Superman on Television
Exclusive Interview with John Haymes NewtonDate: August 12, 2002
John Haymes Newton is best known to Superman fans as the actor who played Clark Kent/Superboy in the 1st season of the 1988-89 live-action TV series "Superboy".
The Superman Homepage would like to thank John for agreeing to do this interview, and for fitting it into his busy schedule.
THE INTERVIEWQ: Can you please tell us a little about yourself and your background?
A: I grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina next to a real castle (Gimghoul Castle) Spent a lot of time role playing and living out fantasy games there. Youngest of 5 kids. Daydreamed my way through school, not motivated by traditional values and beliefs. Always searching for the proverbial meaning of life; something other than the normal 9-5 American dream stuff. Found some level of escape in acting which allowed me a socially accepted excuse to be eccentric.
Q: How did you go about becoming an actor?
A: Did my first play when I was 5 re-inacting the Apollo moon landing. Always the class clown, I really got serious about performing on stage when I was a senior in high school. Moved to NYC soon after graduating to study acting full time.
Q: How did the role of Clark Kent/Superboy come about for you? Who contacted you to audition for the role?
A: I was visiting the film studios in Wilmington, NC on vacation with my family and Lynn Stallmaster happened to be in town auditioning locals for small parts in "Weekend at Bernies". Having just completed my 2 year acting program in NYC, I was allowed to return the next day and audition. After my reading, he asked me if I was interested in doing a TV series. I was flown to Florida to screen test the following weekend as I recall.
Q: What was your first reaction when you learned you had won the role?
A: It all felt like some dream. I remember being slightly disappointed that they weren't calling it "The Adventures of Young Superman" or something instead of "Superboy" which seemed to have less credence somehow.
Q: Were you a Superman/Superboy fan before taking on the role?
A: Some of my earlist comic experiences were Superboy comics. It was pretty surreal looking back on the synchronicity of it all.
Q: From the way you played Clark Kent it appears you prefered the John Byrne version of the character. Did you read the comics at all and did you have a preference as far as a writer or artist?
A: I had been away from the comics too long to distinguish between different writers. When I got the roll, I spent as much time as I could at DC in New York looking as everything relating to Superman I could get my hands on.
Q: With so many years of history to look back on, including movies, cartoons and comic books, etc... Which (if any) influenced your portrayal of the character?
A: I had my own anti- Chris Reeve thing going on which looking back on it all I feel like I over did it. I wish I had made Clark more "insecure" instead of "not-nerdy". I also realized about half way through second season, that one of the things that makes Superman powerful isn't acting powerful as much as how everyone around him reacts to his presence/treats him. I mean I would fly in to a scene and the extras would have absolutely no reaction sometimes. (I hope that's not a testament to my acting).
Q: What was it like working on "Superboy"? How well did you get along with the other cast members, especially Stacy Haiduk (Lana) and Scott Wells (Lex)?
A: I enjoyed everyone on the show. We had a great time. I was in a relationship with Stacy for practically the entire run (starting after the first month or so).
Q: Can you tell us about anything funny that happened on the set or a "behind-the-scenes" story that many fans might not have heard about?
A: I'm sure there were many incidents, but the main ones were being flown into the tree and power/telephone lines both on the same day with substitute flying rig operators.
Q: It is reported that you did many of your own stunts for the show. Can you tell us about any stunts that went wrong or that were particularly dangerous?
A: See above. Chris Reeve once said it all: If you fall on your head, it doesn't really matter whether you are 20 feet high or 60 feet high. (When people would ask him if he was scared of getting hurt so falling from the top position on the crane).
Q: At the time it was said the Salkinds chose you because you looked like a young Christopher Reeve... How did you react to comments like that?
A: I saw some resemblance possibly.
Q: What do you think fans most liked about "Superboy"? What are you most proud of about the show?
A: His down to earth sensibility and his dedication to service. (These are important values often overlooked in today's society).
Q: Can you tell us why you only starred in season one of the series? Were you asked to leave or was it your decision not to come back for season two?
A: It was my choice to leave. The producers asked me back repeatedly. I asked for a small raise (20%) due to the amount of dangerous stunts I was performing as well as two serious accidents mentioned above. The raise offer was retracted because they claimed an illegally issued traffic citation I recieved while on private property made the charater look bad, ect. To make a long story short, if I could, I would go back and do things differently. I can't.
Q: It has been said that for quite some time you didn't even acknowledge your role as Superboy in your acting portfolio. Is this true? If so, why?
A: My agents felt I had outgrown the "Superboy" image and since I had many other credits they felt it best removed. This is very common in the acting business. It has since been restored onto the resume. It may be deleted someday soon, who knows?
Q: Do you ever get on the Internet to read what fans say about you and "Superboy"?
A: I'd be afraid to read it!!!!!
Q: Have you ever met Gerard Christopher (who took over your role as Superboy for the remainder of the "Superboy" TV series)? Any hard feelings between the two of you?
A: Never met him and I certainly have no hard feelings.
Q: What did you think of Gerard Christopher's portrayal of Superboy?
A: I honestly only caught a couple minutes one time. Not enough to judge his performance. I really enjoyed Dean Cain's portrayal, though.
Q: Do you know if a "Superboy" DVD will ever be released?
A: I have no idea.
A few "off topic" questions:
Q: What is the best advice anybody ever gave you?
A: Suffering is only in the mind. Drop the story of whatever you are suffering about, and the suffering is gone. (Be here now).
Q: Who would you most like to sit next to on a long airplane flight?
A: Bill Shakespeare
Q: Who would you least like to sit next to on an airplane flight?
A: Chris Rock
Q: What is the one thing you can't live without?
A: There isn't anything I can't live without. (Except oxygen) I practice a life of non-attatchment.
Q: If you were down to your last $10 how would you spend it?
A: I would give it to someone who needed it more.
Q: Thanks for allowing the Superman Homepage to interview you!
A: Thank you for your thoughtful questions.