is fantastic. (clears throat) There’s been so much build up, so much hype about the film, I’ve always been very confident and very happy about what I’ve seen… and now after finally seeing the film I know now I was well founded in my confidence, I know that one of the best parts of playing this character is letting people see it and getting it out there, if not the BEST thing for me, so right now, it’s a pretty fun time to hear people excited about the film, for people that have seen it genuinely enjoy the film and that now we can see we really gave back to people and to give them something that they really have wanted to see for so long.
Harry: How did you first encounter Superman?
Brandon: My first memory of Superman is, I feel weird saying this, but this is the story, (Laughs) I was 5 or 6… young anyway… in my Superman pajamas with the cape, that my mom still has, by the way, and running around the house jumping off our orange love seat, excited to be see SUPERMAN which was going to be on television… and.. and. I was so excited that I gave myself a migraine, which I’ve done since, being excited about other things, but that was the first time. I watched half the film while sick and the other half… you know, I felt better.
Harry: Cool. What’s it like to be SUPERMAN?
Brandon: heh heh heh
Harry: Well, it’s just, ya know, like you said, you saw SUPERMAN, that original one, and you were in your pajamas.
Harry: That was every kid.
Harry: Every Boy in this country and world was SUPERMAN at some point. To be the first Superman since Christopher Reeve, in the scope of the full sense of what SUPERMAN can be. What’s that like?
Brandon: It’s… I’m learning. Because Because Because, part of it, of it is Filming it. The other half is now, of having people respond to it and meeting kids that have never seen SUPERMAN before or adults who are excited to see Superman back. And it was a weird thing filming, because “I” felt like I was Superman through filming, but filming in pieces, just the crew believed. But to the “people” that were seeing the pictures, they don’t believe it’s Superman yet. They haven’t seen the film, rightfully so… so, it’s been a weird process waiting for these days and next few weeks that are happening and I’m feeling more like Superman, but for the world and how I see people seeing me… I’m feeling more and more like Superman every day as I’m feeling that more people are accepting that. Because it is slightly presumptuous to think in the beginning that, “Ok, I’m Superman,” and that everybody is gonna believe that I’m Superman. Now, we’re actually seeing that happen. Now, when and if we do a second one, which I trust we will, that will be even more enjoyable for me because I will have kinda cemented my ability to play this role in my mind.
Harry: It is amazing in a way… to me, I run Aint it Cool News…
Brandon: Yep yep right
Harry: …I don’t know if you’re familiar
Brandon: Yes, I am.
Harry: Through this process, literally every time I write an article, there’s been an endless “Talkback” of people arguing about…
Harry: “He’s too young for it” although you’re the same age as Christopher Reeve…
Brandon: People have definitely argued quite a bit, yeah
Harry: Well – going back and forth through all of that. How frustrating is it to see people argue about what they haven’t actually seen what you’ve done yet?
Brandon: Right, well at first, it was actually a little upsetting. But of course these people are very passionate about this character. About this icon. They’re going to have their feelings and they should. And you know, they express themselves, very colorfully at times, I realized that these were unfounded and that they, of course, couldn’t really know until they’ve seen the film. And then, after they’ve seen the film, if that’s how they feel, that’s obviously how they are going to feel. I realize I can’t please everybody so I just do what I do and trust that most people will enjoy it, and think that I’m old enough, that I look big enough in the suit, that I can act well enough and do all of those things.
Harry: I know for me, I’ve been a supporter of the film through the process, but when I went into the theater to see the film – there were those hesitant question marks. You know, Who is this Brandon guy?
Brandon: That’s exactly right. I don’t think people should just necessarily jump on the bandwagon. I think there were a lot of people that had a good idea about it cause Bryan was behind it and had good faith in that.
Harry: I know for me, a lot of that faith came from the fact he found Hugh Jackman for Wolverine, and I felt that Bryan was not accustomed to casting bad actors.
Harry: So other than Superman – what other things are you looking to do with yourself here?
Brandon: I really like comedy a lot. I enjoyed playing Clark and even cut out a lot of funny moments to make sure Clark wasn’t always, you know, for time – that were exciting to do that we don’t see in the film that were fun to do. I’m really looking forward to doing a film where I’m not doing so much flying around… as much as I am talking and listening to another actor and able to a lot more of that. There’s so many things. One of my favorite films is BRAVEHEART. So I love that I feel it’s very close to this film in my mind, because of the scope of it and the emotion involved. I want to do films that I’m very passionate about, whether it’s a small film or a big film.
Harry: I’ve heard rumors that you’re a World of Warcraft freak…
Brandon (genuinely surprised laughter, followed by a seemingly blushing) Yeah… …that’s true.
Harry – Just yesterday there was an announcement that Spielberg was going to be making that movie.
Brandon – (Breathlessly exasperated and excitedly) ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?!?
Harry – (giggling) I’m totally serious.
Brandon – (to his girlfriend – away from phone – and with an enthusiasm I haven’t heard from him) SPIELBERG IS DOING WARCRAFT!
(Girlfriend) – WHAAAAAAA?!?!?!?! Oh my god!
(I begin laughing)
Brandon: (like when he’s talking to Luthor – totally serious) Producing? Or Directing? My girlfriend is…
Harry – Allegedly directing.
Brandon – (to girlfriend) Allegedly Directing. (to me) Well… That… is… Interesting… (following was… giggly) We’ll be talking to, ummm, Legendary… about that.
Harry – Absolutely! Well as soon as I read the news, knowing that you were a Warcraft guy, I just had to bring it up cuz you’re the title character of Legendary’s biggest film to date and that’s their movie.
Brandon – Yeah, I know. They told me they went down and met with BLIZZARD’s guys, that’s pretty… that’s interesting.
Harry – Get your agent on it immediately.
Brandon – YEAH! My manager is right here, he’s perked up.
HARRY HERE: The WORLD OF WARCRAFT rumor was first spotted on JoBlo.com that cited VARIETY as their source. Since then, this has been proven wrong. Moriarty spoke with a source at LEGENDARY who debunked the rumor.
Harry – it’s weird thinking about the movie and thinking about your performance. To a degree I feel it really is unfair to call what you’re doing with the role “a Christopher Reeve imitation” because ultimately you’re both playing the same character…
Brandon - mhm
Harry – And there’s a history to how to play that character.
Brandon – Right.
Harry – In your mind were you doing a Christopher Reeve impression or were you embodying the characters?
Brandon – I was always embodying the characters. Um, first and foremost knowing the essence of the three characters and knowing what each is feeling at any moment in the film. Chris was “my Superman.” So to say he’s not part of it, that his spirit was not in this film, that it wasn’t a part me – that would be incorrect, it was a part of me. When I read the script, I pictured him. You know, because I hadn’t been in the suit, I hadn’t done these “things” yet. So he is in it for sure. But I really did take it from the character. What I wanted out of Superman. The heart of Superman. What are those characters. Who is Kal-El, what does he feel, what is it like to be the Earth’s protector, to be the most powerful being on Earth. And I had the opportunity to take this character to richer emotional places which I think was great. To make the character deeper, and more detailed.
Harry – I think my favorite Clark reaction in the film…
Brandon - laughs
Harry – when Lois was describing Richard White’s love for Horror films and..
Brandon: Yes (laughing) that’s Courtney’s (his girlfriend) favorite part too.
Harry: This crazy bug eyed look. (Brandon tells her what I’m saying she laughs adorably) how much of that was an honest reaction within the Clark character versus it being a directed moment?
Brandon: Almost everything with Clark was me, kind or, you know… playing and stuff. Clark was always excitable, I played him as excitable and that’s where everything came from. And that’s where his clumsiness or goofiness comes out of, he’s just excited. You know, SUPERMAN, he’s excited because he’s just getting to talk to people, and he can take it a little over the top, because he’s embodying an alter-ego. You know at heart, Superman is really excited to talk to people, because as Superman… he doesn’t really get to do that alot. So that’s a deep human emotion.
Harry: How schizophrenic is Kal-El/Superman/Clark?
Brandon: He’s got different personalities, but he knows how to handle them. Even as Clark we get to see Superman which is exciting to be able to do. Cuz even when he’s Clark, when nobody else is looking, his Superman is coming out. So they’re always ever present. On a whim, it can always change, whenever it needs to change. (gets signal from a publicist) – time to wrap up, ok.
Harry: I guess, sort of as a last question, You brought more of a voyeuristic quality to Clark and I think the film does that, what Michael and Dan did to it. Was there anything about that made you think… Superman wouldn’t do that, that this is too invasive for Superman?
Brandon: Maybe I thought about that. But Clark is a spy in my mind. That’s one of the characteristics of him that I played, that was interesting to me. It’s how he finds out about Lois. I suppose if he was doing things to damage someone or if it was a negative… or injuring or harming someone, that’d be bad. But Clark is doing things that Superman can’t. Superman can’t find out, so in an essence, he’s not spying, but he is spying. It is just Superman finding out. He is spying, but he’s spying as another character spying. I suppose in the scene where he’s going outside Lois’ house as Superman, that that would be a little bit voyeuristic as well. But he’s going there to find out, again, what he can’t find out otherwise, which is to find out for himself how much Lois loves Richard and if he still has a shot. And he realizes that right now is not the time. So it is crucial for him to find that stuff out. I don’t feel it’s really over-stepping any bounds.
Harry: I ask the question more from the point of view of those people out there that feel that that isn’t Superman. In my review, I said, Superman was “raised as a human being” and you have those fallacies about you as Superman.
Brandon: You know, I think that’s what is great and endearing about him. Is his ability to serve us and to help us is to be like us. It’s important that he have those Human emotions, because if he doesn’t, then he’s out of touch and doesn’t care about us. I think the more he becomes like us, the better he becomes capable to serve and teach us about all the great things that he can be to inspire us.
Harry: Thanks for your time.
Harry: I just can’t wait to see it again, to see it in 3D
Brandon: That is going to be amazing.
Harry: And to see whatever expanded edition comes out in the future that Bryan comes out with.
Brandon: There should be some good stuff, Rob Burnett is working very hard on the DVD and I’m very excited about seeing all that stuff myself. And Harry, thank you very much for all your kind words about the movie and my performance, I took a look at that and it was great.
Harry: Ok, well thank you. Can’t wait to see you in the next one.
Brandon: Awesome, thanks. Good bye.