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Brandon James Routh (pronounced as in rhyming with
mouth; born October 9, 1979) is an American actor and former fashion
model. He grew up in Iowa before moving to Los Angeles to pursue
an acting career, and subsequently appeared on several television
series throughout the early 2000s. In 2005, he was cast as the titular
hero of the 2006 film Superman Returns.
In The News:
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Routh, third of four children, was born in Des Moines, Iowa, on
October 9, 1979, the son of Katie, a teacher, and Ron Routh, a carpenter;
both of his parents play music in their spare time. His brother
Rhett is a Des Moines Police officer; his older sister Sara is a
singer traveling through Europe, and his younger sister Carolyn
lives in Wisconsin. Routh's family, which is Methodist, has German,
French, English, and Native American ancestry. Routh grew up in
Norwalk, Iowa, which is located approximately 100 miles (160 km)
south of Woolstock, the hometown of George Reeves, the first actor
to play Superman on television. During his childhood, Routh thought
that a full-time acting career was unrealistic, citing his small-town
background. In his spare time, he played the trumpet and the piano.
Routh attended Norwalk High School, where he played sports and participated
in music and theatre. He describes himself as a "momma's boy"
and not "the most popular kid" during his school years.
Routh has also noted that during his younger years, he was fond
of the Superman films and comic books.
Routh attended the University of Iowa for a year, aspiring to be
a writer. During this time, he modelled and acted in order to earn
his tuition fee. Routh has said that he was often told that he bore
a physical resemblance to Christopher Reeve, who had previously
portrayed Superman. His former manager signed him on because of
the resemblance, telling him that he thought Routh would be cast
as Superman if there was another film in the series.
In 1999, Routh left the University and moved to New York City and
then Los Angeles, where he pursued a full-time acting career, first
appearing as an extra in Christina Aguilera's music video for "What
a Girl Wants". He was cast in his first major role in 1999,
in an episode of the short-lived ABC television series, Odd Man
Out. In 2000, he had a four-episode role on the third season of
MTV's nighttime soap opera, Undressed. Routh subsequently appeared
on the WB's Gilmore Girls (in a February 2001 episode, "Concert
Interupptus", playing an attendee of a Bangles concert), and
earned steady work on the soap opera One Life to Live, playing Seth
Anderson from May 23, 2001 until April 17, 2002.
Routh's later primetime credits include guest roles on CBS's Cold
Case, NBC's Will & Grace as a gay boyfriend, and Fox's short-lived
series, Oliver Beene. During this time, he worked as a bartender
at a popular bowling alley in Hollywood, Lucky Strike Lanes, and
shared an apartment with his sister.
Prior to Routh's casting as Superman, Warner Bros. had spent over
a decade developing a plan to relaunch the franchise, with possible
stars including name actors Nicolas Cage, Josh Hartnett, Brendan
Fraser, Paul Walker, James Marsden, Ashton Kutcher, and Jim Caviezel
and planned directors including Tim Burton, Wolfgang Petersen, Joseph
McGinty Nichol, Brett Ratner and Shekhar Kapur. When director Bryan
Singer came aboard the project, however, he insisted that an unknown
actor be cast in the part, in the tradition of the casting of the
best-known film Superman, Christopher Reeve.
Routh, then 24, had previously already auditioned for director
McG and was spotted by Singer after he viewed Routh's videotaped
audition. Singer, who since noted Routh as being the embodiment
of "our collective memory of Superman", was impressed
by his resemblance to the comic book icon and found the actor's
humble Mid-western roots perfect for the role, as well as his "combination
of vulnerability and confidence" that Singer said reminded
him of Christopher Reeve. Singer decided to cast Routh after the
two met on August 13, 2004, but did not tell Routh until two months
later, when Routh's casting was announced in October 2004, making
him an "instant celebrity". Before filming began, Routh
bulked-up for the role, gaining 22 pounds to reach approximately
215 pounds. Filming for Superman Returns began in Sydney in February
2005. The film was released in the U.S. on June 28, 2006 and was
a box-office success, grossing $200 million in the US. Routh has
already signed on to appear in two potential sequels to the film.
Routh has commented that he feared his performance would too closely
resemble that of Christopher Reeve. Routh has said that he hopes
to "remind people of Christopher while at the same time making
them feel like they're seeing a totally new Superman". Reviews
of Routh's performance were generally positive, with Newsweek noting
that he "effortlessly lays claim to the iconic role".
On the other hand, film critic Roger Ebert noted that he thinks
"Routh lacks charisma as Superman, and I suppose as Clark Kent,
he isn't supposed to have any".
At the 2006 Spike TV Awards, Routh won the award of "Best
Superhero" as Superman in Superman Returns, beating out among
others, Hugh Jackman as Wolverine.
In August 2008, Warner Bros. officially announced they intended
to reboot the Superman franchise and take it in a "darker"
direction due to the success of The Dark Knight. Routh is still
set to reprise the role, according to DC Comics president Paul Levitz.
In 2009, however, Routh's contract to play Superman in another film
expired, but he says he would like to return if given the chance.
After the release of Superman Returns, Routh signed on to play CIA
agent John Clark in Without Remorse under the direction of John
Singleton with a screenplay by Stuart Beattie. Routh would be the
3rd actor to portray the character after Willem Dafoe and Liev Schreiber.
The film was intended for a late-2007/early-2008 release. However,
Paramount Pictures recently put the film into turnaround. Routh's
future participation on the project is unknown.
recently wrapped filming in the ensemble film Life is Hot in Cracktown
and stars in the independent drama Fling (formerly titled Lie to
Me) co-starring his wife Courtney Ford.
Routh was signed to star in The Informers, a film based on the
Bret Easton Ellis novel of the same name. He joins Kim Basinger,
Amber Heard, and Billy Bob Thornton, but his scenes ended up scrapped
with the decision to excise the "vampire" subplot from
the film entirely.
He has signed to play Dylan Dog in the 2008 film Dead of Night.
The movie is based on the Italian comic series created by Tiziano
At Comic Con 2008, it was revealed that Routh has a cameo in the
Kevin Smith comedy Zack and Miri Make a Porno and will serve as
a judge on Platinum Studios' 2008 Comic Book Challenge. In addition,
he has a cameo where he plays himself in the Bollywood film Kambakkht
In January 2009, Routh was officially announced as playing the
role of Todd Ingram in the upcoming Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,
based on the Scott Pilgrim series by Canadian artist Bryan Lee O'Malley.
On August 23, 2006, Brandon became engaged to his girlfriend of
2½ years, actress Courtney Ford; the couple married on November
24, 2007 at the El Capitan Ranch in Santa Barbara. He knew actor
Kal Penn, a co-star in Superman Returns, for several years during
the time he lived in Los Angeles. Routh and Penn were both also
featured in the The Lonely Island's Awesometown MTV pilot music
video "The Avon Lady".
Routh's sister, Sara, has a musical track entitled "You're
Never Gone" on Sound of Superman, the companion soundtrack
of the film. Routh is a fan and player of the video game World of
Warcraft. During the 2008 Presidential Election, Routh toured college
campuses campaigning for Democratic Candidate Barack Obama.
2006: Karla as Tim Peters
2006: Denial as Man
2006: Superman Returns as Superman/Clark Kent
2008: Fling as James
2008: Zack and Miri Make a Porno as Bobby Long
2009: Life Is Hot in Cracktown as Sizemore
2009: Stuntmen as Kirby Popoff
2009: Table for Three as Scott Teller
2009: Kambakkht Ishq as Himself Cameo
2009: Miss Nobody as Milo Beeber
2009: Dead of Night as Dylan Dog
2010: Unthinkable as Agent Jackson
2010: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World as Todd Ingram
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