[Date: May 4, 2007]
Actor Yuri Lowenthal is the voice of Superman on Kids' WB Saturday morning cartoon "The Legion of Super-Heroes". "Legion" completes its first season of 13 episodes with this weekend's "Sundown - Part 2".
The CW recently announced that they were renewing the "Legion" for a second season. The CW's announcement included the following potentially spoiler-ish information on changes planned for the Superman character in the upcoming season: "Superman returns from the 21st century with greater development of both his physical prowess and far better utilization of his powers to help the Legion toward victory in the 31st century and beyond."
The Superman Homepage spoke with Lowenthal about the end of the first season, plans for season two, and how it feels playing the Man of Steel especially in light of the fact that Lowenthal is a comic book fan playing the ultimate icon.
The Superman Homepage would like to thank Mr. Lowenthal for fitting this interview into his busy schedule.
Yuri: Hard to answer this question without giving away too much, but I think I can safely say that (provided WB suits or network censors didn't get their mitts on our show) both diehard LoSH fans will see something that they would not have expected on a Kids' WB Saturday morning cartoon, and hopefully everyone watching will get chills down their spine. It may be a first for Saturday morning TV. I'll be sitting in front of the TV in my footie pajamas with my big bowl of Sugar-Frosted Choco-Bombs, that's for damn sure. I can't wait.
Q: Any Legion casualties? In comic book continuity, Ferro Lad doesn't survive the Legion's first encounter with the Suneater - does he fare any better on kid-friendly Saturday morning television?
Yuri: Oh, come on, man, this IS a Saturday morning cartoon after all.
Q: As the season began, Superman is literally just a farm boy - he's Clark, not even Superman yet, when the Legion recruits him. Where do you see Superman's character growth as of the end of season one?
Yuri: I think, by the end of season one, he's a lot more prepared to embrace his destiny and become the Superman we've all come to know and love. Well, one of them anyway...
Q: The announcement that "Legion" was picked up for a second season referred to a more experienced Superman returning to the 31st Century next season - what does this mean for the character and for your portrayal?
Yuri: Once again, I don't want to give away too much, but let's just say that you'll get to see Superman in several different incarnations, and I've had a blast playing them all so far.
Q: Any chance more elements of Superman's continuity - cosmic villains like Darkseid, Mongul or Imperiex for instance -- may show up next season?
Yuri: The producer and writers on the show are too geeky to NOT pull from those elements, so yes, there is a chance of that. A good one.
Q: When will Brainiac 5 tell Superman he's descended from one of the Man of Steel's greatest villains? Any chance of Brainiac the bad guy showing up?
Yuri: Once again, we've only recorded so much of the second season, but with the kinds of things that have shown up so far, there's certainly a chance of that. I hope, anyway.
Q: In one of your pre-"Legion" publicity stills, you're wearing a Green Lantern logo T-shirt - are you a comic book fan? If so, how does being a fan influence how you approach voicing an icon? Whether a fan or not, what was your familiarity with Superman and/or the Legion before starting with the show?
Yuri: I'm a huge comic book fan, although, of late, there have been too many good books out there for me to keep up anymore. But I grew up on comics, and I'm proud of that.
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Of course, being a fanboy makes this job the best job I could ever have hoped for. Where do you go from here? I can't even type the words, "I play Superman," with a straight face. It's an intense mix of intimidation and wild glee. I still keep thinking some suits are going to show up at my door and take it away and erase my memory.
Yuri: Wait a minute. My character? Superman?? Who are you and why are you asking me these questions? You must be thinking of somebody else. Oh that's a bunch of legal stuff that I think we're not supposed to elaborate on, but let's just say that "SuperMAN" gets me a lot more respect.
Q: What other live action and/or voice work might people know you from?
Yuri: I've had parts on shows like "Alias", "Gilmore Girls", and "Close to Home", and I've been in a bunch of indie films that haven't made it beyond the festival circuit, but a lot of people know me from my voice work in videogames (including "Prince of Persia", "Halo 2", and ".hack//"), and Japanese anime (including "Naruto", "Afro Samurai", and "Robotech"). Keep an eye out for the psychological thriller "Tumbling After", a film I wrote, produced, and acted in with my wife and partner-in-crime, Tara Platt. We're in post-production on that now, and hopefully we won't have any trouble getting it to the masses.