June 9, 2006: “Superman Returns” Press Junket

Roundtable Interview with Sam Huntington

Sam Huntington Sam: How you guys doin'? (Sam sees the 36" Superman Returns figure) Oh my god, what is that?

Press: Where's the Jimmy Olsen figure?

Sam: I'm waiting for it too, dude! That is killer. I don't know, hopefully there will be one!

Press: You look a bit like Jimmy Olsen now, actually, with the hair and everything.

Sam: Yeah? Maybe that's what Bryan saw.

Press: The burrito presentation was really good.

Sam: Thank you! I ate a FEW of those that day. I was a little burrito-full by the end of the day, that's for sure.

Press: Is it easy playing an iconic character like Jimmy Olsen who isn't as physically well known as Lois and Superman?

Sam: Yeah, of course. (laughter)

Press: Do you have more freedom, as an actor?

Sam: Yes, I mean, I think the thing is that he's a lot more tangible than they are, you know? He's kind of the everyman. He is, in many way, the audience. He's all of us. When we go see the movie, he's watching things unfold as they happen and he's not creating things, he's observing things. That being said, all of our roles have been played before, by really talented people, so we all have shoes to fill. I mean, I think Marc McClure and Jack Larson, who is in the film, are tremendous. They have their own take and it's just perfect. For that generation, for that time, it's just perfect. And I tried to do exactly that. I tried to, more than anything, be myself. Because I felt a kinship to Jimmy Olsen from the Christopher Reeve films, from the Richard Donner film, ever since I was a little tiny guy. So, seriously, I've been a fan my entire life. So... yes and no, I guess. That's the long answer, sort of.

Press: There were scenes of you filmed (that were cut) that explored a little bit more of your back story.

Sam: Sure.

Press: Were you a little shocked, were you happy... what was your first reaction?

Sam: I think it's a masterpiece. I absolutely adore it. And being a fan of the 1978 film and the subsequent films, I'm VERY proud to be a part of this one, in this generation. I think that everybody just knocked it out of the park.

Press: What was cut that you would like to see in the DVD?

Sam: Of my stuff? There was a lot more bar stuff, you know, at the pub.

Press: Were you drunk?

Sam: Ehh, you know... (laughter) Well, there's a lot of that.

Press: You were a little pissed?

Sam: A little pissed, yeah. (pissed is used here as in "drunk", not "angry") There was a lot of that, but honestly, other than that there was a lot of... not a lot of actual scenes were cut, but a lot of pieces of scenes were cut. You know what I mean? Not a lot of actual, whole pieces. So it hits every beat.

Press: You signed for three?

Sam: Yeah, for three. If they happen.

Press: And what do you hope Jimmy Olsen does in the second one?

Sam: I think this movie sets it up perfectly. I think there's so many different ways you could go with this character. He is, in many ways, very dynamic and multifaceted. So we'll see what happens. It's really up to Mike, Dan and Bryan.

Press: You are a fan of the movies?

Sam: A hundred percent!

Press: And then after you're done with Superman you go and shoot Fanboys in New Mexico. It's about Star Wars, which you're also a fan of, right?

Sam: Yeah, I mean, absolutely! I think everybody's a fan of Star Wars... aren't they?

Press: Not the prequels! (laughter)

Sam: Well there you go.

Press: The original Star Wars or the new three?

Sam: There's a definite lineation there!

Press: What is Fanboys about?

Sam: It's about four Star Wars fans in 1998 who go on a pilgrimage to steal The Phantom Menace.

Press: Who's in that with you?

Sam: Kristen Bell, Jay Baruchel, Dan Fogler, who just won a Tony last year, and Chris Marquette are our crew, and I honestly think the world of them.

Press: Are you the biggest Star Wars fan of that group?

Sam: Dan Fogler was a huge fan, Kyle Newman's ridiculous. He, the director, was just an unbelievably fanboy. Like, ridiculous fanboy. And actually, that was really nice to have him because he was able to feed us what we needed at the right time. Look, I love movies and I love certain genre movies and what have you, but by no means am I going to wait in line for a week, you know what I mean?

Press: Unless it's for Superman Returns.

Sam: Yeah yeah yeah! (Sam grabs one of the mics on the table and speaks in a squeaky voice) Line up for Superman!

Press: (laughter) Are you a fanboy in the real sense of the word? Do you get your comics every Wednesday?

Sam: I don't. I don't do comic book-Wednesday. I think it's kind of neat that all the players in this film, everyone, kind of calls different pieces of the Superman legacy. The comic books, the TV series, the movies, the cartoons, you name it. I'm partial to the Christopher Reeve films just because that's what I grew up with.

Press: What are you a big fan of today?

Sam: I'm a fan of anything that's going to make me smile. Honestly, anything that I can walk out feeling like that's had an effect on my life in a positive way.

Press: And what's the last thing you saw that has that?

Sam: Golly. That's a tough question.

Press: Golly?!

Sam: Well, I say it a lot. You know... I don't really know, I...

Press: Maybe nothing makes you smile anymore?

Sam: Oh, that's not true at all. I'm trying to think of... I love The Wedding Crashers, I thought that was a great one. That made me smile. I love movies like that, I love romantic comedies, I love zany, stupid comedies, I like a range of different things. And I like stuff like King Kong and Lord of the Rings and that kind of epic... you know, stuff like (Superman Returns).

Press: You'd pay to see this?

Sam: Ohhh, yes. Even if I felt smited by not getting the job, I'd still go see it. It's like one of those movies where you just get too close.

Press: What are you working on next?

Sam: I don't know yet.

Press: Is there any possible chance you might be doing Revenge of the Nerds with Kyle?

Sam: No comment. I mean, I honestly don't know. I would love to work with Kyle again. Honestly it would be hard for me. I feel like I just did a nerd movie, kind of.

Press: You played a nerd character.

Sam: Well no, not Superman. Fanboys.

Press: Were you really nerdy in that?

Sam: No, I was the straight man in that film which is kind of interesting for me. That was kind of fun and new for me, to kind of play that role. Honestly it depends, I haven't read the script yet, I don't think it's ready yet. I would love to work with Kyle again, but it's kind of going to depend on what happens. There is no talk. There's no negotiations there.

Press: Have you seen the final cut of Fanboys?

Sam: I've seen little pieces of it.

Press: It's not a Clerks movie. It's a very emotional movie.

Sam: Extremely. It's got a wonderful heart, a real emotional core. And it's unexpected. Just like Superman, it's unexpected to have this kind of emotional core in a film like that.

Press: Is it going to a festival?

Sam: Yeah, it's Weinsteins, so it's going to be distributed, hopefully very wide. They've got big, big plans for I think, so we'll see.

Press: You had a number of scenes with Jack (Larson). Speak to his frame of mind on the set, being in this film... it had to be coming full-circle for him.

Sam: Yeah, it's crazy, man. I mean, everybody asks me, "So what was it like to work with Jack Larson and was there a passing of the torch?" There was like a twenty-five minute passing of the torch! The cool thing was it was just as exciting, I think, for him, seemingly so, as it was for me to meet him, for him to pass the torch as it was for me to receive it. And that was really, really cool, man.

Press: Any personal moments with him that were kind of touching?

Sam: Just the talks and how the role has affected his life and how being part of this has affected him fifty-plus years after the show was on television. It's still affecting him. And it's just kinda neat. It's like almost one of those things where you see what could potentially happen and he's just such a sweet, wonderful man.

Press: Did you talk at all about the George Reeves biopic that's about to come out?

Sam: A little bit. He and George were extremely close. Very, very close, so he's got a lot of history there. I think it might be kind of sensitive for him to talk about. That being said, I can't really comment on it. He didn't really talk about that very much. He talked about George a lot, obviously.

Press: What kind of things?

Sam: Just how close they were, and what a loss it was to lose him. And how he played the character, and how he was as a person. And there's a documentary that's coming, "Look, up in the sky..."

Press: We have that on DVD. They gave it to us as a gift.

Sam: Oh, that's so... is that what this is? (taps on a case on the table)

Press: No, that's the press kit.

Sam: Oh. Fantastic, though. They gave it to you guys?

Press: Yeah. It goes up to this movie, right?

Sam: Yeah.

Press: Ben Affleck...

Sam: ...is playing George Reeves, yes, I've heard about that (Sam rolls his eyes)(laughter) I have mixed feelings about that.

Press: What was your first reaction, because you're a Superman fan, when you finally saw Brandon in full costume?

Sam: It was an epic moment for me.

Press: Was it really?

Sam: Yeah! I mean, he had these two dressing rooms. One was the room where he... because it took a very long time... believe it or not, it's not just spandex... it was very involved to put the suit on. So he had the room to put the suit on which took like forty-five minutes and there was the room that he would just hang out in. Nothing lavish, it was just a room. I was sitting in that room just waiting for him, I didn't know he was getting dressed, and EVERYBODY else knew. Because I'm like a dweeb, I'm ridiculous. And I'd been waiting to see him in the suit, like I was so pumped, and so I'm sitting in the room and it's an adjoining room and there's a door that walks in and he walks in as Superman. He knew I was going to shit myself, basically.

Press: (laughter) And you did.

Sam: And I did! I squeezed a... yeah. (more laughter) I won't delve into that. But you know what, it was like watching Santa Claus come down the chimney. It was like... it was like seeing Superman. (gestures to me and one of the other reporters) You're wearing a shirt, you're wearing a hat, you guys must be fans, right? It was like seeing Superman! It was like...

Press: Did he pose and say something?

Sam: Oh yeah. He came in and... I forget, what the hell did he say? (Sam puts his hands on his hips in classic Superman pose) He was all arms akimbo ... (Sam extends his hand as if waiting for someone to shake it) He was all, "Hello, sir!" (laughter) Man, I couldn't even look him in the face. Couldn't even look at him. I was ridiculous. And I KNEW Brandon, that was the weird thing. I knew him! It wasn't like the first time I'd met him or seen him. But man, it was the first time I saw Superman.

Press: Do you get to fly in the next movie?

Sam: (Sam crosses his fingers) I hope so! (laughter)

Press: Are you jealous of Bosworth doing that?

Sam: Yeah! Everybody gets to fly but me! What the hell, man? (more laughter)

Press: You talked about how Jimmy is kind of the audience and he does have basically interaction with every character in (the movie), in your curiosity, in your opinion, do you think Jimmy knows Clark is Superman?

Sam: This is so funny. Everybody's asked me that today. I think there's a shroud of mystery over whether or not Jimmy knows. I think in the whole legacy, in everything that Jimmy's been in, every kind of different medium, there's always that kind of cloud of "does he know, does he not?" And I don't think I allude to it in this film... we'll see what happens in the subsequent films. I think there could be some fun had with that. I don't know. It's not really alluded to in this film, though. We'll see what happens. Hopefully we'll make some sequels.

Press: I was talking to Rob Burnett and he was saying you're so good in this film, they could easily make a Jimmy Olsen spinoff. (laughter)

Sam: Rob's a very sweet man. Honestly, I just had fun every day. I think that's probably what he's referring to. I just came to work ready to play. And it was that kind of atmosphere, it was so appropriate because it was just kind of like "Look what we're doing! Look how ridiculous we are! How amazing is where we are and what we're doing!" And I think that's probably why he said that.

Press: During your downtime in Sydney, did you take advantage of the nightlife?

Sam: We ate a lot of really wonderful food...

Press: Did you get drunk?

Sam: Well I AM in my mid-twenties. (laughter) Do you even have to ask? (more laughter) We had a lot of fun.

Press: You need to pace yourself.

Sam: Absolutely. I've had four or five years to pace myself, I know what I'm doing. Nah, I'm just kidding. We had a really, really wonderful time. We traveled quite a bit.

Press: Where'd you go?

Sam: We went north to the barrier reef and we went to Hunter Valley, which is beautiful, and we went down to the southern highlands and we went to the Green Mountains... we did all the usual kind of touristy things that you do on the east coast of Australia. Had an unbelievable blast doing it.

Press: That's a nice way to make a living.

Sam: Oh my god, it's like a five month paid vacation, is what it felt like. It was like going to see this beautiful part of the world and traveling around and getting to make an unbelievable film while you're there. And work with people that you truly love and respect.

Press: Would you like them to make the sequels in Australia?

Sam: I would be happy doing them anywhere. Needless to say I have no idea where they're going to be. I would love to go back to Sydney, I would also love to shoot in Vancouver. I've never been to Vancouver, I hear Vancouver's a beautiful city.

Press: You talked about showing up for work every day, ready. With Brandon it's kind of obvious, lifting weights. How do you get ready for Jimmy? Do you try on bow ties? (laughter)

Sam: Honestly I felt like I already had a piece of him inside of me, anyway... (one of the other reporters starts laughing) Yeah, giggle, buddy. Get it right out, pal. Trust me, my mind's grosser than all you guys. But yeah, I felt like I already knew him. It was fun for me.

Press: You did a great job.

Sam: Thank you so much! I hope you guys liked the movie. Thanks a lot, man, thanks a lot!

Press: Before you go, is there a toy now that you would have loved to have had when you were a kid?

Sam: (Sam points to the 36" Superman Returns figure) That's unbelievable! Yes... yes, there is! There's the flying one... the Superman one that flies? That is SO cool. If that was around when I was a little kid, with the little remote control...

Press: What about a Jimmy flying one?

Sam: Yeah, with a bowtie propeller! Think about it!