Brandon Routh, who played Superman in 2006’s Superman Returns, has revealed that while his experience on the movie was not exactly what he hoped for, but reprising his role as Superman for The CW’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover was totally vindicating.
Brandon Routh played Superman in 2006’s Superman Returns!
2006 saw Routh starring as Kal-El/Superman in Superman Returns, which was an homage sequel to 1978’s Superman: The Movie and 1980’s Superman II. Both the films starred Christopher Reeve in the lead role. While the film earned a respectable $391.1 million at the global box office and was met with positive reception, but wasn’t quite the career boost that Brandon Routh expected, with the planned sequel never coming to life.
Two years back, Routh was given the chance to play Superman once again in “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” which aired on The CW in 2019-2020. In the crossover, Routh’s Superman sports the iconic alternate outfit Superman donned in Alex Ross and Mark Waid’s acclaimed Elseworlds series Kingdom Come. Meanwhile, Routh had already joined the Arrowverse as yet another DC character: Ray Palmer, also known as The Atom.
Brandon Routh On Reprising His Role In Crisis on Infinite Earths
While appearing on Smallville alum Michael Rosenbaum’s podcast Inside of You, Routh was asked if he got emotional while donning the Superman suit again. “Oh, for sure. Absolutely,” Routh replied. “Thank goodness, also because… the first time was such a… so much pressure, that I was trying not to look at and also couldn’t even conceive of. I was like, ‘Oh, I’m gonna do this… and I’m gonna appreciate the next one… relax into the next one. I just have to kind of get through this…’ I didn’t have the awareness that I have now.”
Routh went on to explain that he had “a lot of gratitude for having the opportunity to do this again, for all the parties that made it possible. I’ve told this story before, but the first day that I came on the set, I was shooting the Batwoman episode… it was the first time I was appearing as Superman in it. And I just was… I thought, ‘I’ve already done it… Even if this was the only scene I’m doing,’ the emotional wound or scar that was left by my experience on Superman Returns was mostly healed.”
He went on, “Because all the lead-up to that — the costume fitting… the wonderful, warm fan reaction, people were excited and appreciated having me return to the character — was validating and healing in so many ways that being there… was the most magical of times. And I was able to kind of relax and appreciate the rest of the experience from that moment… There was nothing more to prove.” According to Routh, having not played Superman for so long and sill being “thought of, I guess highly enough to reprise, even for that little bit, was a validation I didn’t know that I needed, I guess. It was very healing.”
Routh was then asked if he was given any new direction for his Superman portrayal, of if he was told to play the character just like he did the first time. “No, there was definitely… some considerations to be made,” Routh replied. “He is the same character, but he’s gone through a lot since Superman Returns, having lost Lois Lane, and a lot of his other friends killed by the Joker. We were kind of mixing Kingdom Come storyline with the Superman Returns backstory… It’s a different, older, more mature Superman and Clark, Kal-El. Then you had to play the angry, possessed Superman, which was not something I’d ever done before, so I had to tap into that and ground that. So, there were definitely some challenges to be had and tweaks to the character.” Routh says having become a father and generally matured in his own life since Superman Returns helped with the process. “I was eager to bring that wisdom to the character.”