Though it may be a while before we see Superman on the big screen again, the Man of Steel is currently thriving on TV with the series Superman & Lois, starring Tyler Hoechlin and Elizabeth ‘Bitsie’ Tulloch as the title characters respectively. At Toronto’s Fan Expo convention, the two spoke in a panel about the roles they’ve had in the CW Arrowverse crossovers, the two seasons of the show and teased the upcoming third season.
For playing such iconic characters who have existed for over 80 years now, both Hoechlin and Tulloch weren’t very familiar with much beyond the basics of the source material. Hoechlin even admitted he was more of a Batman fan growing up, but after gaining the role of Superman he avoided watching any of the older Superman films and TV series to make the role his own.
“The way my mind works and the way I work as an actor it’s way easier for me not to have a reference so I’m not either tempted to try to emulate something somebody else did that was great or feel like I can’t do something because it’s too close to what they did. For me, if I do something and it’s similar to what someone else did that’s a coincidence. If it’s completely different that’s its own thing as well, it’s not intentional, I’m just doing my interpretation of the character.” He went on to speak about Superman’s perceived lack of relatability, a common criticism many who are unfamiliar with the character have due to his strength and vast amount of powers. Hoechlin, however, cited Superman’s strength of character rather than his powers as to his large appeal.
“I don’t know why the good guy gets labelled ‘boring’ a lot,” Hoechlin said. “There’s a tendency to do that. For me, how many people do you know who consistently choose to do what they think is right? Like always, without question. That’s not a boring character to me. I think it’s interesting to see someone consistently do that no matter what the stakes are. When there is a moral dilemma that’s what’s interesting for him because you get to see what he chooses. I don’t find him boring in the least. I think it’s finding ways that those beliefs and values he has, his optimism, the hope that he has, the eternal hope, to see that stressed all the time and never see him falter, that’s inspiring to see someone maintain that no matter what the circumstances. That’s its own challenge.”
Tulloch, meanwhile, focused on Lois’ significance as a hard-hitting journalist who always strives for the truth. “I think Lois is a very powerful, very ambitious, very driven, uncompromising character. I was very cognizant of the fact that when I started playing this role in particular the political climate worldwide, not just in the US, journalists were under fire. It felt like it was more important than ever.”
One aspect that greatly sets Superman & Lois apart from other series like Smallville and Lois & Clark is that not only is this a very seasoned Superman and he and Lois are already married, but they are parents to two teenaged boys who have to deal with the weight of their father being the greatest hero in the world and one of them inheriting his Kryptonian powers. “I just personally feel grateful we get to be parents because the amount of depth and layers and places to go with that story, having teenagers, in my point of view is great. We have a lot of places to go,” Tulloch said.
“The family element is something that is really nice,” Hoechlin added. “I always like to say it’s fun doing our kids origin story, of them becoming people and who they are. It’s really fun for it not to be his origin story.”
On a question of who is the more dominant persona, Superman or Clark Kent, Hoechlin surmised it’s not a question of a balancing act between identities but rather which aspects of his character or values take the focus at any given moment. “I’ve never felt like one is more of a true identity than the other for him. I feel like it’s all equal parts. It’s very much who he is, just different versions of himself. I think people can relate to that too because you’ll feel a certain way around certain friend groups or different people. Different parts of you will come out more and come to life more. I think that’s how he is as well. Whatever he’s doing, whatever his focus is, that’s that part of him. People call him Superman, but to him he’s not Superman. I always got to look at him as ‘who is this guy?’ What does he believe in? Why is he who he is, why does he do what he does? That actually gave me a different path to finding who he was and made him a little more relatable to me that way.”
Neither Hoechlin or Tulloch could say very much about the third season, which has already begun production in Vancouver, but they did reveal they know what Clark and Lois are in for this season. “I read Season 3 Episode 1 on the plane last night. It’s great,” Tulloch said. “Tyler and I were saying this season might be the most exciting from our point of view because we’ve been given the general arc of this season and Lois’ particular storyline is like whoa! I did not have any idea they were going in that direction.”
On what they hope to see in the third season, the family dynamic between the Kents is one thing that will be a continued focus, but they were keeping silent about any potential new characters. One absent Kent family member did get a shout-out through: Krypto, the Kent family dog who also has powers like Superman’s and recently led his own animated feature film League of Super-Pets. Tulloch, however, admitted her love of animals would get in the way of getting anything done.
“That would be fun because then I’d have a say in picking out a cute little scruffy puppy! I would never get any work done. I worked with animals on Grimm, not a ton, but I did because Juliette was a veterinarian and I was extremely distracted. All the time!”
Do you like Superman & Lois‘ focus on who Clark Kent and Lois Lane are as people and parents? What do you hope for the series’ third season? Let us know on our social channels at @flickeringmyth…
Ricky Church – Follow me on Twitter for more movie news and nerd talk.