June 9, 2006: Superman Returns Press Junket
Roundtable Interview with Brandon RouthBrandon: Hi, I'm Brandon everybody, how are you doing? (goes around and shakes everyone's hand).
Press: Q: We can tell you're new at this. (laughter)
Brandon: No, no, I want to meet everybody. Sometimes I meet you twice.
Press: How do you feel about playing such an iconic character, and how reluctant were you to take on the mantle of Christopher Reeve?
Brandon: Not reluctant at all. It was a great mantle to be able to take on, really, and an amazing legacy and, you know, to finally see it, and I just saw the final product yesterday as well...it just was really amazing to be a part of something like this and the spirit of Superman is great to have around. I'm really excited to be a part of it and share in the legacy and I also saw the A&E documentary "Look up in the sky," (that) Kevin Burns and Bryan did, and it showed me again the history that's in this character.
Press: Were you there every step of the way? The original cut is 2:55...were you disappointed at all, that they cut out the return to Krypton?
Brandon: I was at first. I thought at first that I wanted a little bit of that in there, but the reasoning behind what they cut and what they kept really made sense, and it really played for me when I saw it yesterday. It all worked and it was understood, and sometimes you know when you make a script, you want it to be all these amazing things and you realize that sometimes it's too much, and there are so many things that it dilutes the main theme of the film, and so I think that it was to Bryan's credit that he was able to let go of some of those things, because you create these things and you think you become very creatively...even I, acting these things, you become very creatively taken by it, you wanna keep it in there because you feel like it's yours, but to be able to see that sometimes some stuff needs to go, it's great, and it's all for the benefit of the film. You'll get to see, though, I think, some of that on the DVD.
Press: What were the challenges to play this character, both physically and emotionally?
Brandon: Well, physically, preparing for the role, definitely, and then continuing to stay physically fit throughout training, throughout filming, getting up at 4 and 4:30 in the morning.
Press: Were you not fit before?
Press: So no Australian beer for you while you were filming?
Brandon: Oh, once in a while, but not very often, you know. I had to stay fit. Here in Los Angeles, with my first trainer, I did rope yoga, which is a process that's kind of a mix between pilates and yoga that my trainer designed, actually, and that was to help me in the wires, to be able to be flexible, to endure the long hours and to keep a streamlined position and create a very strong abdomen and core section, it's all about core-based training. We lifted weights as well, in an effort to train my body to then be able to lift heavier weights when I got to Australia. So that was the first couple months, and then once in Australia I really hit the weights hard. Diet, you know, a lot of vegetables. Mostly that was the biggest change that I did. I think I ate quite a bit of protein too, that was part of it. I had some great supplements from Science for Health, with my nutritionist.
Press: How much did you end up pressing?
Brandon: Well, we never actually did bench marks. We used to do, when we did bench, we did escalating weights and then I would compete with my trainer, who was about the same size as I was, Michael, he's an inch taller than I am, but then we would see who could do the last set as many times, pushing up, like, probably 160 pounds, as much as we could, to exhaustion. That was our big battle, I think I beat him more than I lost on that one.
Press: You're 6'3. What did you weigh when you were Superman?
Brandon: Two-twenty, 218 at my heaviest.
Press: What do you weigh now?
Brandon: Uh...211, 212? But I'm lifting a little bit to stay fit, but it's nowhere near the sheer amount of weight that I was working with. If we do another one, I'll certainly be back in the gym before that.
Press: Have they told you to set aside September 2007? Is that what I'm hearing?
Brandon: They have not told me anything. I'm the last to know.
Press: Actors talk a lot about how acting is a craft you're constantly learning. What did you take away from your experience on this film, and specifically what did you take away from Bryan Singer?
Brandon: Wow, I've taken a lot of things...I knew patience was important, but just being able to be open and to be open to all the possibilities of what's gonna be out there. Creatively, to listen to people is very important, because I think that I have my own way and I'm very certain in my way, but to be able to listen to what Bryan has to say, or anybody has a piece of information, it's very helpful, because you know, this is a hugely collaborative process, for us all to create things together, and I'm very open to that now. And, from Bryan, just being able to, kind of a similar thing, being able to change on the whim, when the shot wasn't working, for him to be able to completely alter something, because it wasn't working, even though he created an animatic to do it one way, and all this stuff, he was just like, "OK, let's do something else," and as an actor, being able to do that has paid dividends for me, too, because I really do become stuck in how I think it's gonna happen, because I practice it, or I rehearse it one way, and then to go, "Oh, but how about this way?" and it opens up a whole new level of exploration.
Brandon: Well, I think so...I said before that I'm prepared to be prepared, and I think that remains the same...you know, there's no way to really know what it's going to feel like, I think for each individual it's different, and...
Press: Yeah, maybe no one will go. (laughter)
Brandon: Well, no, I think we won't have that problem, but as far as paparazzi I'm speaking of, I will deal with that when it's time to be dealt with...that.
Press: Do you get advice from Kate Bosworth, for example?
Brandon: Just, you know, being open to it. If I become defensive and upset right away, then that's going to adversely affect how I deal with it, and it's probably not going to be good press for me, and probably be bad pictures because I'll be angry, so...just to be open, and pleasant, but I think it will be amazing where I find myself, years from now, because of this film, it's just amazing, I would think everybody's kinda gonna know this film, and because of it, me, and, so I...it's crazy.
Press: There are notes in the film where it seems like you do little homages to Chris Reeve. Was it conscious that you were doing that?
Brandon: Well, he is my Superman, so...as I've said, when I read the script for the first time, I was envisioning him, because that's how I envisioned, what I envision Superman. So there are definitely elements where I'm sure it looks a lot like him, and I'm probably channeling that energy, which is great and I'm proud to be a part of, and then there's other times when it's completely different, so...everything I do, pretty much, there's probably more old in my performance than new, because there's almost seventy years of history in the character, and everybody who's watching it is seeing it through their vision, so they're seeing what they want to see, they're seeing as much of me as they want to see, and they're seeing as much of somebody else.
Press: Is there anything unique you wanted to bring to the character that hadn't been there before? We see a lot of vulnerability on screen that looked really good...was that yours?
Brandon: Thank you, and yeah, I know, that has to do with the script, I mean, it allowed me to do that, which was fantastic because we really get to see the character mature and deal with some things that are, that I think as an audience member, really pull us in, and I think that Superman's journey is to become comfortable on Earth. Of course he's got his role as Earth's greatest protector, but he also wants to be as happy as he can, and if that happens to be with Lois, then he's gonna find a way. It might not be easy, but he'll do...that's the journey. So that was great to be able to play that. Other than that, I think one thing with the flying, we wanted to make it as graceful as possible, of course that's easier with a CGI element, but there are many shots that are really really me, and some great stuff that I'm really proud of, so we wanted to make that as graceful as possible, and just the movement of the character as being really regal, and have a great sense of power when moving, which is a difference between Superman and Clark as well.
Press: Have you been working on the audio commentary for the DVD?
Brandon: No, I haven't done that yet.
Brandon: Well, on Superman and just not action, I'm kind of looking for something with a lot less action and more talking and listening. I also have a film that's premiering at CineVegas Film Festival, a short film directed by Joel Kelly, it's called Denial. It's a 35 mm short film, it's about a man's struggle to choose between the woman of his dreams and his reality. So, it's definitely different than Superman. So I'm really proud of that.
Press: So you really don't know what you're doing after that?
Brandon: I'm...this has opened up a lot of doors, I've met with a lot of people, and very soon I'm going to be making a choice, yeah.
Press: Have you gone to Lucky Strike recently? Taken a look at your old world?
Brandon: I was actually just there the other day for an MTV special that they're doing, so yeah, it's the same, and it's great to see it again and see some of my friends that are there.
Press: There's a remarkable amount of silence in the film where you're allowed to watch the characters just react. Was that a big challenge for you as an actor?
Brandon: Yes, and especially when flying, because then I have an element of physicality happening while doing that, but one of most amazing things that I got from the film...so much green screen, there are so many moments, and really, it taught me...how important it is to have an intention, when flying, when going somewhere, having an intention every time I'm moving...what am I doing, what am I going to say, how do I feel about that? Rather than just going, and having a blank stare, because I'm...there's so much story. Superman is a man of few words. There's so much that needs to be conveyed just through the image of my face on screen.
Press: Was there one moment in the film that you loved, one scene?
Brandon: There are many, and I don't know that I can talk about them still, even yet. Even though you guys have seen them, but there are some heartfelt moments and on New Krypton and everything that happens there, testing the limits of Superman's...even though we know he's Earth's greatest protector, he really has to prove it. So, those are some powerful moments for me and finding that within myself and being able to display that, and kind of live that for those scenes, that was really fantastic.
Press: How'd you get the blue eyes?
Brandon: Well, I wore contacts. Blue prescription contacts, because I wear contacts myself, which were a little bit infuriating sometimes because they were painted, so there was white around them, and I'd blink and they'd shift...better than the scleros, which are the full eye ones. I didn't wear those, but I've heard stories about those. But I think they had to go back and retouch some stuff afterwards.
Press: Working with Kevin Spacey, you had some adversarial moments, sort of in character?
Brandon: We don't have too much a lot in the film, because it's more important when we come together, when we finally come together that it mean something...but, there was always a little bit, we were playing the characters, he's the bad guy...yeah, he did that, we got a kick out of that, which actually kind of paid off when we got around to filming the scene, because I already had that sense of Lex's evilness even though we had no history, he was showing that to me, every once in a while, him having fun.
Press: Are you a comic guy?
Brandon: Of comics, I was never as big of a fan as I probably could have been, I suppose, but I'm definitely a fan of science fiction/ fantasy. My interests were more in the fantasy than in comics growing up. Books, games, that kind of thing.
Press: Any that you'd like to play? A movie?
Brandon: There are many things, you know. I'm sure at some time there'll be some element of that.
Press: What villain would you like to see in the sequels?
Brandon: I don't know. I don't want to put anything out there until Mike and Dan and Bryan figure out if indeed we do.
Press: Is there a toy out now that you wished you had when you were a little kid? (some guy had a 36" Superman Returns figure, which he handed to Brandon)
Brandon: What? Whoa! Who gave you that thing? I've never seen that! I haven't seen that, but there's a flying remote control one...it seems pretty cool. I never had a remote control flying airplane, so I had these little gliders, but that would have been really cool. Look at that.