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Interview: Tyler Hoechlin on Bringing a Different Side of the Man of Steel to the Screen in ‘Superman & Lois’

February 24, 2021Ben MK

He may be faster than a speeding bullet and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but is the Man of Steel up for the challenge of raising two teenage sons? That's the premise behind the CW's latest Arrowverse spinoff, Superman & Lois, which sees Tyler Hoechlin and Elizabeth Tulloch reprising their roles as Clark Kent and Lois Lane. And although the stakes may not seem nearly as high as what the pair faced in the multiple-series-spanning "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover event, make no mistake — there's still plenty for fans of the sprawling DC television universe to look forward to.

I caught up with Superman himself, Tyler Hoechlin, to chat about Superman & Lois and how the series sets itself apart from shows like Smallville and Lois and Clark, as well as to find out more about the ways viewers will connect with it, especially given our current pandemic.

The first episode of Superman & Lois gives us a different take on the Man of Steel, compared to what we've seen in the Arrowverse. What has it been like bringing this side of Superman to the screen, compared to your portrayal on shows like Supergirl and The Flash?

Hoechlin: It's been a lot of fun. I really enjoyed it. [Elizabeth] and I were saying that, with the pilot, what was great was feeling a sense of familiarity with these characters — cuz we have played them before — but also having that excitement of something new, because it is a completely different place in their lives. Their challenges are different, their struggles are different, their successes are different.

It's really, really fun when you get to play something that you've got an attachment to but you definitely have the opportunity to recreate. And with the story we're telling we get a lot more time to really breathe with these characters and see who they are in their more intimate moments.

Were you a fan of the comics growing up?

Hoechlin: I started acting when I was really young. I was eight when I started acting and I started playing baseball really competitively probably like around seven. Those two things took up a lot of my time, so I never really found comics when I was younger. But I've loved the world — my exposure to Comicon over the years now and other conventions — and seeing the fandom that comes from that. I love the appreciation for the characters, the dedication to them. There's such an awesome passion around it. And I love seeing how fans from all over the world come together at these things and immediately have a bond over these stories.

Do you have any favorite scenes or moments from filming the season so far?

Hoechlin: There's so many different layers to it. There's some moments that are just completely filled with levity and were a lot of fun to laugh at. And there's moments that are really heartfelt. So it's hard to pick exactly which one I enjoyed the most. But I will say playing the dad that embarrasses his kids has been a little too fun. [laughs] I understand why dads do it now — all those moments that my dad came up to friends and said something embarrassing.

It's a lot of fun to see Clark in this new element. But I would say a combination of that and those moments of really trying to connect with his children in a way that he hasn't been as successfully as he would like to be.

Of course, the legacy of Superman has been explored before in Smallville and Lois & Clark. How, in your opinion, is Superman & Lois going to differentiate itself from those shows?

Hoechlin: I made a really conscious decision when I knew I was going to play the role to stay away from watching the other stuff. I hadn't seen it before and I didn't want to be influenced by that. I do know that what separates us is the idea that we're not an origin story by any means. The focus of this is gonna be the family.

It's still gonna be Superman, where you're still gonna get those visual effects and those big set-pieces and action sequences, but it's not about him discovering who he is. It's [about] him figuring out how to help his children go through that same thing. They're the ones now who are discovering who they are and becoming young adults and figuring out where they fit into the world.

And how are you hoping fans will connect with the show, especially during this time of pandemic?

Hoechlin: This last year, with everything, there were so many things that I think all of us saw as so important that could never be taken away or never be postponed, no matter what. A lot of those things did get delayed, a lot of those things disappeared. And what we were left with was the closest relationships that we have. Whether it's the family that you're born into or the family that you choose to have, those relationships are the one thing that don't go anywhere. They're there, [but] if you neglect them then they do disappear.

And that's really where we have to take a good hard look at what we're prioritizing. What is most important to us? Cuz at the end of the day, some of the things that we prioritize can disappear on their own, no matter how much attention we pay to them. So I think focusing on the family and those relationships are an important thing to speak to right now.

Last but not least, if you could have any of Superman's powers in real life, which one(s) would they be?

Hoechlin: My easy answer's always flight. Being able to just take off and get somewhere. I love to travel and to see the world and meet people from different parts of the world. I just find it to be one of the most incredible blessings that I've been lucky enough to enjoy it over my life.

Superman & Lois airs Tuesdays at 9 PM Eastern on the CW Network and CTV Sci-Fi Channel.

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