Brandon Routh

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Brandon Routh
Brandon Routh by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg
Routh at the 2016 WonderCon
Brandon James Routh

(1979-10-09) October 9, 1979 (age 39)
Other namesBrandon "B.J." Routh
B.J. Routh
Alma mater University of Iowa
Years active1999–present
Courtney Ford (m. 2007)

Brandon James Routh (born October 9, 1979) is an American actor. He grew up in Iowa before moving to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career and subsequently appeared on multiple television series throughout the early 2000s. In 2006, he portrayed the titular superhero of the film Superman Returns . He also had a recurring role in the NBC series Chuck , as Daniel Shaw. Following this, he had notable supporting roles in the films Zack and Miri Make a Porno and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World . In 2014, he began a recurring role on Arrow as Ray Palmer / The Atom, which spun off into a guest role on The Flash and a starring role on Legends of Tomorrow .

Iowa State of the United States of America

Iowa is a state in the Midwestern United States, bordered by the Mississippi River to the east and the Missouri River and Big Sioux River to the west. It is bordered by six states; Wisconsin to the northeast, Illinois to the east, Missouri to the south, Nebraska to the west, South Dakota to the northwest and Minnesota to the north.

Los Angeles City in California

Los Angeles, officially the City of Los Angeles and often known by its initials L.A., is the most populous city in California and the second most populous city in the United States, after New York City. With an estimated population of four million, Los Angeles is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California. The city is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, Hollywood and the entertainment industry, and its sprawling metropolis.

Superman Fictional superhero

Superman is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, the character first appeared in Action Comics #1 on April 18, 1938. Superman regularly appears in comic books published by DC Comics and has been adapted to radio shows, newspaper strips, television shows, movies, and video games.


Early life

Routh, the third of four children, was born on October 9, 1979 in Norwalk, Iowa, to Catherine LaVonne (née Lear), a teacher, and Ronald Wayne Routh, a carpenter. [1] [2] Routh was raised in a Methodist family, [3] and has English, Scottish, German, and distant Dutch ancestry. [4] [5]

Norwalk, Iowa City in Iowa, United States

Norwalk is a city in Warren County, with some small portions extending into Polk County, in the U.S. state of Iowa. The population was 8,945 at the 2010 census. The city is part of the Des Moines–West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area and is located just south of the Des Moines International Airport.

Methodism Group of historically related denominations of Protestant Christianity

Methodism, also known as the Methodist movement, is a group of historically related denominations of Protestant Christianity which derive their inspiration from the life and teachings of John Wesley. George Whitefield and John's brother Charles Wesley were also significant early leaders in the movement. It originated as a revival movement within the 18th-century Church of England and became a separate denomination after Wesley's death. The movement spread throughout the British Empire, the United States, and beyond because of vigorous missionary work, today claiming approximately 80 million adherents worldwide.

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. [1] During his childhood, Routh thought a full-time acting career was unrealistic, citing his small-town background. [1] In his spare time, he played the trumpet and the piano. [1]

Woolstock, Iowa City in Iowa, United States

Woolstock is a city in Wright County, Iowa, United States. The population was 168 at the 2010 census.

George Reeves American actor

George Reeves was an American actor. He is best known for his role as Superman in the 1950s television program Adventures of Superman.

Routh attended Norwalk High School, [6] where he played sports, and participated in music and theatre. He has described himself as a "momma's boy" and not "the most popular kid" during his school years. [7] Routh has also noted that during his younger years, he was fond of the Superman films and comic books. [8]

Routh attended the University of Iowa for a year, aspiring to be a writer. [1] During this time, he modelled and acted in order to earn his tuition expenses. [1]

University of Iowa public research university in Iowa City, Iowa, United States

The University of Iowa is the flagship public research university of the State of Iowa, United States. Its main campus is in Iowa City, Iowa. Founded in 1847, it is the oldest and the second largest university in the state. The University of Iowa is organized into 11 colleges offering more than 200 areas of study and seven professional degrees.

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. [1] 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. [7]

Christopher Reeve American actor, director, producer and screenwriter

Christopher D'Olier Reeve was an American actor best known for his motion picture portrayal of the classic DC comic book superhero Superman, beginning with the acclaimed Superman (1978), for which he won a BAFTA Award.


Early career

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 music video for "What a Girl Wants". [6] 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 name actors Nicolas Cage, Josh Hartnett, Brendan Fraser, Tom Welling, Paul Walker, Henry Cavill (who eventually became Superman in Man of Steel (2013), Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), and Justice League (2017)), James Marsden, Ashton Kutcher, Keanu Reeves, Will Smith, and James Caviezel, [9] 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 [1] and was spotted by Singer after he viewed Routh's videotaped audition. [9] Singer, who since noted Routh was the embodiment of "our collective memory of Superman," [10] 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. [6] 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, [9] making him an "instant celebrity". [1]

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 impressed most critics, but was a box office disappointment, grossing only $200 million in the US compared to its estimated budget of $270 million. [11] Routh was signed on to appear in two potential sequels, but due to mediocre box office results those never materialized.

Routh has commented he feared his performance would too closely resemble Christopher Reeve's. 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." [12]

Reviews of Routh's performance were generally positive, with Newsweek noting he "effortlessly lays claim to the iconic role." [13] 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." [14]

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. 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. [15] However, British actor Henry Cavill was cast to play Superman in the reboot of the series, Man of Steel.

Subsequent projects

Routh in 2013 Brandon Routh 2013.jpg
Routh in 2013

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 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 (2009), a film based on Bret Easton Ellis' eponymous novel. He joins Kim Basinger, Amber Heard, and Billy Bob Thornton, [16] but his scenes ended up scrapped with the decision to excise the "vampire" subplot from the film entirely. [17]

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.

Routh plays Daniel Shaw in season 3 of spy series Chuck , in a recurring, supporting role. He again played this character in the shows fifth season.

He portrayed Dylan Dog in the 2011 film Dylan Dog - Dead of Night . [18] The movie is based on the Italian comic series created by Tiziano Sclavi. [19]

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. [20] The series was cancelled after only six episodes had aired.

In 2013, Routh voiced David "Hesh" Walker in the video game Call of Duty: Ghosts . Routh has since been appeared in one episode of The Millers and multiple episodes of Chosen and Enlisted in 2014.


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 3, which premiered October 8, 2014. [21]

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. [22] [23]

In February 2015, it was announced that a spin-off was in development that would co-star Routh as The Atom, along with Wentworth Miller, Victor Garber, and Caity Lotz. [24] The show, DC's Legends of Tomorrow , premiered in January 2016.

Personal life

Routh (right) and Courtney Ford (left) in February 2006 Brandon Routh (98597198).jpg
Routh (right) and Courtney Ford (left) in February 2006

On August 23, 2006, Brandon became engaged to his girlfriend of three years, actress Courtney Ford; [25] the couple married on November 24, 2007, at the El Capitan Ranch in Santa Barbara. [26] In 2012, the couple had a son. [27]

Routh knew actor Kal Penn, a co-star in Superman Returns, for several years during the time he lived in Los Angeles. [28] 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 . [29] During the 2008 Presidential Election, Routh spoke at an Iowa rally in support of Democratic candidate Barack Obama. [30]



2006 Karla Tim Peters
2006DenialManShort film
2006 Superman Returns Clark Kent / Superman
2006 Look, Up in the Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman HimselfDocumentary
2008 Fling JamesAlso co-producer
2008 Zack and Miri Make a Porno Bobby Long
2009 Life Is Hot in Cracktown Sizemore
2009StuntmenKirby Popoff
2009 Table for Three Scott Teller
2009 Kambakkht Ishq HimselfCameo
2009 Miss Nobody Milo Beeber
2009 The Informers BruceDeleted scenes
2010 Unthinkable Agent Jackson
2010 Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Todd Ingram
2011 Dylan Dog: Dead of Night Dylan Dog
2011Cost of LivingSilusShort film
2011Number NineJohnShort film
2012 Crooked Arrows Joe Logan
2014Missing WilliamJames Anderson
2015 400 Days Captain Theo Cooper
2016 Lost in the Pacific Mike
2018 Anastasia Tsar Nicholas Post-production


1999 Odd Man Out Connor WilliamsEpisode: "You've Got Female"
2000 Undressed Wade4 episodes
2000 Gilmore Girls Party Guy at ConcertEpisode: "Concert Interruptus"
2001–2002 One Life to Live Seth AndersonRecurring role
2003 Cold Case Young Henry PhillipsEpisode: "A Time to Hate"
2004 Will & Grace SebastianEpisode: "A Gay/December Romance"
2004 Oliver Beene BrianEpisode: "Dibs"
2005 Awesometown Officer Dino WongTelevision short
2006 The Batman John Marlowe / Everywhere Man (voice)Episode: "The Everywhere Man"
2008 Fear Itself BobbyEpisode: "Community"
2010–2011 Chuck Daniel Shaw Recurring role
12 episodes
2012–2013 Partners Wyatt PlankMain role
2013–2014 Chosen Max GregoryRecurring role
6 episodes
2013 Newsreaders Miles Van CleefEpisode: "Hedge Fun"
2014 The Exes Steve2 episodes
2014 Enlisted Brandon Stone2 episodes
2014 The Millers Officer DixonEpisode: "Carol's Surprise"
2014The Nine Lives of ChristmasZachary StoneTelevision film
2014–2016 Arrow Ray Palmer / The Atom 20 episodes
Recurring (seasons 3–4)
Special guest star (season 5)
2015–2016 The Flash Special guest star
2 episodes
2016–present Legends of Tomorrow Main role
2016 Lady Dynamite Jack TripperEpisode: "Jack and Diane"

Video games

2006 Superman Returns Clark Kent / Superman
2013 Call of Duty: Ghosts David "Hesh" Walker
2018 Lego DC Super-Villains Shazam, The Atom

Music videos

1999 Christina Aguilera "What a Girl Wants"
2006 The Lonely Island "Part 1: The Avon Lady"
2018 Sugarland "Babe"

Awards and nominations

YearAwardCategoryNominated workResult
2006 Empire Awards Best Male Newcomer Superman Returns Won
Saturn Awards Best ActorWon
Rising StarWon
Scream Awards Best SuperheroWon
Breakout PerformanceNominated
ShoWest AwardsMale Star of TomorrowWon
Teen Choice Awards Choice Male Breakout StarNominated
Choice Movie Chemistry (Shared w/ Kate Bosworth)Nominated
Choice Movie RumbleNominated
2010 IGN Awards Best Villain Chuck Won
Detroit Film Critics Society Awards Best Ensemble Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Nominated
Scream AwardsBest VillianNominated

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