June 12 declared Brandon Routh Day
You may know Brandon Routh as Superman.
Or you may know him as The Atom.
Or maybe you know him from his myriad of other roles on soap operas, sitcoms and big screens.
Friday, the actor added a new line to his resume: namesake of an Iowa holiday.
Yes, June 12th is now Brandon Routh Day in the Hawkeye State.
At an appearance at the State Historical Museum Friday afternoon, Routh was presented with an official proclamation signed by Gov. Branstad declaring June 12th Brandon Routh Day in Iowa.
"He followed his dream from the University of Iowa to Hollywood, California," read the proclamation. "Brandon continues to make Iowans proud."
"That's really amazing, thank you," Routh said. "What a cool thing and I feel really weird about it, but thank you."
After the presentation, Routh, who's in town for Wizard World Comic Con, spoke with Liz Gilman, executive producer of Produce Iowa, about his life in Iowa and his career as a crowd of 250 fans listened with rapt attention. Here is an edited version of that conversation.
Q: What was your childhood in Norwalk like?
It was idyllic. It was how you see life in the movies. I lived a block away from cornfields and the "crick," or "creek" in Iowa. I would go to my grandma's house and have my whole milk and my sandwich and run through the cornfields.
Q: In the "Hollywood in the Heartland" exhibit, we have a Superman cape you wore as a child. Tell us about that.
I was 3 or 4 when I first started wearing it. I was wearing it the first time I saw "Superman." I was flying off the couches and I ended up giving myself a migraine headache I was so excited to watch the movie.
Routh loves the laid back nature of Iowa and to bring his family to the state to experience his roots Rodney White/The Register
Q: Has being from Iowa helped you in Hollywood?
It's definitely helped me. I really haven't changed that much from when I lived here. I'm older and maybe a little wiser, but a lot of who I am is that Iowa boy from birth to age 19. Being a guy from Iowa doesn't fit every role, but it fits enough. And I think it helps to bring a unique energy to the characters I play.
Q: Do you see Jason Momoa around? (Momoa is also from Norwalk)
I've known Jason forever and now he is Aquaman and I was Superman. We played soccer together in high school and youth soccer. I see him around every once in a while. I must live near Tom Arnold because we share the same park. I'll see him with his son sometimes.
Q: What was getting cast as Superman like?
It was a real relief. Getting cast was a seven-month process for me. There were a lot of ups and downs and a lot of failure and feeling like a failure. That can mess you up until you gain the perspective that it doesn't matter what others think. There are so many reasons for casting directors not to like you, from your hair to your eyes to maybe you remind them of this kid who used to beat them up at school. There's no point in wasting your life thinking about, Why don't they like me? Just tell yourself that you're awesome because we're all awesome in our own way.
Q: After Superman, did you ever think you'd play a superhero again?
I never thought I would be a superhero, maybe a villain. Once I did Superman, it was like what other superhero would I play? I don't think I would have taken the role of The Atom if the producer hadn't said they wanted Ray Palmer/The Atom to be the humor, to lighten up the show a little bit.
Q: Where did you get your humor from?
I watched a lot of PBS as a kid and there were a lot of British comedies on that channel, "Are You Being Served?" and "Red Dwarf."
Q: Are you more Clark Kent or Superman?
I'm Clark Kent more than I'm Superman. I'm goofy, geeky and fumbling, although I have better control of my body now. I'm often more of a character actor than I am a leading man. My first theater role in high school was playing a silly, backwoods character who was not very smart and hearing the laughter from the crowd was life itself.
Q: What advice do you have for those hoping to get into entertainment?
If you are going to go into it as an actor, that's cool, but just know that not everybody makes it as an actor. There are so many other facets that make up film and television, from being a writer to a costume designer or a grip or a lighting director or a set designer. Being a part of a film and the team behind a film is really powerful. You get to meet new people. A film set is really a microcosm for life, so be open to all opportunities.
The Register sat down with Brandon Routh for an exclusive interview about his new show, "Legends of Tomorrow," and the hardships and triumphs he's experienced in Hollywood. A profile of the Norwalk star is scheduled to run in the Des Moines Register soon.