How playing Superman helped Brandon Routh become the Atom on ‘DC’s Legends of Tomorrow’

(Left) Brandon Routh as Superman in 'Superman Returns' (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures/David James) and as the Atom in 'DC's Legends of Tomorrow'
Brandon Routh may have traded his red cape and blue tights for a high-tech suit that allows him to shrink down to miniscule size in “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” but the actor says his previous role as Superman proved to be extremely helpful when becoming the Atom.  

Routh had the starring role in 2006’s “Superman Returns” and says he learned so much from the experience he could write a book about it. 

“The biggest is just patience and knowing how the whole process works and understanding how a big film works and the part you play in it, the demands of getting in and out of a suit … having other people manhandle you to a degree to get into the suit and the stunt requirements, all of those things,” says Routh, during a break from filming his new superhero series in a Vancouver suburb. 

He says since he knew what he was getting into this time around and has been able to handle things with more grace and compassion for the people around him. 

“I think 10 years ago I had so much pressure, so much going on, it was hard for me to wrap my head around all of it and I can appreciate it a little (now), even more than I did then.”

(The Atom stands with other heroes and villains in a scene from 'DC's Legends of Tomorrow')

While he enjoyed playing a character that many other great actors before him have played, including the early days of George Reeves and the beloved Christopher Reeve, along with TV’s Dean Cain and Tom Welling, he is excited to be one of the first to bring the Atom to life in a non-comic book or animated form. 

“I kind of get to make (the Atom) him. Of course he’s well known in the comics, but I was one of the first guys to really be him in live action so that’s a cool, unique opportunity.”

Routh says the armored suit definitely helps him embody the character, just as the iconic Superman suit did. 

“You feel a little bit robotic in that thing. Powerful. The close-fitting nature of it definitely makes you feel your body a little bit more so it makes you feel bigger … and similar with the Superman suit, so it does help in the fact that it looks cool, it looks legit, I believe that I’m in that and have all these capabilities which is a big part of it.”

(A scene from 'Superman Returns.' (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures/David James))

So which suit does he prefer?

“The Superman suit is iconic and you can’t go wrong with that. It’s pretty amazing.”

That being said, he still really loves the Atom suit…

“They’re both beautiful, amazing suits. They’re very expensive, a lot of great people, craftsmen, did amazing work to make them be what they are and they actually fit fairly similarly. They have the same structure. The underbody of them is very similar, the way it makes you feel, all very similar.” 

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