In the last two days, little-known actor Brandon ”B.J.” Routh has become famous all over the Internet for a movie that hasn’t been made, and whose studio won’t even confirm that he’s starring in it. The film, of course, is Warner Bros. long-gestating Superman resurrection, which director Bryan Singer is supposed to begin shooting next month in Australia. Warner Bros. has declined to confirm or deny Routh’s casting, offering an official ”no comment” to EW.com and other media outlets. But Web tipsters, some citing confidential sources at the studio, have said since Monday that Routh’s casting was all but a done deal. On Wednesday, the trade publications Variety and The Hollywood Reporter said that Routh was all but confirmed as the new Man of Steel.
Singer (X-Men), who took over the project this summer after years in development under such directors as Brett Ratner (Rush Hour) and McG (Charlie’s Angels), had been saying for months that he wanted to emulate the producers of the 1978 Superman and cast an unknown as Clark Kent. (This despite lobbying from Jim Caviezel, apparently looking to play another omnipotent hero, and after such well-known actors as Josh Hartnett and Brendan Fraser had balked at being stuck in a multipicture deal that could tie up their careers for years.) Like Christopher Reeve was when he was cast in the 1978 movie, Routh is a 25-year-old actor best known for his soap work, including stints on One Life to Live and MTV nighttime soap Undressed. He’s also had guest roles on Cold Case, Will & Grace, and Gilmore Girls. He recently shot a role in his first feature, called Deadly, opposite Laura Prepon of That ’70s Show.
The film, whose current title is Superman Returns, won’t retell the familiar story of Superman’s origins on planet Krypton and his small-town boyhood on Earth. ”Our view is if you’re over 25 years old, then you’ve seen the Reeve films and that’s Superman to you,” co-screenwriter Dan Harris (X2: X-Men United) told the Chicago Sun-Times. ”If you’re under 25, then you watch TV’s Smallville, and that’s Superman to you.” Rather, said Harris, the film’s storyline will begin after the events depicted in 1980’s Superman II, the second of Reeve’s four Man of Steel movies. ”He’ll begin in his late 20s,” Harris said of the character. ”He lost his powers in Superman II, and now he has the powers back. But something has happened because he’s been away for a long time.”
No other casting for the film has been announced, though Web rumors say that Kevin Spacey is up for the role of villain Lex Luthor, Topher Grace (That ’70s Show) may play Daily Planet photographer Jimmy Olsen, and the role of Lois Lane may go to either The O.C.‘s Mischa Barton or Evangeline Lilly, who plays fugitive-from-justice Kate on the new ABC drama Lost. Let the second-guessing begin.