Returning guest Dylan Kingwell chatted to Courageous Nerd about playing a teenage Clark Kent on The CW’s Superman and Lois, the latest in the network’s popular Arrowverse superhero franchise.
Warning – This Interview contains spoilers up to episode 5 of Superman and Lois.
Welcome back, Dylan! Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today!
Dylan Kingwell (DK): Yes, of course, thanks. I’m glad to be back.
Congratulations on landing the role of Teen Clark Kent on Superman and Lois! How have things been since we last spoke in October 2020? Was that in the pipeline back then?
DK: I think I had booked it by then. I was either just about to or had already done my bit for the pilot, at that point. So, like, the graveyard scene and the scene where Clark’s father collapses at the Harvest Festival. That was filmed right around then. So yeah, I had booked it, maybe three weeks prior to our interview, probably.
Were you particularly a fan of the Superman character beforehand?
DK: I had been a comic book fan, although I must admit my favourite hero was The Flash. This was back in Seventh Grade. Really, I was a DC Comics fan and The Flash was sort of my main thing. I love Superman, Batman, Flash, all that stuff. It was definitely really exciting, it reignited that sort of excitement and passion I had for comic book characters, a few years back.
Was there a particular Flash that you were a fan of? There have been a few to hold that mantle in DC Comics.
DK: I think in the comics, the Wally West Flash is my favourite. Grant Gustin on TV, overall, is my favourite incarnation. He’s great and I love the show.
Major comic book-inspired projects are known to be confidential. When you first auditioned for the role on Superman and Lois, did you know who you were reading for at the time?
DK: I did know that I was auditioning for Young Clark Kent. Interestingly enough, way way back… this would be I think November of 2019, I actually auditioned for the role I think turned out to be Jordan Kent, Alex Garfin’s role. For that, I was given a fake name and all that stuff. That one was confidential, but no, I knew I was going for Young Clark.
I initially auditioned for that in March 2020, then the show kind of shut down for the summer like most things did. I auditioned again in August, I believe.
The Arrowverse (which Superman and Lois is a part of) has been a huge part of The CW since 2012. How did it feel to join such a well-established community?
DK: I think it’s really exciting because there aren’t too many things like it on television. You know, I guess you’ve got ShondaLand, which is like the Grey’s Anatomy universe. As far as superheroes, it’s a very unique thing to be a part of. Obviously, it’s different shows but it’s all sort of one big thing.
So yeah, it’s a very unique opportunity to be part of the Arrowverse and I was extremely excited to sign on as Young Clark.
In our last interview, we spoke about the more unusual acting circumstances you’ve found yourself in. Playing your own sibling, or a character identical to another character. Now, on Superman and Lois, you are in flashbacks. Do you see a pattern developing?
DK: I think I just have a knack for picking up these roles, it’s cool. Also, I believe in our last interview, we talked a little bit about having source material. Any role for source material, Superman is definitely the one. I wanted to bring to light… Clark’s always been a sweet guy and kind of has an ‘aw shucks’-ness about him.
It was fun to go into a character with that much history, having that in mind and trying to bring that to life for people who have been fans for a long time.
On Superman and Lois, Tyler Hoechlin plays your character in present day. How much conversation, if any, did you two have about keeping Clark’s characterisation consistent?
DK: We didn’t, actually. I only got to speak with Tyler briefly and you’ll probably get to talking about this eventually. For viewers who watched episode five, there’s that scene where Jordan and Jonathan walk out of the kitchen and I walk in as Young Clark. That’s actually the only day I’ve ever been on set with Tyler at the same time.
We actually just shot it as one, which was really cool. So, no, we didn’t really have that conversation but I think it was had for us through the directors and writers. Giving us the same writing, it’s the same character and they know it. I think through the directions I was given while in the scenes, they were able to make sure there’s consistency there.
I think you can tell, in the dialogue and stuff, that it’s the same character and obviously with the context, of course you can. With the way that my dialogue is written, the body language and everything I was given notes on by directors and writers, that sort of was what we needed to keep it consistent.
In acting, you could technically be ‘working’ with someone for a long time but never have scenes with them. That must be a strange way to meet someone for the first time?
DK: Yeah, 100%. And because I’ve had flashback characters before, I’ve had that experience. It turns out in each instance of me having a flashback character, I’ve somehow ended up working with the ‘present day’ cast. In The Good Doctor, it was when they brought me as Evan, or in Season 3 when I sort of was a vision in Shaun’s mind.
Then in this, like I just mentioned, we shot that kitchen sequence all in one. Alex [Garfin] and Jordan [Elsass], who play Jordan and Jonathan, they walked out of the kitchen, me and Michelle who plays my mom Martha walked right in. It was a really cool thing. It looked really awesome on-screen. Another one of those unique experiences where I got to be in a different timeline, but still kind of be involved with the present day.
Tom Welling also played a teenage Clark Kent on Smallville for 10 seasons. Did you study his portrayal at all for your version of Clark?
DK: I didn’t. I never watched Smallville, so I never did see Tom Welling’s rendition of Young Clark. Now that I think about it, maybe it would have helped and maybe it wouldn’t have. I think Superman and Lois, from the beginning, always sort of set out to be unique and be its own thing. There are Easter Eggs and there are references, of course.
I think it was good for me and beneficial for the show to have me, Tyler and Jordan who plays Jonathan, who has also existed in canon before. I think it was beneficial for us to just take the writers’ and directors’ visions and act out those out. Again, like I say, they wanted to be their own separate thing. What’s the point of another adaptation if it’s just going to take another from the prior ones, you know?
Again, there are cool little nods to it that long-time fans will pick up. Overall, I think it was good to start fresh, start from a clean slate and be with the writers’ visions.
Other than Clark, do you have a favourite character on the show? If so, why them?
DK: I really enjoy watching Alex Garfin’s character, who is Jordan Kent. I think that Alex is doing a great job at bringing awareness to social anxiety in teens, but also not making it his defining trait. The truth is, as someone who’s gone through anxiety myself, we don’t want it to be our main thing that we’re known for. I’ve loved watching his character develop.
And obviously, I’ve loved what Tyler’s doing with present day Superman. Really, I’m just enjoying the whole thing come together. I think that the show and all the characters are blending together really nice and the storylines are cool. I definitely am enjoying how they’re writing Jordan, for sure.
Are there any other major or upcoming projects you can tell us about?
DK: Not that I can tell you about! I’ve been on set for other things. So yeah, look out for those in the future. They’ll be on my social media when they can be.
What do you hope to accomplish with the rest of 2021?
DK: I mean, that’s a great question. I would love to just get back to normal. I think that as people, as the world, that should be our main goal. Keep following the rules. Hopefully with vaccinations rolling out, this year we’ll get back to normal. That’s really my main priority.
I want to get back to normal life. With hybrid school and all that, I think it can weight down on you a little bit. We might not even know what to do with ourselves when we’re allowed to go into a store without a mask on. I’m excited for that feeling.
In terms of acting, auditions are coming in. I would love to just book that next new project and stay as busy as I can, with work. Stay caught up with school. Like I said, first and foremost, let’s get things back to normal. I hope that everyone listening to this will get through it unscathed.
For anyone who has just become aware of you through Superman and Lois, where can they find you on social media?
DK: I’m most active on Instagram – @dylan.kingwell.
On a late note, how would you sum up Superman and Lois for anyone who is unfamiliar?
DK: I think like I’ve already said in this interview, the most prominent thing for me is that it’s its own rendition. A fantastic team of writers, directors and producers behind it, who have unique visions. I think it’s 100% worth the watch for that reason. You’ll get tons of material and content that you may not have expected and certainly have never received from other Superman adaptations.
While still at the same time enjoying the classic characters that you’ve known and loved for a long time.
Thanks again for taking the time to speak with us, Dylan. It was so great to hear from you! Take care and stay safe!
DK: Of course, thanks for me having me. I hope you guys are safe over there in the UK and it was a great time, thank you.