Superman & Lois Star Explains His "Chill" Take on Superman

In Man of Steel, Henry Cavill brought an intensity to Superman that has rarely been seen onscreen before. Even in Smallville, the teen angst angle made Tom Welling just about as moody and broody as Brandon Routh was in Superman Returns. As a result, the smiling and relatively relaxed Superman played by Tyler Hoechlin on Supergirl and its spinoff Superman & Lois has drawn a lot of comparisons to Christopher Reeve's take on the characters. Hoechlin, who hasn't seen the Reeve films since he was a kid and did not watch any other Superman portrayals ahead of taking the job, says there's a reason behind his Superman's cool demeanor.

His reasoning ties to something Clark does on Superman & Lois: coaching. As a former baseball player, Hoechlin uses a sports analogy that gets to the heart of why his Superman seems less intense than other recent takes.

"There's something to be said about the fact that this isn't an origin story for him," Hoechlin explained. "He's been doing this for a long time at this point. And I think that there's a comfort there. For me, it's always easier to equate things to sports. You see young coaches in basketball or something, and they're yelling, and they're screaming. Then you see them as they spend more time in the league, and they become...take a Phil Jackson example. There comes a point where you realize that screaming is really not necessarily helping. And so, you can kind of bring it down. You've been there before, and you know the situation. For me, there is a chill thing to this version of Superman, because he's been there, and he's seen it, he's done it." 

This, of course, makes the moments when Superman busts out the "angry heat vision eyes" even more dramatic, since it's such a departure from where Hoechlin seems to "live" in the character.

When things like in these episodes that come up that are actually worrisome, they're really worrisome," Hoechlin added. "Because for the most part, he's kind of seen it all before, and it's not anything new." 

He cited a recent example, when Superman attacked his half-brother Tal-Rho, after he put his hands on Jordan, Superman and Lois's son.

"You always hear mama bear, but I think anytime you see your child in danger, it snaps, and you go into full protective mode," Hoechlin explained. "I think it's important for those things to also be highlighted about him. I think it deepens his connection to being human and being relatable. Especifically with Superman, there are certain rules. And so, when all of a sudden there's a moment where it's like, 'Oh wow, you know what, for this split second, the rules bend just a little bit. They don't totally break, but they bend,' it's always something fun to play with."

You can watch a new episode of Superman & Lois, titled "The Thing in the Mines," tonight at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.