In an extensive interview with EmpireOnline.com, Tyler Hoechlin talks about his acting career, having to choose between acting and baseball, his career choices, auditioning to play Superman for “Man of Steel”, and, of course, finally playing Superman on the “Supergirl” TV series. Here’s a portion of the interview…
There’s a great bit in the first episode where you block bullets from a flying drone and save a father and his kids. You turn around and use heat visiion to blow up the drone, the kids are carrying on, and you wink at them before you take to the sky. That simple gesture in itself seemed to personify the character in a way that it hasn’t been in a long time.
It was in the script, and we had a lot of fun with that. I remember reading that for the first time and I loved it. That’s such a great moment. I do think it’s that little nod of, “I gotcha, kid, and you know what? You can do this, too.” For me, it captures everything about Superman in this whole thing. I really tried to lean on that, especially it being a big character coming into a world where the title is character is not him. It’s not his origin story; it’s not about him.
Everything for me in this was support. He’s there to support Supergirl, he’s there to help her, if and when she needs it. And to impart wisdom where he can, but at this point of this story, I don’t think anything is about him. You know what I mean? When he’s Clark, yeah, it can be about Clark, and it’s about his work and it’s about his relationship with Lois and stuff. We’re not really there for that. You can see a little bit of Clark, and we’ll see more of it again, but when he’s there as Superman especially, he’s there to help, he’s there to support, he’s there to encourage and make it about other people. I do compare it to that experience of being in a locker room. There’s the veteran guys and there’s the rookies. The veteran guys have been around enough, the coaches don’t really need to come to the veteran guys anymore. They know what they’re doing, they’re comfortable in their own skin, they know how it works, they know how it goes. The veteran guys are now there to help the younger guys come up. They’re there to encourage them to become the next veterans. That’s kind of what it is. So that’s something that I had been able to relate it to as well. Superman’s only hope and idea at that point is to encourage others to reach their potential as well, and that’s all he wants to do.
That’s kind of captured in the moment when he enters the DEO base and everybody is reacting to his presence, and Superman says to them, “I want to thank you for your hard work.” It’s an interesting approach to the character.
I remember telling Melissa, after a couple of takes of that, I went up to her and I was, like, “This is the hardest scene.” “Oh, really? Why” “Well, because I don’t like attention. It’s so many eyeballs, which is crazy.” She was, like, “You know what’s great, though? I don’t think he would either.” I’m, like, “No, I don’t think he does.” So that was something that in that moment I connected to as well, which is that he understands the symbol that he is and what he means to a lot of people, and so he has to live up to that. Whether that’s a part of his personality or not, I think something fun about the character was that really you’re kind of playing three or four, sometimes five characters in that guy. Because you have Clark when he’s just very much Clark. You have Clark when he’s around the people who know that he’s Superman. Then you have Superman, and then you have Clark around people that don’t know that he’s Superman and can’t know that he’s Superman. There’s just so many different layers of his personality to where, I think for me, the true Clark/Superman/Kal-El is really when he’s being Clark around people that know he’s Superman. That is the truest him, that’s him not putting on any kind of extra show, playing anything up, playing anything down. For me, he enjoys the moment with the little kids and being able to encourage, but the idea of being looked at and revered? I’m not really sure he loves that. It’s something he understands and he’ll take it on as that’s part of his role, but I don’t think it’s necessarily something where he walks around going, “Oh, yeah, man, people think I’m great.”
As for whether he’d be interested in playing Superman in his own spin-off TV series, he said, “Oh, man, again, one of those things where it’s a bridge to cross when you get to it. We’ll see what happens. I will say I’ve had an immense amount of fun doing it, so I can be “persuaded” to come back.”