Brandon Routh and Sam Huntington met on the set of Superman Returns and have since become friends. It shows in their latest film Dylan Dog: Dead of Night. The two have chemistry together, and Routh’s more dry and reserved style works well against Huntington’s energy. It also shows in person – when talking the two bounce off each other in telling ways. They’re having fun, and it shows. Check out our interview…
When it comes to Dylan Dog, there’s Cemetery Man - which has little bearing on this film – and the comic books. But what kind of research did you guys do on this stuff?
Brandon Routh: I read the english translations of Dylan Dog – there’s only six. I had a friend who grew up reading Dylan Dog because he grew up in Italy so I got the down-low from him about Dylan, and I looked through some of his Italian comics.
Sam Huntington: I didn’t because the character was brand new and also it was pretty clear what was going on with him. How I played him pre-zombie informed who he was as a zombie. It was pretty cut-and-dry. And also we created a lot on set. A lot of it was going to the scene and we discovered a lot of fun stuff and new stuff.
Brandon, your character also seems very much taken from film noir, like Sam Spade or Rick Deckard in Blade Runner. Did you watch any film noir? Did you think about the detective genre?
BR: I thought about it in that way. Kevin and I discussed that and he actually loaned me a recent detective novel which got me in the zone for what he was looking for. And I think the script was already written well in that respect, then there’s the voice over – which adds another level of that. That was fun because thinking about the film in that way really helped set a tone for who Dylan was at the beginning of the movie. He’s caged himself at the beginning and as it progresses he opens up the doors a little bit more and sees more of the world. So the film noir aspect goes away but also shifts, especially when he lets a friend into his life because he wasn’t really letting Marcus in before.
Not that you guys would know, but comic book fans can be very passionate. Do you have any worries taking on a project like this?
BR: Sure, but having played the past characters that I did, I feel like I’ve escaped the burning at the pyre after having played Superman so I felt that I could get away with a lesser known…
SH: Obscure Italian comic book.
BR: Also, Dylan has never really been brought to most audiences. There’s Cemetery Man - which not many people have seen – and this is the first time anyone has seen Dylan living and breathing. So I felt that I had leeway. It didn’t make me have any sleepless nights.
SH: I lost a lot of sleep but for me it was fine.
Did you guys know each other before Superman Returns? Obviously, you guys are friends.
SH: Not really. We were neighbors living in the same kind of apartment complex for a while before we got in the movie. We played basketball one time but that was the extent of it. And then we met on Superman and I fell in love.
BR: Yeah, mutual.
What was your favorite scene between the two of you in Dylan Dog?
BR: My favorite scene is…
SH: I liked the crypt one, I don’t know why.
BR: You’re great. That was a weird day for me.
SH: Was it?
BR: Yeah, I don’t remember why. I think it’s because I don’t say very much so I felt weird that I wasn’t saying anything, just listening to you freak out.
SH: Maybe that’s why I like it. But maybe that’s why it’s good for me because that’s kind of who our characters are. You are silently watching me panic.
BR: I really enjoy the first time you see us together. Also, where I shoot him.
How was New Orleans?
SH: It was another character in the film. We were going to shoot in New York, Detroit and Montreal and we landed in New Orleans and it’s kind of an accident that happened.
BR: A lot of cool sets–things that changed in the script because they found locations that were just too perfect. The scene in the power plant – the fight with the big tattooed zombie – his lair was supposed to be a boat house, a swamp thing.
SH: That’s right!
BR: The swamp was going to be challenging to shoot, but they ended up finding this location, and it ended up being a really cool fight.
SH: They re-wrote it to the swamp when they switched the location to New Orleans and that turned out not to be feasible so they changed it to the power plant which was the coolest-looking place ever outside and in …
BR: They shot some other horror movies over there. I don’t remember which.
SH: Makes sense, that place is terrifying.
Once you accept the fact that you’re dealing with the supernatural you change your uniform. Was there anything special about it for the character?
BR: Well, I think one of the things about Dylan is that he’s thoughtful but he doesn’t like change – in the comics he wears the same thing. That’s what he feels safe in, because he lives in a world that’s unsafe. He’s dealing with the undead and the human relation between the two, so it’s important for him to have something that stays the same. And so the uniform, the outfit he wears is that. It also might be a reminder to him of his job. This is what I put on when I put this job and it’s really kind of a visual reminder of just down that path.
SH: It’s like a uniform.
BR: He becomes this person.
The director was talking about how the character was superstitious, but that was mostly removed. Was that removed when you were shooting?
BR: Towards the end. There was a lot of stuff in the script. And then there was this dispute that occurred during the last few days of shooting. Somebody was saying that Dylan wasn’t superstitious but then… he is. I was confused because I didn’t know what to believe. It added a great element to the character. You can’t even see it now because it’s been cut, but I have this key ring with a rabbit’s foot. I’m flipping it when I walk out of scenes. This guy has seen all of these things, so it adds another layer if he is superstitious. And it’s cool to explore the myth behind them – you walk under a ladder and that’s actually bad luck. In the movie I break a mirror, I throw the chair into the mirror which was a character moment too. He causes himself seven years bad luck, but when Marcus departs it becomes an important little character moment. But the movie works and the character works without it.
SH: I like that idea: it’s not just that supernatural beings are hidden from the world, it’s also that the superstitious things are real.
How would you compare working with Taye Diggs to Peter Stomarre?
BR: Taye is more reserved and Peter was more gregarious.
BR: He’s fantastic. He encompassed the character Wolfgang – where Taye was more subdued in his performance as Vargas, which is cool because that’s the difference between a vampire and a werewolf.
SH: Taye’s also the most even-tempered, wonderful guy. The sweetest. The character he plays within his quiet moments – that’s when he’s being really sinister. That’s who he is, only he’s awesome. Stomarre is just a free spirit. He’s just really loud, just everything you wanted him to be. I’ve always looked up to Peter Stromare and he’s one of the most talented character actors out there. I was so thrilled to get a chance to work with him and he was super outgoing, he wanted to talk and engage, and always wearing tracksuits. He was my type of guy. They were both my types of guys in very different ways.
You had a very subtle make-up job other than the missing arm.
SH: I wasn’t actually missing an arm, believe it or not.
Because it’s subtle, how was it?
SH: It was a piece of cake. Honestly I didn’t have to do anything. I wore a hat throughout most of the movie so I didn’t have to do anything with my hair. All they did was paint my face and they did a beautiful job with it, they did some really amazing shading and really drew me out and make me look gaunt, thin, and pale. Just all things I wouldn’t even thought about…
BR: Better basically.
SH: Better! The funny thing is that I watched the movie and said “I look pretty good” because I look skinny. I look thin and I said “Oh, there are my cheekbones! See, I promise they’re there, you just need to fill them in with some fucking paint guys, do it!”
You’re going to do the cleanse now?
BR: The zombie cleanse.
SH: No, it hasn’t inspired any kind of health at all. The show that I have to be naked for has inspired me to drop some weight.
What are you getting naked for?
SH: I’m actually doing a burlesque show in Vegas called “Pants Off.”
BR: Shirt on, pants off.
SH: Shirt on, pants off. My agent Steve hasn’t heard about this yet, but I’m sorry to break the news now. It’s just waist down so I’m sure they’ll be able to do something.
I’m sure it’ll be very empowering.
SH: It’ll be something. I don’t know what it’ll be, but it’ll be a paycheck, you know. Burlesque.
You’ve got rhythm, right? You can robot and stuff.
SH: I can’t dance. It’s just going to be me walking around the stage, sitting cross-legged. The uncrossing is the finale. It’s me sitting cross-legged for an hour and at the end I just kind of do this (spreads legs). And then I cross them the other way like Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct. That’s the show, curtain. Spoiler alert.
What’s your best and worst experience with comic book fans?
BR: Best and worst…
SH: Go worst first.
I don’t want to focus on the negative–
SH: No no no, but then you get to finish with the best.
BR: I don’t know if there really have been too many worsts because true fans are not worst, it’s the people that just want autographs for the sake of autographs or selling them that are the worst. The fans who want autographs are fine. What’s bad is when they’re really nervous – usually people get it together, but I feel bad in that scenario. The best is when you see little kids. One of the best times was when I was actually on set filming Superman and I was in the suit. There were some kids, but it was mainly adults that were nervous and shaking. It’s fun to have adults freaking out about it.
SH: Or your co-stars.
BR: Or Sam Hunington.
SH: Freaked out like a little girl.
In supermarkets and such do you get spotted and have kids point at you?
BR: It’s not really kids as much. Because I don’t have blue eyes and my hair’s different it’s sometime harder for kids to pick me out – it’s more teenagers and adults. And then I run from them.
Dylan Dog: Dead of Night opens April 29. Check it out…