Brandon James Routh
October 9, 1979
Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of Iowa|
|Height||6 ft 2+1⁄2 in (1.89 m)|
Brandon James Routh (born October 9, 1979) is an American film and television actor. In 2006, he played Superman in the film Superman Returns. In 2011, he played the titular character of the film Dylan Dog: Dead of Night. He also had a recurring role in the NBC series Chuck, as Daniel Shaw. Following this, he had supporting roles in the films Zack and Miri Make a Porno and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.
In 2014, he was cast in a recurring role as Ray Palmer / The Atom on the TV series Arrow. He later played that role on two other series in the so-called Arrowverse shared universe: The Flash (a guest role) and Legends of Tomorrow (a starring role). Routh also reprised his role as Superman in the 2019 Arrowverse crossover event "Crisis on Infinite Earths". His role on Legends of Tomorrow ended in 2020.
Routh, the third of four children, was born in Des Moines, Iowa, to Catherine LaVaughn (née Lear), a teacher, and Ronald Ray Routh, a carpenter. He was raised in nearby Norwalk. Routh was raised in a Methodist family, and has English, Scottish, German, and Dutch ancestry.
Routh grew up in Norwalk, approximately 100 miles (160 km) south of Woolstock, the birthplace of George Reeves, the first actor to play Superman on television. During his childhood, Routh thought 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 attended this school at the same time as Jason Momoa, who would also later become an actor in DC Superhero films. He has described 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 has said he was often told that he bore a physical resemblance to Christopher Reeve, who had previously portrayed Superman in a film series. His former manager signed him on because of the resemblance, telling him that he thought Routh would be cast as Superman if there were another film in the series.
In 1999, Routh left the University and moved to Manhattan and then Los Angeles, where he pursued a full-time acting career, first appearing as an extra in Christina Aguilera's 1999 music video for "What a Girl Wants". He was cast in his first acting 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 season 3 of MTV's nighttime soap opera, Undressed. Routh subsequently appeared on the WB's Gilmore Girls (in a February 2001 episode, "Concert Interruptus", 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.
Prior to Routh's casting as Superman in the film Superman Returns, Warner Bros. had spent over a decade developing a plan to relaunch the franchise, entitled Superman Flyby, with possible stars including actors such as Nicolas Cage, Josh Hartnett, Brendan Fraser, Tom Welling, Paul Walker, Henry Cavill (who eventually became Superman in Man of Steel (2013)), James Marsden, Ashton Kutcher, Keanu Reeves, Will Smith, and James Caviezel, and planned directors including Tim Burton, Wolfgang Petersen, McG, Brett Ratner, and Shekhar Kapur. When director Bryan Singer came aboard the project, however, he insisted 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 auditioned for director McG and was spotted by Singer after he viewed Routh's videotaped audition. Singer, who has since stated that Routh was the embodiment of "our collective memory of Superman," was impressed by Routh's resemblance to the comic book icon and found the actor's humble Midwestern roots perfect for the role, as well as his "combination of vulnerability and confidence", which 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 a high of 218 pounds. Filming for Superman Returns began in Sydney in February 2005. The film was released in the U.S. on June 28, 2006 and earned decent reviews from most critics, but was a box office disappointment, grossing only $200 million in the US compared to its estimated budget of $270 million. Routh was signed on to appear in two potential sequels, but due to mediocre box office results those never materialized.
Reviews of Routh's performance were generally positive, with Newsweek noting 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."
In August 2008, Warner Bros. officially announced they intended to reboot the Superman franchise. Routh was 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 said at the time that he would like to return if given the chance. However, British actor Henry Cavill was cast to play Superman in the reboot of the series, Man of Steel.
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 third 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 put the film into turnaround. Routh's future participation on the project is unknown.
Routh was signed to star in The Informers (2009), a film based on Bret Easton Ellis' novel, with 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.
At Comic Con 2008, it was revealed Routh was to have a cameo in the Kevin Smith comedy Zack and Miri Make a Porno - he instead appeared as a minor character, Bobby Long - and would 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 Ishq.
In January 2009, Routh was officially cast to play Todd Ingram in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World which was directed by Edgar Wright, based on the Scott Pilgrim series by Canadian artist Bryan Lee O'Malley. His character is an arrogant, narcissistic bass player who derives psychic powers from his vegan lifestyle, and is the third of the seven Evil Exes the title character must fight.
On February 22, 2012, it was announced that Routh had been cast in David Kohan and Max Mutchnick's (the creators of Will & Grace), new CBS half-hour, multicamera comedy pilot, Partners. He played Michael Urie's character's steady partner, alongside David Krumholtz and his Table for Three co-star Sophia Bush. The series was cancelled after only six episodes had aired.
On July 7, 2014, it was reported that Routh would once again play a superhero for DC Comics as Ray Palmer / The Atom on The CW's Arrow. He was a recurring character throughout season three, which premiered October 8, 2014.
In January 2015, Arrow's co-creator and executive producer Greg Berlanti stated that they were in the midst of "very early" preliminary talks for an additional spin-off series centered on Ray Palmer/The Atom.
In February 2015, it was announced that a spin-off was in development that would co-star Routh as The Atom, along with Arthur Darvill, Wentworth Miller, Victor Garber, and Caity Lotz. The show, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, premiered in January 2016.
Routh reprised his role as Clark Kent / Superman in the 2019–2020 Arrowverse crossover "Crisis on Infinite Earths", affected by events adapted from the Kingdom Come storyline. His suit was based on the one worn by the storyline’s version of the character. The following month, it was announced that Routh would depart Legends of Tomorrow as a series regular during the fifth season. His final episode as a series regular was “Romeo v. Juliet: Dawn of Justness”.
On August 23, 2006, Brandon became engaged to his girlfriend of three years, actress Courtney Ford; the couple married on November 24, 2007, at the El Capitan Ranch in Santa Barbara. In 2012, the couple had a son, Leo James.
Routh's sister, Sara, has a musical track entitled "You're Never Gone" on Sound of Superman, the companion soundtrack of the Superman Returns. Routh is a fan and player of the video game World of Warcraft. During the 2008 Presidential Election, Routh spoke at an Iowa rally in support of Democratic candidate Barack Obama.
|Superman Returns||Clark Kent / Superman|
|Look, Up in the Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman||Himself||Documentary|
|Zack and Miri Make a Porno||Bobby Long|
|2009||Life Is Hot in Cracktown||Sizemore|
|Table for Three||Scott Teller|
|Miss Nobody||Milo Beeber|
|The Informers||Bruce||Deleted scenes|
|Scott Pilgrim vs. the World||Todd Ingram|
|2011||Dylan Dog: Dead of Night||Dylan Dog|
|Cost of Living||Silus||Short film|
|2012||Crooked Arrows||Joe Logan|
|2014||Missing William||James Anderson|
|2015||400 Days||Captain Theo Cooper|
|2016||Lost in the Pacific||Mike|
|2020||Anastasia: Once Upon a Time||Tsar Nicholas II|
|1999||Odd Man Out||Connor Williams||Episode: "You've Got Female"|
|Gilmore Girls||Party Guy at Concert||Episode: "Concert Interruptus"|
|2001–2002||One Life to Live||Seth Anderson||Recurring role|
|2003||Cold Case||Young Henry Phillips||Episode: "A Time to Hate"|
|2004||Will & Grace||Sebastian||Episode: "A Gay/December Romance"|
|Oliver Beene||Brian||Episode: "Dibs"|
|2005||Awesometown||Officer Dino Wong||Television short|
|2006||The Batman||John Marlowe / Everywhere Man (voice)||Episode: "The Everywhere Man"|
|2008||Fear Itself||Bobby||Episode: "Community"|
|2010–2011||Chuck||Daniel Shaw||12 episodes|
|2012–2013||Partners||Wyatt Plank||13 episodes|
|2013–2014||Chosen||Max Gregory||6 episodes|
|2013||Newsreaders||Miles Van Cleef||Episode: "Hedge Fun"|
|2014||The Exes||Steve||2 episodes|
|Enlisted||Brandon Stone||2 episodes|
|The Millers||Officer Dixon||Episode: "Carol's Surprise"|
|The Nine Lives of Christmas||Zachary Stone||Television film|
|2014–2016, 2020||Arrow||Ray Palmer / The Atom||21 episodes|
|2015–2016, 2019||The Flash||3 episodes|
|Clark Kent / Superman (Earth-96)||Episode: "Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part Three"|
|2016–2020||Legends of Tomorrow||Ray Palmer / The Atom||Main role (Seasons 1-5)|
|Clark Kent / Superman (Earth-96)||Episode: "Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part Five"|
|2016||Vixen||Ray Palmer / The Atom||Web series; voice role; 3 episodes|
|Lady Dynamite||Jack Tripper||Episode: "Jack and Diane"|
|2017||Vixen: The Movie||Ray Palmer / The Atom||Voice role|
|2019||Black-ish||Banner Copeland||Episode: "Is It Desert or Dessert?"|
|Are You Afraid of the Dark?||Theo Coscarelli||Episode: "Part Two: Opening Night"|
|Supergirl||Ray Palmer / The Atom||Episode: "Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part One"|
|2019||Batwoman||Episode: "Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part Two"|
|Ray Palmer / The Atom / Clark Kent / Superman (Earth-96)|
|2020||Home Movie: The Princess Bride||Westley||Episode: "The Fire Swamp"|
|2021||The Rookie||Officer Doug Stanton||Recurring role (Season 3)|
|2006||Superman Returns||Clark Kent / Superman|
|2013||Call of Duty: Ghosts||David "Hesh" Walker|
|2018||Lego DC Super-Villains||Billy Batson / Shazam, Ray Palmer / The Atom|
|2019||Magic: The Gathering Arena||Ral Zarek|
|1999||Christina Aguilera||"What a Girl Wants"|
|2006||The Lonely Island||"Part 1: The Avon Lady"|
Awards and nominations
|2006||Golden Schmoes Awards||Breakthrough Performance of the Year||Superman Returns||Nominated|
|Scream Awards||Best Superhero||Won|
|ShoWest Awards||Male Star of Tomorrow||Won|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Breakout Movie Star – Male||Nominated|
|Choice Movie Chemistry (Shared w/ Kate Bosworth)||Nominated|
|Choice Movie Rumble||Nominated|
|Saturn Awards||Rising Star||Won|
|2007||Saturn Awards||Best Actor||Won|
|Empire Awards||Best Male Newcomer||Won|
|2010||IGN Awards||Best Villain||Chuck||Won|
|Detroit Film Critics Society Awards||Best Ensemble||Scott Pilgrim vs. the World||Nominated|
|2011||Scream Awards||Best Villain||Nominated|
|2019||Teen Choice Awards||Choice TV Actor: Action||Legends of Tomorrow||Nominated|
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I'm 6'2 ½".
- "UPI Almanac for Sunday, Oct. 9, 2020". United Press International. October 9, 2020. Retrieved May 21, 2021.
...actor Brandon Routh in 1979...
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- "The Official Dead of Night Production Blog". Deadofnightmovie.wordpress.com. Retrieved October 17, 2012.
- "New Dead of Night Images Show Off Dylan Dog's Desk". dreadcentral.com. February 24, 2010. Retrieved October 17, 2012.
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- Andreeva, Nellie (February 26, 2015). "Arrow/Flash Superhero Team-Up Spinoff In Works At CW; Brandon Routh, Victor Garber, Wentworth Miller, Caity Lotz Star". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 27, 2015.
- Andreeva, Nellie (July 19, 2019). "Tyler Hoechlin & Brandon Routh To Suit Up As Superman For Arrowverse Crossover On the CW". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on July 19, 2019. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
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- Agard, Chancellor (November 19, 2019). "New 'Crisis on Infinite Earths' photos reveal Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne". Entertainment Weekly.
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