(KGET) — The DC Comics character of Superman has been depicted in numerous films and in television series such as “Adventures of Superman” and “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.” The one thing all of those productions had in common was that the Man of Steel has been portrayed in the same way – he is an All-American champion for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Where actors taking on the role have been able to put their own spin has been in how they depicted the glasses-wearing secret identity for Superman of Clark Kent. He’s been played with humor, dead seriousness and often with a bungling edge.
Tyler Hoechlin gets to put his touch on the character of Clark Kent in the new CW series “Superman & Lois” as he reprises the role of Superman he started playing in the CW series “Supergirl.”
Hoechlin took on the character knowing the Superman part of his job had been defined clearly over the years as a symbol of good. He felt a deep responsibility to continue playing him that way.
“But with Clark, there is more leeway with that. You can kind of find those little subtleties, those things that are a little bit more human about him,” Hoechlin says. “And it’s a little bit more flexible to kind of have some fun with it, because in a way he’s putting on a show when he’s Clark.
“So I’ve always kind of looked at it and really like, there’s five, at least five different versions of him. I played either Superman as the symbol and no one knows who he is, or when he’s closer to people and they know who he is. And then there’s a Clark Kent where they know he’s Superman, but right now he’s playing Clark. And then there’s the one in the center that I really don’t have a name for.”
Getting a handle on how to play Clark Kent was new for the California native as the vast majority of time he played the character before, Hoechlin was playing Superman. The new series changes that as Clark and Lois Lane (Elizabeth Tulloch) have married and have two sons – Jonathan (Jordan Elsass) and Jordan (Alexander Garfin).
The pair have decided to look for a more normal life in Smallville after years of facing megalomaniacal supervillains and creatures causing chaos in Metropolis. Life on the farm isn’t easy as Clark and Lois must also concern themselves with whether or not their sons could inherit their father’s Kryptonian superpowers as they grow older.
Toss in most of the people in Smallville being in financial trouble, having to deal with an ex-girlfriend in Lana Lang (Emmanuelle Chriqui) and the meddling dad of Lois (Dylan Walsh) and suddenly facing Lex Luthor doesn’t seem so daunting.
Playing the father of two teenage boys has not been easy for Hoechlin as he doesn’t have any children of his own. He had to look at other aspects of his own life to be able to play the father figure.
“I’ve really been able to pull from my older brother and sister. They’ve got between the two of them, six kids. And so, I’ve got six great nieces and nephews that I’ve been able to at least be around in that capacity,” Hoechlin says. “And really more than anything, it’s really just taking from my dad. My dad made a real conscious effort to – even being an emergency room doc and working crazy hours – always being around as much as possible and making it to all our baseball games and things like that.
“So he’s very present in my life. Still is. And so I take a lot from him. That’s really been my inspiration for the dad stuff. And, hopefully, Clark can find a way to be like half the dad my dad was. So hopefully that will find a way into the show.”
Hoechlin quickly adds that his mother was also a major influence on him as she helped him chase a career in sports and then as an actor. He knows his parents will never be honored for the hard work and sacrifices they made but he believes they should be recognized for what they did.
The kind of parents he and Tulloch are playing as Clark and Lois is one way he can pay tribute to his parents and all parents.
If his life plans had not changed, Hoechlin would have never had the opportunity to play Superman and Clark Kent. He was a standout baseball player in college and was working toward a career in sports. An injury slowed his playing time and he began to go on acting auditions.
Hoechlin eventually landed roles in such films as “Road to Perdition,” “Fifty Shades Freed” and “Palm Springs.” His TV credits include “Teen Wolf” and “Another Life.”
“Superman & Lois” launches with a two-hour debut starting at 8 p.m. Feb. 23. It will then be broadcast at 9 p.m. Tuesdays.