Tyler Hoechlin delighted audiences at Sydney’s Supanova convention this weekend, revealing a few Superman secrets and delving into Derek Hale.
Fans at Supanova in Sydney, Australia were some of the first people in the world to get to quiz former Teen Wolf star Tyler Hoechlin on what it means to be the newest incarnation of the Man of Steel. The news of Hoechlin’s casting broke a couple of days ago, just hours before Hoechlin made a panel appearance at the fan convention alongside Twilight star and Supergirl baddie Peter Facinelli, originally billed as a werewolf vs vampire debate.
During the actor’s solo Q and A session on Saturday, Hoechlin went into further detail about his casting process and what he’s most excited to discover about the character of Superman.
On Clark Kent: “Hopefully you guys don’t hate him.”
“This was my favorite audition ever — I didn’t audition,” he revealed to the crowd. “It’s the coolest thing I’ve ever experienced. I had a meeting with the producers, we kind of talked about the character, I gave my opinion of what I thought was interesting about him and they kind of told me an idea of what they saw happening in those episodes so I think we just had a great connection on how what I saw with the character could fit into they were doing and that was on a Monday and on the Friday they called and asked if I would do it.”
Don’t expect Supergirl’s Superman to be a copy of the ones that have come before – Hoechlin claims he won’t be basing his work on the interpretation of past actors.
“I don’t think that I’m going to try to take any inspiration from previous ones. For me it’s more about finding who he is in this story that we’re telling, and pulling that from the tradition of Superman as a whole, so I really want to be able to get through as many of the comics and things that I haven’t seen and really pull from things like that, and then within the story that we’re telling, find how that best serves that story.”
Hoechlin is also already making up his own, well, for lack of a better word, headcanons, about his character, always a sign of a deeply invested actor: “There are things about Superman that I find really interesting, and whether or not it’s actually true, it’s just my subjective opinion about him, about the things I would think he has to deal with and think about all the time, so I think that’s going to be the fun in figuring out how we want to portray him this time. So, hopefully you guys don’t hate him.” Pretty sure we won’t, buddy.
Another fan wanted to know what qualities Hoechlin himself will bring to the role in order to uphold the values of hope, optimism and inspiration that comes part and parcel with Superman. It’s clearly something the actor has thought about a lot, but ultimately, he’s most interested in the character’s humanity.
“He’s such an iconic character. Superman stands for those things — there’s very specific things that he stands for — so carrying on that tradition is definitely something that I plan on doing. I think the more interesting part will be finding who Clark Kent is, and especially with the tone of the show, and how Kara is, I’m really interested to see how they relate when they’re not saving someone or doing something incredible.”
We’re starting to get really curious about what Hoechlin’s Clark is going to be like, especially when he adds that he’s keen to shed light on things that aren’t always talked about with Superman. Please, oh please make him cheerful — one grimdark Superman is more than enough, thanks Zack Snyder.
All in all, Hoechlin’s spirits are sky high. He’s thrilled to start working with his on-screen cousin, Melissa Benoist, (“I worked with her husband Blake [Jenner] on Everybody Wants Some!! and so I know Melissa a bit. I think she’s a fantastic actress, she’s doing a great job on the show, I loved her in Whiplash, that’s one of my favorite movies…”) and naturally, he’s looking forward to donning the costume. (“I don’t tend to wear tights very frequently so that’ll be a new experience for me […] You don’t get to wear a cape very often!”) No word yet on whether Super-Hoech will show off some red undies over the tights.
Supergirl has hosted a ton of comic-book bad guys so far, but if Hoechlin could pick any DC villain for Supes to go up against, he’d steal from Batman — it would be the Riddler! “A little crossover. I feel like it’d be fun to see — because he’s such a physically strong person — it’d be kind of cool to see him fight the actual intellectual battle with someone like that, who would maybe set these weird puzzles for him to figure out, it would be a different challenge than he usually faces.” We really love the idea of Superman in a battle of wits, earning the nerd cred to wear those fake glasses. He’d also love to play an actual bad guy in future, because, as he explains, “When you play a bad guys, as the person playing it, you’re not playing a bad guy, you’re playing a good guy that other people think is bad.”
On Derek Hale: “His purpose was best served by serving.”
Most of Hoechlin’s fans know him from his lovably grumpy turn as Derek Hale, and given the fact that his Supergirl casting was only announced the previous day, most of the audience came prepared with questions about his time on Teen Wolf. Aside from reminiscing about fun little things -the hardest part of Derek was being so serious all the time, his favorite Derek “quotes” were his silent ‘what is wrong with you’ death stares, his favorite scene to film was when he was possessed and threatening Argent with the lighter, he won’t do a Stiles imitation because last time he tried he tore a shoulder muscle — he did address his departure from the show after season 4, whether he’d ever return, and where Derek would have fit in season 5, if he’d stuck around.
One fan really didn’t pull their punches in bluntly asking “In future, are you going to be returning to Teen Wolf at all?” (“Please say yes,” someone else shouted.) Hoechlin’s response? “Oh god. I’m sorry, I would love to make everybody cheer and be happy right now. I don’t have any plans to right now. I kind of feel like where we left the character, at least, when I knew it was going that way, kind of wrapped it up in the passing of the baton on to Scott, is just kind of how I felt like that story ended. I don’t know in which way he would come back into this world, exactly.” However, he did soften the blow by admitting that it’s not a hard no – just no plans right now. It sounds like we won’t see Derek in 6a, but if season 6 isn’t their last season? “You never know with TV […] Sorry for the honest answer.”
If Derek was around in season 5, here’s how Hoechlin thinks he would have handled it. After umming and ahhing, clearly considering a joke, he theorized thusly: “I’ll give you a real answer. I would imagine that he would have let Scott take the lead that time, because I feel like that was kind of the position he was putting himself in. I feel like Derek was becoming more of a – follower is not the right word, but he was kind of stepping out of that leader role, knowing that his purpose was best served by serving, as opposed to trying to take control of everything.”
“I imagine he would have done that and then, in some way — I honestly am not caught up, so I don’t know how they [the characters] handled it but I hear not well – so I’m assuming he would have encouraged Scott to take advice from other people, because at that point that’s probably the lesson he learned the most — not to always try to do things on your own, and to listen to other people, and to try to come up with something together. A team works better than an individual.” Well, that’s definitely the lesson the Pack ended up learning by the end of the season, but we still kind of wish our newly-zen Derek had been around to be Scott’s guru.
In response to Hypable’s query about his recent apparent criticism in regards not learning about his character, he was given on Teen Wolf, Hoechlin chose clarified his comments, giving a beautiful summary of what he loved about playing Derek.
“I actually really enjoyed all the arcs. I thought every season, they gave me something really kind of great and new to play with, so that was definitely never an issue that I had. I loved that in season 1 he was obviously so purely driven by one thing, and season 2 was a complete shift and all of a sudden kind of this overly confident guy who had a drastic fall from grace. Season 3 was struggling to reclaim some former identity of loyalty and duty and then 4, to me, was just kind of like finally, someone finding their purpose and becoming comfortable with that, so I always thought they gave me really fun things to play with each season, I really enjoyed it.”
We also asked for a deconstruction of a stunt in Everybody Wants Some!!, the Richard Linklater-helmed 80s college baseball flick that Hoechlin, who played college ball himself, co-starred in. In the scene in question, Hoechlin’s character Glen McReynolds, the team’s most talented and driven player, is messing around at home, winning a bet that he couldn’t cleave a baseball by hitting it with an ax. Twice in a row, he swings the ax at a pitched ball and slices it clean through. We wanted to know how that was done — CGI, a pre-cut ball? To our surprise, he wouldn’t reveal the secret! “I always say that I swung an ax, I hit a ball and it ended up in two pieces, and however you want to put that together, that is purely up to your imagination, I will not destroy any illusions, I will not say anything false, so, whatever you want to do to connect those dots.” Who knew that movie magic extended so far?
Hoechlin spoke a little more about his passion for baseball — he’s starring in two baseball movies, Everybody Wants Some!! and Undrafted alongside Chace Crawford and Aaron Tveit, which just got a first trailer release. He talked about his favorite positions to play (shortstop, and second or third base – he’s too short for first) and basing his Undrafted pitcher’s wind-up on that of a pro-ball friend of his. He’d love to do more in the future, but cited Kevin Costner, who’s also done a lot of baseball movies, in describing how these movies may have baseball in them, but it’s not really what they’re about.
Touted as the Oscar-winning Linklater’s ‘spiritual sequel’ to Dazed and Confused, Everybody Wants Some!!, he explains, “is really a movie about camaraderie and what it’s like to be part of a team and growing up and that first experience of freedom.” The sport itself is irrelevant – it could have been football, soccer, whatever, but the fact that it is baseball? “That’s an added fun thing for me to be able to do.” However, veering away from baseball, one thing he wasn’t allowed to speak about at all was his upcoming role in Fifty Shades Darker. Total embargo there, so make of that what you will.
Returning to his two most notable roles, Hoechlin was asked who would win in a fight between them? “You know, if you’ve seen Teen Wolf, I’m gonna give the edge to Superman,” he joked, referencing Derek Hale’s notorious inability to ever win a fight. “It’s narrow, it’s like a really really tiny gap, but I’m probably gonna have to go with Superman on that one,” later quipping “Do you think I’m going to kill Superman by being him?” when a fan asked if he was excited to not die all the time. “It’ll be nice to stay alive, it’ll be nice to come out on top, hopefully.”
The remainder of the panel was made up of the usual random fan questions – “Pepperoni, onion, chicken, avocado,” makes up his favorite pizza; his appearance doing improv on The Blind Date Project was the first live performance he’s ever done; the creepiest thing a fan has ever done is give him a wet kiss on the neck during a hug: “Girlfriend, normal feeling. Stranger, not so much.” He also won’t tell anyone what songs he’d do on Lip Sync Battle because he has them planned out on the off chance he might get asked and doesn’t want anyone to steal his idea (“Just in case it happens, I’m ready to go.”)
However, the mood turned serious when a young fan asked if Hoechlin knew how his Teen Wolf castmate Dylan O’Brien was doing. O’Brien was seriously injured earlier this year while filming the third movie in the Maze Runner franchise, and there’s been little news about his condition, aside from the fact that the film’s production was put on hold and has recently recieved a new release date – a year later than originally slated.
“Dylan is okay. Dylan is fine,” he assured the room. “Thank you to the people who criticized me for not saying something on publicly on Twitter,” he quickly snarked, referencing the bizarre harassment some fans have been aiming at the entire Teen Wolf cast on this matter. “I do check on him. I am friends, I sent a text and I called people, that’s what we do, but no, he’s fine, he’s good.” Hoechlin went on to explain the hubris that actors sometimes feel on set, and how this incident was a very nasty shock. “It was definitely a scary situation but he’s doing better and he’s recovering so thank you for asking, and yeah, he’s going to be okay. A very very scary thing it reminds you, sometimes when you’re on set you feel like you’re invincible to certain things because it’s a movie, but you’re still doing real things and there’s potential for things like that. But he’s okay.”