Superman gives, Routh has learned, and Superman takes away. Who knew, when Routh played the Man of Steel in Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns, that fans would split so divisively? (The 2006 movie grossed $391 million worldwide off strong reviews for a genre sequel. But it cost more than $232 million.) So the likelihood is slim that Singer will return to the franchise. At the recent Comic-Con, amid rumblings of a Warners reboot, Routh talked about his hopes that Warners will get moving one way or another, now that the studio must get a new Superman movie up and running before the copyright reverts to the Superman heirs in 2013. “Any time you bring in somebody with super powers,” he says, “it becomes hard to imagine that in the real world. It’s hard to create a reality that can exist. That’s why the story is so important, or Superman becomes a big walking talking ego, in a way.” If they bring Superman back, Routh says, “I’m happy to be a part of it.”
The good news for the strapping 6 foot 3 actor: Superman Returns made him bankable in foreign territories—in action movies. Routh went to San Diego to promote the $20 million comedy thriller Dead of Night, based on Tiziano Sclavi’s Italian comic book series, Dylan Dog. Routh plays a New Orleans private dick who reluctantly investigates the undead, aided by sidekick Sam Huntington (Jimmy Olsen). Directed by Kevin Munroe (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), the movie was financed overseas. With Omni Lab Media supplying prints and ads, Platinum and partner Hyde Park are confident that they will land a North American distributor.
Also coming up is Universal’s Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World (2010), based on Canadian Brian Leo O’Malley’s comic. Writer-director Edgar Wright called Routh to play one of a series of evil ex-boyfriends who Michael Cera must vanquish in order to get the girl. Routh goes blond as a bassist in a rock band with “super-vegan powers.” Clearly, the guy realizes he’s just going to have take the lift that Superman gave him—and move on. Here’s our interview at Comic-Con: