Brandon Routh on Superman Returns

Big screen newcomer Brandon Routh takes over the iconic role of Superman in director Bryan Singer’s highly-anticipated Superman Returns. Superhero Hype! got a chance to sit down and talk to Routh about playing the role in Warner Bros.’ new film:

Q: What was the best part of making this film?

Brandon Routh: The best part, there’s so many best parts, I don’t know. The best part for me now is people seeing it and now that we’re finally finished and getting to see the final product. And for being everything that I wanted it to be and intended for it to be. I’m so proud of the film and Bryan and Kate and Kevin and everybody. It’s a pretty amazing thing and I’m so excited to be part of it. The worst thing as always it’s probably going to be the physical aspect of being in the harness and flight. Making the flight happen. Some days it was great. Some days it wasn’t fun you know depending on how early in the morning I was up and in the harness and if I had to work out at 4am in the morning. All those things.

Q: Kate said you were very patient. I can’t believe you didn’t have a melt down.

Routh: I learned a lot of that stuff. People ask about the pressure of playing this character and a lot of these things and what I decided very early on was that I would just not listen to it and kind of believe there wasn’t any because there was no way that I could continue and portray this character if I were to be worried or have too much apprehension, so I kind of took strength in the character of Superman. I lived in that as much as I could in my own personal life so that I could not worry about things. You know, worry doesn’t really get you anywhere except maybe a frown.

Q: Have people pointed out a resemblance to Christopher Reeves before this movie?

Routh: Yeah, my first manager actually talked about my resemblance. I was a big fan of Chris and it was probably one of the main reasons he decided to work with me. Since then people have commented every now and then.

Q: Did you read the Superman comics?

Routh: I did not read the Superman comics. I was a big fan as a kid. You know, I think I’ve told this story many times about the first time I saw the movie wearing the Superman costume or pajamas with a little cape my mom still has. I was so excited to see the film at age five or six that I gave myself a migraine. I had the little silver bowl next to the couch in case I had an upset stomach through half the movie. I was always throwing things up in the air and seeing how they would fly. Making parachutes out of things and seeing how things would fly and my parents were like ‘this kid is crazy.” I didn’t read the comics, but I was a big fan of the films.

Q: Have you been recognized while you have been out?

Routh: There have been some yeah. In Monaco, there was a guy who had on a Superman shirt that I signed for him. He said he was a big fan. You know, some people are quite nervous when they meet me which is interesting because they haven’t seen the film. It shows the power that Superman has, great power the character has all around the world.

Q: What favorite hobby are you going to miss doing without people recognizing you?

Routh: Well, I actually like to go, I wouldn’t call it a hobby, but I actually kind of like walking around stores. Like the grocery store in the evening for some reason. It’s soothing.

Q: You just go in and walk around the isle?

Routh: Yeah, I go with my girlfriend like places like Whole Food where you can read about the products and all that stuff. Knowledge. You’re learning about health. I don’t know why. It’s just interesting.

Q: Do you do this separately when you don’t need groceries?

Routh: No, it’s usually when I need something. But, I enjoy it as I’m doing it.

Q: You just need to put on a pair of glasses and nobody would recognize you.

Routh: I’ve tried that, it doesn’t work.

Q: Did you try to mimic Christopher Reeves at all?

Routh: Well, the film is written to be the vague sequel to the first two films. Inheritably in the script there are many homages in the character and especially written from that character so there are similarities because of that. The only thing that was done really only to mimic Chris’ performances pushing the glasses up with the forefinger. I did that sometimes and sometimes Bryan would love a shot and I didn’t do it, he’d tell me to do it because it fit in a certain shot or sometimes I adjusted the glasses like that. Certainly all of my performance was influenced by Chris. Chris was my Superman, so when I read the script I envisioned the script. He was in my head all the time. My Clark is really everything that comes from him is, all about excitement about being around when he first sees Lois again, you know, meets Jason and Richard. It’s all about him being so excited and where the goofiness and clumsiness comes in. There’s a certain amount that’s always going to seem like Chris and all the other people who have come before because that’s kind of where we see as a collective audience. We don’t want to vary too much from that.

Q: Have you seen the IMAX 3D?

Routh: Oh it’s fantastic. I’ve never seen anything on 3D so that was just fantastic. I was just blown away in the plane sequence where you see the pen and recorder floating and the mailbox standing there. It was just stunning. I’m going to have to see more because I only saw four minutes of it. I’m definitely going to have to see it in IMAX somewhere.

Q: What is it like seeing yourself as Superman on the screen?

Routh: It’s weird. We basically shot the film in chronicle order for Superman anyway. So I think I actually feel that way about it. I feel more confident in the end of film. I think the character is actually making that journey in the film. Even though he’s only been gone for five years he’s still kind of getting back in the swing of things. So I actually feel that emotionally when I’m watching it. It’s still weird for me to watch because I’m Superman, because it’s weird. It’s much easier for me to watch Clark. I enjoy watching Clark and it was great fun to be able to play him.

Q: Can you talk about wearing the suit and what kind of dieting you had to do?

Routh: Well, I did a lot of things. I lifted weights obviously. I did Rope Yoga which is a mix between Pilates and Yoga and then my first trainer Gudni Gunnarsson created. It’s a great core building routine so that was put in place so that I could sustain myself with the wires and the harness for extended periods of time. So we did that early on. Also with weights and especially training my body to get in shape. We got my body in shape to be in shape. I mean, I was in shape, I was an athlete before that. I did certain things, but never to this extent. By the time we got into Australia, two months into my training we starting hitting the weights really, really hard and building more mass and I put on 22 pounds for the film. It was fantastic to see my body change in five months time. I had a little extra time when we went into Sydney because we didn’t start filming Superman right away so it was pretty fantastic. I’ve dropped a little bit now because I’m not working out as heavy definitely now. To actually do it again, if and when we go again because it’s such a powerful feeling to.

Q: Did you have to maintain a certain size for the suit?

Routh: Yeah, I had to and there were a couple of times where we got over zealous in our workout and I started to got, you know, I had to back down because you start to lift a lot, but you have to maintain the limit.

Q: Can you describe the first day you were on set and wearing the costume?

Routh: I think I probably did some mental relaxation and take some deep breaths in my dressing room before I went out. The first scene that we shot if I remember correctly is actually not in the film anymore, but it’s in the Daily Planet. Some of the crew had seen me in passing for costume test and we’d done small things like this. But, this was the full crew and actually there was all of the people in the Daily Planet, all of the extras and they couldn’t look and turn around. We didn’t want anyone taking pictures or shots. A photo hadn’t been released yet and so everybody had to keep their backs turn. These 100 extras you’re in the Daily Planet so that was kind of cool. Just to know the first time it was on camera, it was really powerful. That was kind of the final piece that I needed to be secured in the role was to actually have some footage in the camera and to know that day was marked and I had become the character.

Q: What did Bryan do for you as the director?

Routh: He’s gentle. We had a lot of great conservations. We didn’t really rehearse which we didn’t end up needing to do because we had so many in-depth conservations about the character and how he felt about certain situations. Being open to how he felt about the character was always so important so he always had great insight and he was coming from a different place than I was. It was awesome because there were more layers in there as well as Dan and Mike and other people being open to people’s ideas and pieces of information. Very creatively if a line wasn’t working for me, we’d talk about it and change it, alter it or if it wasn’t quite working the right way we’d figure it out. It’s a creative process and if I can’t be creative and know that he’s able to be creative on the day we’re actually filming then it kind of shuts everything down.

Q: You’re about to do the talk show circuit for the first time. Are you excited?

Routh: I’m excited. You know I’ve pretty much grown up with all of them. It will be fun for my parents I think to see a lot of the stuff. My grandma will get to see me on Regis and Kelly. Proud moment for her. I use to work out with Reg. at the NY Reebok sport’s club. He didn’t know me, but he was there.

Q: Are you going to have different stories to tell everyone?

Routh: I always try to make it different somehow. You know, make sure they ask me different questions.

Q: Can you talk about working with Kate? Did you envision her as Lois Lane?

Routh: I was open and didn’t have anything envisioned. She was cast because she really stood out when she tested with me. It was a very simple test. But we did two of the most important scenes in the film and she was just great. She got to me and to do that in an audition is so powerful because I didn’t have a script. She didn’t have a script. She created this character. The history of the character was so important because we hadn’t played these characters in the film two films that we’re kind of being part of. We both had to create this history between the characters. We’d come together not in a happy time. So captivating and so strong. The difference in how she creates the characters is important. She’s not nice and cheery to Clark necessarily which is what they used to have. But, she’s got big things happening in her life. She’s got a kid. She’s got all of this stuff happening. She doesn’t have time to deal with him in the same way anymore. So she was fantastic and so easy and great to work with. She’s the professional. She’s the one who even though we’re both young, she has the experience and never once did I feel like I was acting with Kate Bosworth. She was very collaborative and just amazing.

Q: How many sequels are you signed for?

Routh: We’ll do as many as everyone wants to get together and do.

Q: What did your girlfriend think of you in the tights?

Routh: She’s great. We all grew up with Superman so she was a fan before, so it was pretty cool for her to see me like that.

Q: Do you have another project coming up?

Routh: I actually have a short film that’s going to be playing at CineVegas. It premieres on Friday and I’m going to be there Monday to see it. It’s a 35 mm short film called “Denial.” It’s about a choice one man has to make between the woman of his dreams and his sanity. It’s quite different from Superman, but awfully exciting and I’m really excited about it. Courtney produced that film and a friend of ours Joel Kelly wrote and directed it.

Q: Did you get to keep the suit?

Routh: No, I actually don’t have a suit, but I did keep the curl. The fake curl. The fake curl that they made and never used.

Superman Returns flies into theaters on Wednesday, June 28th.

Source: Heather Newgen