SDCC 2016: 'Supergirl' Star Tyler Hoechlin Talks Landing Iconic Role of Superman, How He's Approaching It & More!

Nora Dominick ’17/ Emertainment Monthly Co-Executive Stage Editor
The Man of Steel is touching down on Supergirl this season and fans couldn’t be more excited. Earlier this summer, Supergirl announced that Teen Wolf alum Tyler Hoechlin would be joining the cast in the coveted role of Superman.
In season one of Supergirl, Superman was only seen as a small child, through text messages with Kara (Melissa Benoist) or leaping down onto the streets of National City. Now that Supergirl has well established that this is a show about Supergirl, it’s time Superman made an appearance.
At SDCC 2016, Supergirl star Tyler Hoechlin swung by to tell us how he got the role of Superman, what he will bring to the iconic role and much more!
Tyler Hoechlin is no stranger to playing fan favorite roles. For years he played the fan favorite role of Derek Hale on Teen Wolf. Now, after several years away from the werewolf role that defined his career, Hoechlin is ready to make his mark as Superman on Supergirl.
When chatting with us at SDCC and being greeted as “Superman” Hoechlin reacted with a big smile. You can tell he can’t wait to step into the role. He says it’s “surreal” to think about. He continues saying, “It still hasn’t fully sunk in yet, I don’t think. It will be fun to actually get up onto the sets. I think being in the environment and being surrounded by the sets.” He jokingly adds, “And everyone else around you is treating you like Superman, that’ll be the whole kind of ‘Oh, this is happening.'”
Although yesterday a photo was released of Hoechlin and Benoist suited up as Superman and Supergirl, when we spoke to Hoechlin at SDCC he said he hadn’t tried the suit on yet. Something that has clearly changed. He says putting the suit on for the first time will make all of this “feel a bit more real.”

An obvious question posed to Hoechlin at SDCC, what was the audition process like for landing the role? How do you suddenly become Superman. Hoechlin spoke about being cast saying, “I don’t know why they were so nice to me about this. This was like one of the easiest experiences I’ve had as far as getting a job.” He continues saying, “I had a great meeting with Greg Berlanti and we had kind of a common love for certain things about the character. Different things about his personality and what makes him, him. You know, the responsibilities he has and that stuff. We just kind of hit it off about that and there was that meeting and that was it. So, I got a call a couple of days later saying we are gonna go forward and I was like, ‘SWEET! Awesome!'”

Hoechlin shares the story of when he got the call that he would be taking on the role. He says, “I was driving in the car when I got the call and my little brother was like, ‘So… you’re playing Superman?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah! I guess I am.’ That’s so weird. It’s never a sentence you really think about very often. So, it’s still hitting me.”

This is Hoechlin’s first major TV role since playing Derek on Teen Wolf for several seasons. When asked if he’s approaching this role in a similar fashion, he jokes saying the “workout routine and diet has been similar for sure. Back to that. A good couple of years away from it to kind of relax, but yeah, back to that.”

Hoechlin says he isn’t approaching this character any differently. He says, “As far as the character, I’m approaching it the way I do any other character. Thinking about Superman, Superman is a symbol, the suit represents that and what he stands for, but for me I’m just trying to treat it like, ‘Well, that’s the suit he wears to work.’ It’s what anyone else does. So, he does what he does and that’s what he wears.” He continues saying, “So, I’m trying to find who the guy is, what makes him tick. The way he responds to different people, things like that. That’s more of the focus I think for me.”

Melissa Benoist and Tyler Hoechlin as Supergirl and Superman. Photo Credit: The CW; Warner Bros. TV
Melissa Benoist and Tyler Hoechlin as Supergirl and Superman. Photo Credit: The CW; Warner Bros. TV

If you’re a superhero fan, everyone remember their first experience with Superman whether it be on TV, in movies or in comic books. Hoechlin discusses his journey with the iconic character saying, “I watched Dean Cain on Lois & Clark all the time! He’s such an iconic symbol of just American culture, World culture really now. It’s very surreal to think about.”

One important aspect to the character of Superman is also playing the role of Clark Kent, something Hoechlin is looking forward to exploring. He says, “I think it’s like anybody. Different social settings or situations, you kind of have different parts of your personality that stand out a little bit more. Just finding the differences in that.” He continues saying, “Just finding out which parts of him come out more when he’s Superman and which parts come out more when he’s Clark. It will be a fun thing to play with for sure.”

A question Hoechlin can expect to get a lot while on Supergirl, has he spoken to then current film version of Superman, Henry Cavill. “I have not had any conversations with Henry, no. I have a bunch of friends that just finished working with him, but I haven’t talked to him yet.” Hoechlin does hope he gets to chat with Cavill soon.

Although Hoechlin and Cavill have yet to connect there is a Superman a little closer to home. “I ran into Brandon Routh the other night at a party, so that was like a weird like ‘Oh hey! Yeah, cool! You get it!'”

Hoechlin also talked about comparing and contrasting his version of Superman vs. the darker Superman Cavill portrays in the current films. Hoechlin says, “I think the tone of the show seems to be very different. Obviously the latest one’s [movies] have been a little darker and a little heavier. This one is so full of light and hope and optimism.” He continues saying, “Especially with things going on lately, I’m actually really excited that this show takes that tone. It does offer that kind of an outlet. There’s enough negative stuff on TV and in movies. I’m not going to lie, I enjoy doing those films and telling those stories as well, but it’s nice to be part of something that’s very uplifting and hopeful.”

Catch Tyler Hoechlin on Supergirl Monday’s this fall on The CW.

Supergirl season 2 premieres October 10th at 8/7c on The CW.

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