Monday, June 13, 2011

2011 Superman Celebration - Celebrity Q&A Session Recap - Brandon Routh, Sam Huntington, & Alaina Huffman - June 11, 2011

Metropolis, Illinois was once again filled up with Superman fans from all around the world. If you wanted proof of that, the visual was in the "where are you from" map in the middle of the street. That is always impressive to check out. There was the usual. The heat, pop up storms in the area, and great fun. One thing that I love about the Celebration is seeing a lot of the same fans every year. There are people that I don't even know personally but know their faces. It is just a great community of fans that attend every year and you can see the friendships and bonds that have been formed over the years with ties to this event. Saturday was the usual big day with the big crowd. Celebrities in attendance. A big Superman Returns feel to the Celebration this year with Brandon Routh (Superman) and Sam Huntington (Jimmy Olsen) being there. We also had a tie to Smallville with Alaina Huffman (Black Canary) in attendance. Over in Artist Alley was Mark Pillow (Nuclear Man from Superman IV) and Tracey Roberts Lewis (Darla from Superboy). I attended several of the events over the weekend.

Saturday had the big packed tent of fans waiting for the Celebrity Q&A session which included Routh, Huntington, and Huffman. The Q&A session had to be cut down a bit due to the autograph sessions running long. What we got though was a lot of fun. They were having a lot of fun up on the stage including Sam getting a shot of the crowd on his phone with a big smile on his face. Routh also got a shot with his phone too. It must be a wild visual from up there to see that many fans crammed in that tent. It's quite a visual being in it. So, I'll get to the highlights of the Q&A. Sam was having a tough time getting into town and was running a little late. Happy that he got to join in on the Q&A. This is not a full recap but portions of it.

Each were asked about their getting the roles. Alaina was asked specifically, did you have any prior knowledge of the character of Black Canary before you got the role?

Alaina: "No, in fact when I auditioned, it was like any other audition. You just sort of go in with a little bit of knowledge. They called me and said that I had the job but wouldn't tell me what the character was because it was top secret. They finally told me and I didn't know who Black Canary was. I googled her and was like 'I have to wear that'. They custom made the costume. It was awesome. I love her. It's a great character."

For Sam: Did you look back at the others that played the role of Jimmy?
"Yes, I was very familiar with Marc McClure's portrayal. We met Jack Larson and just a sweet, sweet man. I just tried to take as much of myself into the role. I felt like I was made to play it. I lucked out and got the job which rarely happens."

For Brandon:
(on getting the role) "Took six or seven months. First initial inkling of the movie, I had just auditioned for another TV show. Producer saw me and thought I had a good look for Superman which he was doing. Finally, I got the role. I screen tested once for McG along with five other guys. When news came along that he was no longer on the project, it seemed like it was falling away and for it to be that close was heartbreaking. A month later it was resurrected by Bryan Singer thankfully and here we are. A lot of people were rooting for me and my family and such and you don't want to disappoint anybody with that buildup. I was in the producer's office waiting on that call to finalize it. I called my mom and told her and she screamed."

What was it like putting the suit on for the first time?
Brandon: "I wore another version of the suit before the Superman Returns suit. I wore the McG suit. So, that was really my first time in the Superman suit. That was bizarre because it was a very plasticly prototype and they really rushed it. I just put it on and they left me. I'm just left standing in a room thinking 'ok' what do we do now? So, I sat down and picked up a magazine. Sitting there with my legs crossed reading thinking this is the strangest thing in the world. So, it was a little shocking."

Differences in the suit?
Brandon: "They were dramatic. That suit was just really a prototype. Material didn't really move and was crunchy and weird. What I ended up in was spandex and much more breathable. The flying was really challenging cause I had a harness on. The harness and everything else made the suit kind of a whole rubber band. Flying horizontal and having to raise your arm and having all the full weight of the suit stretched against you was a bit of a challenge but all part of the job."

Challenge of Alaina's costume:
Alaina: "The challenge of my costume is that my heels always get stuck in my fish nets when I fight. It's very odd cause you're in the middle of a spin kick and say, umm, we've got to cut. My heel's caught. They didn't do the bustier. They did a tank top so it was a lot more comfortable for me. We shoot in Canada and it's very cold in the winter in fish nets."

Stunt work for Alaina:
Alaina: "With Smallville, they do tons of stunts, tons of wire work, tons of effects and it's built into the schedule every week. The stunt team is very great about trying to get you to do stuff. They'll walk up to you in the middle of rehearsal and say 'hey do you want to learn how to throw knives' and you're like 'yeah!' . We're going to do some flips and wire work. You'll just go into the corner and get hooked up to some harnesses and wires and be thrown around by about five guys. It's a lot of fun. It's a little challenging. I do have a stunt double. So, all the fancy stuff is usually not me. I usually initiate a lot of it and then they go in with my stunt double and make it all look really pretty."

Not leaving Sam out of the conversation. Costume trouble for the tie for Sam?
Sam: "They tied it for me or it would have looked like spaghetti on my face and it would have looked terrible. It was so interesting though cause they were so anal about it. Bryan was very specific about it wanting it to be an actual bow tie. It's actually the one thing that I kept from the movie.....I stole it......stay in school. Not much restriction. It was very breathable. My fighting was minimal. (laughs)."

What was your most challenging role and why?
Alaina: "Challenging as far as character. Black Canary cause of all the physical aspects. In Smallville, she was never really introduced and there was no mythology and it was sort of hinted at that she was part of the Justice League and that she and Ollie had this relationship. It never really filtered through. So, we had to play on that but not. And then Stargate. Just because it was my longest run on a TV show. The challenge in that was getting the Atlantis fans to like us. (laughs). It's still challenging."
Brandon: "Superman. Absolutely hands down. Not only did I have to learn to fake fly and all the process of that but to look like I was actually flying. And to uphold an amazing legacy."
Sam: "I'm on a TV show right now called Being Human. It's really hard. It's awesome because at the end of the day I love the show. I think that all the hard work is warranted. Grueling makeup. Really long hours. The role itself is very dynamic and different, awkward, and at the same time extremely fun. I'm being challenged right now in that role and having a blast doing it."

Brandon talks about a tough scene where he was getting beaten down in Superman Returns.
Brandon: "What hurt about that scene was that we did that and I'm sloshing around in the water. That water was so cold. It was a traumatic scene cause I'm getting my butt whooped and we had to do it about eight times. Being submerged in water and choking and acting like I'm getting killed. So, that was a tough scene. That was one of the hardest scenes."

Was there a learning curve on the wire?
Brandon: "Yeah, I had a great movement coach. Terry Notary. He worked with Cirque Du Soleil and did the previous Planet of the Apes and other movies that involved specific movement. We worked a long time on creating the choreography for different moves and giving them names and using my swimming background cause I really felt it added a fluent motion to the flight. Once we did that, I could feel when I was in the right position and my body was straight."

Brandon talks about likeness of wax in Madame Tussauds.
Brandon: "That was a strange process. I went to this hotel and you stand on this circular thing and they take these minute measurements. It was about six months after the movie and after I had got done with the movie, I didn't really want to work out. I was kind of embarrassed that they're measuring me and I'm thinking this is not really as good as the movie but that was all right. It was cool."

Sam talks about seeing Brandon in the Superman suit for the first time.
Sam: "It was terrible. It was like seeing Santa Clause. Except cooler and thinner. (joking). We had adjoining dressing rooms. His actual room that he got in the suit in was a separate room that he had. It was like right next to my room. I was totally geeking out about wanting to see him in the suit. One day I was sitting in there and he just walks in and I literally teared up and choked up. I just couldn't breathe. It was pretty amazing in all seriousness. Also when he put the suit on, it was like he became Superman. He's Brandon but when he put the suit on, he became almost regal, spiritual, it's bizarre. You were God like. (looking at Brandon)."
Alaina: "I can relate. The first episode that I did in season seven and there was this big fight in the Luthor mansion. It was Lex, Green Arrow, and Me and Clark. I was thinking this is awesome. It was a like a comic book and I'm not a traditional comic book fan."

What are your next projects?
Alaina: "I just got an offer to do Alpha, the new SyFy show. I've actually passed on almost everything that has passed my way this year and I've been beginning to regret it and thinking what did I do? I'm looking for the next right show or project, not just the next one. Yeah, they just called me yesterday when I was on my layover in Chicago. It looks like I'll be going on Monday to shoot an episode of that."
Sam: "With any show, they lock you in for seven years if you're lucky to get seven years of a show. We're just about to start shooting again in July. I have a month to get skinny. You can all see me naked again. Most of you are not wanting to see that. (laughs)"
Brandon: "I like to take a break. I have a new movie called Miss Nobody on Netflix right now that I filmed a long time ago. It's a dark comedy and not necessarily a family movie but it's not that bad. I am doing this film called Crooked Arrows in the Boston area and it's kind of like the Mighty Ducks except with Lacrosse. I don't play Lacrosse so I'm getting a crash course. I play the coach. I'm excited to bring it to America."

When asked about doing theater, Sam really pushed for doing it and I loved what he had to say about it:
Sam: "I think it is the most important thing that you can do as a young aspiring actor to throw yourself on stage. It is literally conquering every fear that you could possibly have and get knowledge on whether you are are good at it or not. (laughs). Cause you live or die. You learn so much. Still one of my most favorite things that I've ever done. I would love to get back into theater. Everyone should do it."

The Q&A ended with a fan really pushing Brandon Routh as the heart of Superman Returns movie. It was a great finish to the Q&A and got a big ovation from the crowd.

A really fun Q&A and they had a lot of fun up there. Tracey Roberts Lewis was signing autographs along with Mark Pillow over in Artist's Alley and Writer's Way. Big crowd over there and a lot of great things going on over there. I highly recommend checking it out and seeing the great and talented people over there. I got to meet and talk to Jeffrey Breslauer last year and it was great to see him back. A really talented guy and a pleasure to talk to.

It was a fun Superman Celebration. It looks like everyone had a great time as usual. How long till next year??

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