It's not everyday that an actor is asked whether or not he would like to do the voice of Superman. The iconic DC Comics character has been capturing the hearts of many for decades on end, and continues to wow many with his acts of heroism through comics and film. As we all quietly wait in anticipation over "Man of Steel," Warner Bros Animation and DC Entertainment are holding comic book fans over with their latest animated feature "Superman: Unbound." The straight-to-DVD animated film brings us back to the fictional town of Metropolis as Superman faces Brainiac.
Matt Bomer of "White Collar" fame voiced the caped crusader this time around. Before a special screening took place of "Superman: Unbound" at this year's WonderCon, Bomer took a few minutes to talk about the crazy wonderful experience that was voicing the famous superhero.
When was the first time in your life that you imagined yourself as Superman?
Matt Bomer: I think it was five or six. My mom made me a homemade cape for Halloween one year. First I was a Superboy to my brother’s Superman because whatever superhero he was, I was either the lesser version of it or the sidekick. So when he was Batman, I was Robin. When he was Superman, I was Superboy. But like any four year old, it played very heavily into my psychology. And I think that's what makes the character resonate for so long with so many people is that he's who we hope we could be in the most dire circumstances. But my mom made me a cape, homemade, and I wore that thing out for like two years. I didn't even care. I had no shame about it. I would strap it on. It had a snap right here. I'd get on my bike and just let it trail behind me. People would laugh. I didn't give a damn. I was Superman.
And now you are Superman.
Matt Bomer: Now, I am the voice of Superman.
How did you wrap your head around that role? What did you want to carry over from other interpretations?
Matt Bomer: It's a good question, and I'm trying to answer this uniquely since I've been asked a few times. The character's so iconic to everyone and not just guys. I think every guy and girl would love to get to play Superman at some point in their life. Am I right, girls? Okay. Thank you. You can't help but have all those incarnations, especially if you're a fan of the character, in the back of your head. But you can become so busy with that that it distracts you from the story at hand. All you really have to work with is the script you're given, and you don't want to get too sidetracked on, ‘Oh, but in 1937, he was more like –‘ you just have that story. So I try to keep up some of the consistencies of the characters are maintained throughout every incarnation of the story and also just deal with the script that we were given. And in this particular story, it’s a very mature Superman that we're seeing. He's always dealing with weighty issues, but he's very paternal towards Supergirl. He's very protective of Lois and also having to deal with Brainiac who is a very intense adversary. So I tried to balance the heavier more mature version of him with a lighter, fun, more charming sense of playfulness with Lois.
If you had to talk to your fans of your on-camera work, and they've never seen an animated feature, what would you say to them to give this a shot?
Matt Bomer: Well, I think anybody who likes Superman will love the story. The creative team behind it’s fantastic. And I think it's a great, new take in some ways on the character, on the story, and I think it will appeal to a lot of different audiences. So there's no reason not to give it a shot, really. If you don't like Superman, something's wrong with you.
Visually there's always the glasses for Clark Kent and Superman, but when you're doing the voice. Did you have that moment where you wanted to change the pitch a little bit?
Matt Bomer: Yeah. Totally. Yes, is the short answer to that, and truthfully. But yes, the good part of it is that you get to show up to work in your pajamas if you want, and a lot of this more external aspects of filmmaking you get to toss by the wayside. But the more challenging part is that all you have to convey character and emotion is your voice, and we recorded it first. And then they animated it, and then we came back and changed lines, fine-tuned things. So it was interesting to see. You record something ahead of time, and then it end up that that was actually a close-up. So streaming it wasn't so great. And so we'd have to change it to that. But having Andrea [Romano] especially, who is such a legend. She was such an integral part of my childhood. If you IMDB her, you’ll know what I’m saying. Don’t make me sing the entire Disney afternoon line up because life is like a hurricane here. But, no, it was very challenging in terms of that, and I wanted to take it very seriously because I knew that this was a character that people had so many preconceived notions about. So I relied pretty heavily on her to shepherd me through it, and I got really into it in the fight scenes. I didn't realize that you didn't have to really throw punches and kicks and punches off of the stomach when Brainiac did. So they laughed at me. They got a couple good laughs out of me at the sound booth, but I wanted to bring my best to it.
So do you find that since you kind mimic the physicality, you were more effected doing the voices?
Matt Bomer: In some ways, yeah, especially in the fight scenes, but what I realized is you really have to use every part of yourself still and be even more expressive with your voice. But yeah, there were times when you had to give more than usual. There were times where you had to give less. I was cutting my teeth on something new, so I was just learning on the fly.
Why do you think this character is still important to kids – and obviously, adults have the nostalgia – but your character keeps renewing time after time, why do you think?
Matt Bomer: Well, he's the first superhero, and like I said earlier, he represents what we all hope we could be in the most difficult circumstances, our best self, our best version of us. I mean, outside of just as a kid wanting to be able to fly and run faster than a speeding locomotive and being able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. We'd like to hope that when push comes to shove, we can do the right thing, and I think as long as there is that hope in our society and in the zeitgeist superheroes like Superman will be relevant.
"Superman: Unbound" will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on May 7th.