"That is raw!" says Brandon Routh, the star of Superman Returns, staring in dismay at the undercooked hamburger he has been served at a Sunset Boulevard bistro. And the irresistible metaphor looms: The 6’3", square-jawed Routh, 26, is in many ways your classic Hollywood tenderfoot, potential grist for the town’s cruel mill. Raised in Norwalk, Iowa (Mom is a second-grade teacher, Dad, a carpenter), he modeled briefly and bartended before getting bit parts on One Life to Live, Gilmore Girls, and Will & Grace.
Yet it was this dropped-from-the-sky quality that appealed to Superman‘s director, Bryan Singer—the fourth attached to Warner Bros." fraught, decade-long venture, during which Nicolas Cage, Brendan Fraser, Josh Hartnett, and Ashton Kutcher were up for the tide role. "I wanted an unknown because Superman is larger than any actor," Singer says. "And a famous actor comes with baggage." Indeed: He admits that Routh‘s sometimes uncanny resemblance to the late Christopher Reeve factored significantly into his decision.
"Stepping into those shoes, there’s tons of pressure," says Kate Bosvvorth, the new Lois Lane. "This was Brandon‘s first taste of the movie industry, and he was so sweet, Very innocent."
But Routh—a self-professed homebody who has an endearing Clark Kentish stammer, a longtime girlfriend, actress Courtney Ford; and understandable anxiety about which project to pick next—seems primed to embody the Man of Steel for a new generation, thanks to the ministrations of two personal trainers, a nutritionist ("Eggs are my Kryptonite!"), a movement specialist, and an acting coach he hired himself. "It paid dividends, just in my being grounded," he says. And he promises that his Superman goes beyond homage to Reeve, though "I had his voice in my head," Routh says. "There were times when I would go, Did that sound too much like Chris? But nobody ever yelled ‘Cut!’ because of it.
It’s a bird, it’s a plane… No, it’s Brandon Routh, the hottest new caped crusader! Elle Magazine featured actor Brandon Routh in June 2006 issue. As did the UK edition of GQ Magazine June 2006. Above is the Elle article, after the jump is the GQ UK article. If you haven’t watched the Superman Returns trailer yet, what are you waiting for?!??! Check out all of the pictures in the gallery!
Don’t be surprised if Brandon Routh’s acting career takes off faster than a speeding bullet. After languishing in bit parts in TV soaps, 26-year-old Routh has been plucked from obscurity to play the legendary Man of Steel in Superman Returns. Some might call it fate, as he does bear an uncanny resemblance to Christopher Reeve, the only previous actor to bring the role to the silver screen. It seems Routh’s towering physique and lantern-jaw good looks made him the obvious choice for director Bryant Singer.
Singer himself is no slouch in the comc-book genre having successfully directed the first two X-Men films. His genius lies in lifting iconic superheroes off the page and bringing them to life for millions of obsessive comic-book fans. So appealing was the notion of doing just that with Superman Returns that Singer passed up the chance to direct the final installment of the X-men trilogy.
A shroud of secrecy has been thrown around the film and Brandon himself is tight-lipped when it comes to revealing details. He will say that his Superman has to deal with some "fairly modern psychological issues".
"Superman returns to Metropolis after a five-year absence and finds things have changed," Brandon says. "But I don’t want to give away too much. You’ll have to see for yourself."
If you can’t bear the though of watching an entire film with the Man of Steel lying suping on a psychiatrist’s couch bleating on about his emotional deficiencies, don’t worry. "There’s plenty of action," divulges Routh, "and I do most of my own stunts." So grueling were the demands of the role that he spent almost a year bulking up his already impressive frame. Routh needed to be super-fit in order to withstand hours of filming suspended in wire harnesses, and his training regime reincluded movement classes to help the actor similate flying. Hours were expended posing on blocks with cameras on cranes swooping around him — exhausting work, but the end product will undoubtedly propel the superhero to new heights.
Let’s hope Brandon Routh is ready for megastardom. Growing up in Iowa, he sported Superman pajamas and worked himself into a frenzy when he saw the original 1978 film on television. "I became so excited that I gave myself a migraine. I don’t really rememeber watching it. I was throwing up everywhere." Superman Returns is out on July 14.