Tonight, Teen Wolf and Everybody Wants Some!! actor Tyler Hoechlin returns to The CW's Supergirl to reprise his role as Superman/Clark Kent -- just in time for the second season finale that pits his cousin Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) against Daxamite queen Rhea (Teri Hatcher).
In his surprise appearance last week as Rhea's seemingly-brainwashed secret weapon, Hoechlin became the first actor since Dean Cain to appear in the iconic Superman costume alongside Hatcher -- and this week, audiences will see him come to blows with Supergirl -- another live-action first, but hardly something new to comic book readers.
ComicBook.com spoke with Hoechlin about bringing the Man of Steel back to the small screen -- and sharing it with the Lois Lane of his childhood.
Has your approach changed?
I don't think the approach changed at all. I think it was one of those things where we felt really confident about what we wanted to do with hte character, especially in this version and this world that we were throwing them into. It's one of those things where you have to take a swing and hope that it works, and it's nice to see that people responded to it in the way that we hoped they would.
I think going back, it was just going in the same way. I think that's what's nice about when you don't try to force something that's not coming naturally, is that when you go back to do it again, you don't have to say "how did we manipulate that?" No, it's just something that naturally felt right with this character and so you go back into it and even though it's eight, nine months later, it's easy to fall back into it because you know what it is without having to really be too contrived about it.
You get to be dark and angry Superman this time. When you looked at the script, were you like "oh, man, there's a lot of that going around?"
I'm not sure I can say for how long or how much of it he's dark and angry, but reading the scripts and seeing that right away was a nice surprise. You see a new side of him, and it's something fun and new to play with, and I was as eager to see where it went in the rest of the episode is as the audience hopefully is after getting a little tease of it last week.
You were the first person since Dean Cain to appear onscreen next to Teri Hatcher as Superman. Was that cool?
Yeah. It was great. Lois and Clark was the Superman that I grew up with. Teri was Lois Lane; that's how I knew her. So it was definitely a surreal way for me to be on set with her in that capacity. And I met her in the suit, that was the first time we had met, so that was really fun.
In the premiere, you did kind of a "goodwill tour" as Superman and got to do a scene with almost everybody. Did that help you, coming into the chaos of the finale?
The cast is so great, and it's such a great group of people, that coming back, it was really like going back to a set that I felt like I'd spent six months on as opposed to just a couple of weeks. They have so much fun up there. It was nice and it felt very familiar right away. It's always a nice thing when I can step onto a set and feel at home.
Is it odd at all being a character who looms so large, but being a supporting character in somebody else's story?
Yeah, but I see him in that way in this show. He's there, and to me, that's not even his personality or his point-of-view on it as the character. I think he takes the responsibility of having to do things on his own when he has to and when that's the only option, but to work as a team and to come in and find where you can contribute, that's part of being a good leader as well, is knowing when to step back and let someone else lead and find out where you can serve best.
That was one of the things that made the first few episodes so fun, was finding out how he's there to support her, to be a part of the team, and it's just as fun to play with in the second one.
Did they send you the usual pile of comics to look through, or when you're Superman, to they figure you probably know who that guy is?
No, I think they probably assume that you know who he is. I didn't get a syllabus or any assigned reading or anything, but outside of stuff I already was familiar with, I did my homework.
In Everybody Wants Some!!, you played McReynolds, who was a character who was kind of an easy leader and somebody who everyone else took their cues from. Is that a weird parallel to draw?
I think it's in very different ways. Clark and Superman are always trying to be that, not only because that's who they are but also for someone else: they want to make someone else smile, they want to make someone else happy. McReynolds I think was always more in it for himself; he was just always very happy with his life and himself. I could see the parallel there, but I think it's innately different things that are bringing that out in them.
A lot has been made about the idea of a Superman who has baggage and experience and a reputation, and who is kind of the heroic ideal that comic book readers know him as. Is there any particular thing that you did to differentiate that version of Superman from other superhero origin stories?0comments
To be honest, I was afraid to admit this at a certain point when I first took this job, but Lois and Clark was the Superman that I knew. I wasn't really familiar with the rest of the Superman stuff, and once I knew I was going ot do this, the last thing I wanted to do was to go back and watch them because I didn't want to pick out anything to be like "Oh, I want to do that." I never wanted to have that in th eback of my head. If there's an idea that I feel is right to this character, I wanted it to be if someone said "well, that's really similar to what he did," and for me to say "Well, great. I can honestly tell you that's unintentional because I haven't seen it."
I think it was just having a strong outlook on who Andrew and Greg and I had talked in our meeting -- what that character and what it looked like and how it felt. The hope was that he would be his own person in this world that we've set up for him.