Four down, four more to go. CBR News’ coverage of the “Superman Returns” Press Junket in Los Angeles Friday continues as we sit down with actor Sam Huntington who plays Jimmy Olsen in the film. While he wasn’t sporting a bow-tie during the event, he was attired in a casual tie and jovial throughout the entire interview.
Thank you. I had a few of those that day. I was a little burrito-full by the end of the day, that’s for sure.
Is it easy playing an iconic character such as Jimmy Olsen that isn’t as physically well-known as Superman and Lois?
The thing is, he’s a lot more tangible than they are. He’s kind of the everyman. He is, in many ways, the audience. He’s all of us. When we go see the movie, he’s watching things as they happen. He’s not creating things, he’s observing things. That being said, all of our roles have been played before. We all have shoes to fill. I think Marc McClure and Jack Larson, who was in the film, are tremendous. They have their own take, and it’s just perfect. For that generation, and for that time, it’s just perfect. I tried to do exactly that. I tried to be myself. I felt a kinship to Jimmy Olsen from the Christopher Reeve films, the Richard Donner film, ever since I was a little tiny guy. I’ve been a fan my entire life. Yes and no, I guess. The long answer.
There were a lot more scenes of you filmed that explored more of the back-story. When you saw the movie, were you disappointed that any of that was cut?
I think it’s a masterpiece. I absolutely adore it. And being a fan of the 1978 film, and the subsequent films, I’m very proud to be a part of this one in this generation. I think everybody just knocked it out of the park.
What was cut that you’d like to see perhaps on a DVD?
There was a lot more bar stuff… at the pub.
A bit intoxicated?
A little pissed as they say in Australia?
Yeah, a little pissed. [laughs]
There was a lot of that, but other than that there was a lot of pieces of scenes that were cut. Not a lot of actual whole pieces. It still hits every beat.
Are you committed for more films?
Yeah, if they happen.
What will you hope Jimmy Olsen does in the second film?
I think this movie sets it up perfectly. There’s so many ways you can go with this character. He is in many ways so dynamic and multifaceted. I don’t know. We’ll see what happens. It’s really up to Mike, Dan and Bryan.
You mentioned you being a bit of a fanboy, being a fan of the films and such. Now after you’re done with Superman, you go and shoot a film with [director] Kyle [Newman] about Star Wars, which you’re also a fan of, right?
Yeah. I mean, absolutely. I think everybody’s a fan of Star Wars, aren’t they?
The original, not the second trilogy.
I know, I know. There’s a definite deliniation there.
What is “Fanboys” about?
It’s about four Star Wars fans in 1998 who go on a pilgrimage to steal The Phantom Menace.
Kristen Bell, Jay Baruchel, Dan Fogler who just won a Tony last year, and Chris Marquette. I think the world of them.
Are you the biggest Star Wars fan of that group?
Dan Fogler was a huge fan. Kyle Newman’s ridiculous. He – the director – is an unbelievable fanboy. Ridiculous fanboy. Actually, that was really nice to have him. He was able to feed us what we needed at the right time. I love movies, and I love certain genre movies and what have you, but by no means am I going to wait in line up for a week. So it was nice to have his…
Unless it’s for “Superman Returns?”
Yeah, unless it’s for Superman Returns. (leans close to mic on recorder) Line up for Superman Returns!
But are you a fanboy in the real sense of the word? Do you get your comics every Wednesday?
I don’t. I don’t do Comic Book Wednesday. I think it’s great that all the players on the film – everyone – kind of culls different pieces of the Superman legacy. The comic book, the TV series, the movies, the cartoons, you name it. I’m partial to the Christopher Reeve film just because that’s what I grew up with.
What are you a fan of today?
I’m a fan of anything that’s gonna make me smile. Honestly, anything that I can walk out from feeling that it’s had an effect on my life in a positive way.
What’s the last thing that had that effect on you.
That’s a tough one. Golly.
Golly? I haven’t heard that since Ron Howard
See? Yeah, well, I say it a lot. I don’t really know.
Not much makes you smile anymore?
That’s not true at all, but I’m trying to think of… I loved “Wedding Crashers,” that was a good one. Made me smile. I love movies like that. I love Romantic comedies, and zany, stupid comedies. I like a range of different things. But I like stuff like “King Kong,” and “Lord of the Rings,” that kind of epic… stuff like [Superman Returns].
So you’d see it?
Oh yeah, definitely. 100%. Even if I felt smited by not getting the job, I’d still go and see it. You know, it’s like some of those movies you just get too close on.
What are you working on next?
I don’t know yet.
Is there any possible chance that you might be doing “Revenge of the Nerds” with Kyle?
No comment. I mean, I honestly don’t know. It would be hard for me. I feel like I just did a nerd movie, in a sense. Not “Superman Returns,” but “Fanboys.”
You were pretty nerdy in that?
No, no, I mean I was the straight man in that film, which was kind of interesting for me. That was kind of fun and new for me to play that role. Honestly it depends. I haven’t read the script yet. I don’t think it’s ready yet. I’d love to work with Kyle again, but it’s just going to depend on what happens. There’s no talk, no negotiations there. That’s the truth.
Have you seen the final cut of “Fanboys?”
I’ve seen little pieces of it. It’s unbelievable.
It’s not a “Clerks”-style movie? It’s a very emotional movie.
Extremely. It’s got wonderful heart. It’s got a real emotional core. It’s unexpected, just like Superman. It’s unexpected to have this kind of emotional core in a film like that.
Is it going to a festival? It’s Weinstein, right?
You were in a number of scenes with the original Jimmy Olsen, Jack [Larson]. Speak to his frame of mind on the set, being in this film? Coming full circle for him.
Yeah, it’s crazy. Everybody asks “What was it like working with Jack Larson, and was there a passing of the torch?” There was like a 25 minute passing of the torch. The cool thing was that it was just as exciting for him to pass the torch as it was for me to receive it. That was really, really cool.
Did you have any personal moments with him?
Just the talks, and how the role has affected his life. How being a part of this has affected him. I mean, 50 plus years after the show was on television and it’s still affecting him. It’s kind of neat. It’s almost one of those things where you see what could potentially happen. He’s just such a sweet, wonderful man.
Did he talk to you about the George Reeves biopic that’s about to come out?
A little bit. He and George were extremely close. Very, very close. He’s got a lot of history there. I think it might be kind of sensitive for him to talk about it. That being said, I can’t really comment on it. He didn’t really talk about that that much. But he talked about George a lot.
What kind of things?
Just how close they were, and what a loss it was to lose him. How he played the character, and how he was as a person. There’s a documentary coming out, “Look up to the Sky”
Yeah, we have it on DVD.
Ohhh! Is that was this is?! (pointing at DVD on table)
No, that’s the press kit, but we got them.
Fantastic, they gave it to you guys.
They’re coming out with a movie, though. With Ben Affleck.
Yes, I’ve heard about that. I have mixed feelings about that.
As a Superman fan, tell us about your first reaction when you finally saw Brandon in full costume.
Which was an epic moment for me.
Was it really?
Yeah. He had these two dressing rooms – one was the room where he put on the costume. It took a really long time to put the suit on, believe it or not. It’s not just spandex. It was very involved to put the suit on. So he had the room for putting the suit on – it took like 45 minutes. Then there was the room he would just hang out in. It was nothing lavish, just a room. But I was sitting in that room just waiting for him. I didn’t know he was getting dressed. Everyone else knew. I’m like a dweeb, it’s ridiculous. I’d been waiting to see him in the suit. I was ready. I was so pumped. I’m sitting in the room, and all of a sudden he walks in as Superman, cause he knew I was gonna shit myself basically. [laughs]
And you did?
And I did. I squeezed a… yeah.
I won’t delve into that. No, but it was like watching Santa Claus come down the chimney. It was like seeing Superman.
Did he pose or say something?
Oh yeah. He came in … I forget what he said. He had the arms [puts his fists on his waist]… with the whole “Hello, sir.”
It was like… I couldn’t even look him in the face. I couldn’t even look at him. It was ridiculous. And I knew Brandon, that was the weird thing. I knew him. It wasn’t the first time I’d met him, or seen him. Man, it was the first time I’d seen Superman.
Do you think you’ll get to fly with him in the next movie?
I hope so.
Yeah, everybody gets to fly but me! What the hell?
You talked about how Jimmy’s kind of the audience, and he does basically interact with every character. Pure curiosity, in your opinion, do you think Jimmy knows that Clark is Superman?
This is so funny. Everybody’s asked me that today. I think there’s a shroud of mystery around whether or not Jimmy knows. I think that’s in the whole legacy. In everything that Jimmy’s been in, in every kind of different medium, there’s always that kind of cloud of “does he know, does he not?” I don’t think I allude to that in this film. We’ll see what happens in the subsequent films. I think there could be some fun to be had with that. It’s not really alluded to in this film, though. I don’t know. We’ll see what happens.
I was talking to Rob Burnett recently, and he was saying that you’re so good in this film that they could easily make a Jimmy Olsen spin off.
Rob’s a very sweet man. I just had fun every day. I think that’s probably what he’s referring to is that I just came to work ready to play. It was that kind of atmosphere. It was so appropriate. It was like “Look what we’re doing. Look how ridiculous we are. How amazing is it where we are and what we’re doing?”
In any of your downtime in Sydney, did you take advantage of the night-life that Sydney has to offer?
We ate a lot of really wonderful food, and we…
Did you get drunk?
Yeah, I am in my mid-20’s.
Did you even have to ask? We had a lot of fun. I’ve had four or five years to pace myself. I know what I’m doing. I’m just kidding. But we had a really wonderful time. We traveled quite a bit, and we…
Where’d you go?
We went north to the Barrier Reef, and to Hunter Valley, which is beautiful. That was beautiful. Hunter Valley is just gorgeous. Then we went down to the Southern Highlands, and we went to the Blue Mountains, Green Mountains. We did all the usual touristy things that you do on the East coast of Australia.
That’s not a bad way to make a living.
It was like a five-month paid vacation is what it felt like. It was like going to see this beautiful part of the world, traveling around, and getting to make an unbelievable film while you’re there. And work with people that you truly love and respect.
Do you hope they make the sequels in Sydney, or have they talked about it?
You know, I would be happy doing them anywhere. Needless to say, I have no idea where they’re going to be. I would love to go back to Sydney. I love Sydney. I would also love to shoot in Vancouver. I’ve never been to Vancouver, but I hear it’s a beautiful city.
You talk about showing up for work every day ready. With Brandon it’s kind of obvious lifting weights and all. How do you get ready for Jimmy? Try on bow-ties?
I did. I did! Honestly, I felt like I already had a piece of him inside of me anyway.
Yeah, giggle, buddy. Giggle it up. Trust me, my mind is grosser than all of you. But it was, I felt like I already knew him.
You did great.
Thank you so much. I hope you guys liked the movie!
It was wonderful.
Is there a toy out now that you’d have loved to have had as a kid?
Yes, yes there is. There’s the flying one. The Superman one that flies. That is so cool. I want a Jimmy one, where the bow-tie is the propeller.