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Brandon Routh

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Brandon Routh

Routh at the San Diego Comic-Con International in July 2010.
Born Brandon James Routh
(1979-10-09) October 9, 1979
Norwalk, Iowa, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1999–present
Spouse(s) Courtney Ford (2007-present)

Brandon James Routh (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 2006, he was cast as the titular hero of the 2006 film Superman Returns. He recently played the role of Todd Ingram in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.

Early life

Routh, the third of four children, was born in Norwalk, Iowa, on October 9, 1979, the son of Katie, a teacher, and Ron Routh, a carpenter. Routh's family, which is Methodist, has German, French, English, and American Indian 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 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 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.

Early career

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.


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, with possible stars including name actors Nicolas Cage, Josh Hartnett, Brendan Fraser, Paul Walker, 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 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" 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 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 to the film, but due to the low box office it has been quoted that this will not happen.

Routh has commented he feared his performance would too closely resemble 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 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.

In June 2010, Brandon was asked whether he would appear in the television series Smallville, since both Christopher Reeve and Dean Cain have made an appearance in Smallville. Routh answered: "Would be fun, but perhaps it might be a little bit strange since my portrayal of Superman was more recent than the others".

Subsequent projects

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.

Routh appeared in the ensemble film Life is Hot in Cracktown and 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 signed to play Dylan Dog in the 2008 film Dead of Night. The movie is based on the Italian comic series created by Tiziano Sclavi.

At Comic Con 2008, it was revealed Routh was to have a cameo in the Kevin Smith comedy Zack and Miri Make a Porno 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, based on the Scott Pilgrim series by Canadian artist Bryan Lee O'Malley. His character is an arrogant, narcissistic bass player that derives psychic powers from his vegan lifestyle, and is the third of the seven Evil Exes the title character must fight.

Routh plays Daniel Shaw in season 3 of Chuck, in a recurring supporting role.

Routh was thought to have been cast in April 2010 for Frank Darabont's thriller series The Walking Dead. However, at the European premiere of Scott Pilgrim vs the World, Routh told that the casting was a rumor.

Personal life

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. 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 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.



Year Title Role Notes
2006 Karla Tim Peters
2006 Denial Man
2006 Superman Returns Superman/ Clark Kent
2008 Fling James
2008 Zack and Miri Make a Porno Bobby Long
2009 Life Is Hot in Cracktown Sizemore
2009 Stuntmen Kirby Popoff
2009 Table for Three Scott Teller Direct-to-video release
2009 Kambakkht Ishq Himself Cameo
2009 Miss Nobody Milo Beeber
2009 Dylan Dog: Dead of Night Dylan Dog
2010 Unthinkable Agent Jackson
2010 Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Todd Ingram


Year Title Role Notes
1999 Odd Man Out Connor Williams Episode - "You've Got Female"
1999 Undressed Wade
2001 Gilmore Girls "Hot" College Student In 13th episode from Season One
2001–2002 One Life to Live Seth Anderson
2003 Cold Case Young Henry Phillips Episode - "A Time to Hate"
2004 Will & Grace Sebastian Episode - "A Gay/December Romance"
2004 Oliver Beene Brian Episode - "Dibs"
2005 Awesometown Officer Dino Wong
2006 The Batman John Marlowe/ Everywhere Man Episode - The Everywhere Man
2006 After Midnight: Life Behind Bars Willie Dawg Vaughn
2008 Fear Itself Bobby Episode - "Community"
2010 Chuck Daniel Shaw Episodes- " Chuck Versus Operation Awesome" to " Chuck Versus the Ring: Part II" (12 episodes)

Video games

  • Superman Returns (2006) (voice) Superman/ Clark Kent
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