In ‘Superman & Lois,’ the Heroes Face a New Menace: Teenagers

There is a line of dialogue in the opening episode of “Superman & Lois,” premiering Tuesday on the CW, that sums up the latest depiction of this storied super-romance. Lois Lane (portrayed by Elizabeth Tulloch) tells Clark Kent (played by Tyler Hoechlin), the alter ego of the Man of Steel, “No one ever dreams about the problems, but every life has them — even the extraordinary ones.”

“Superman and Lois” opens more than a decade after the marriage of Clark and Lois and finds the couple facing dilemmas impervious to Superman’s powers: the loss of a loved one; layoffs at The Daily Planet; a threat of foreclosure at the Kent family farm in Smallville, where Clark grew up. Lois and Clark are also raising two teenage sons, one of whom has been diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, and the demands of being Superman have made Clark somewhat of an absent father. With puberty comes superpowers in at least one of the boys, who until now were unaware of their father’s caped crusading. Will relocating to Smallville help mend the family?

“Superman & Lois” is the first series to focus on the couple since “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,” which aired on ABC from 1993 to 1997, but Tulloch and Hoechlin are not new to these roles. They have played the characters in high-stakes crossover stories like “Elseworlds” and “Crisis on Infinite Earths” — special event mini-series that aired as part of other DC Comics shows on the CW, like “The Flash” and “Supergirl.”

Tulloch and Hoechlin answered questions about this new chapter in the lives of Superman and Lois in a joint phone interview last week. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.

The series finds Lois, Clark and their teenage sons relocating to Smallville. “The show is really about a family,” Tulloch said.Credit…Dean Buscher/CW

What do you think viewers will find most relatable about the new series?

ELIZABETH TULLOCH The show is really about a family, and it’s a family that is dealing with a lot of the same kinds of issues that people around the world are dealing with right now. The Superman and Lois aspect is secondary. It’s interesting to see these iconic characters struggle. They are at the pinnacle of their careers, but as parents to teenagers, they are faltering a little.

TYLER HOECHLIN It’s not like you show up every week and they have all the answers. That aspect allows you to put yourself in their shoes.

One theme that is pretty universal is the idea of returning to your roots.

HOECHLIN I’ve been acting since I was nine; the idea of home has always been interesting to me because I’ve bounced around so often. It’s always tough when you leave and come back, whether nothing or everything has changed. For Clark, he thinks that Smallville, which has meant so much to him, is a shell of itself.

What are your favorite parts of being in this series so far?

HOECHLIN In the pilot, things aren’t going great. There’s a lot of hardship. We’re allowed to sit in those intimate times. We didn’t get that chance in any of the crossovers.

TULLOCH I really love scenes with this iconic duo and couple. Even when they disagree, there’s respect. They don’t agree on whether to tell the boys about his powers. He’s putting his foot down, but she’s letting her views be known.

Jordan Elsass (with Inde Navarrette) plays one of the younger Kents.Credit…CW

What is it like playing such iconic characters?

TULLOCH I love playing Lois. There’s a reason she’s lasted so long — she embodies the aphorism “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Clark saves the world as Superman, and Lois saves the world with words. I’ve had a blast playing her, especially as a mom.

HOECHLIN I came into the part playing the character a couple of times on “Supergirl.” It’s kind of crazy what it’s turned into. I enjoy seeing Lois and Clark as a married couple and watching two brothers growing up. I have two brothers, so I know that life really well.

Are there any past interpretations of the characters that influence you?

HOECHLIN I’ve not seen a single Superman movie. I’m usually so afraid to say that, but it just feels better to say it. It was not because I didn’t want to, but as a kid, they just weren’t the movies I saw. I recall watching two or three episodes of “Lois and Clark” with my mother. With “Supergirl,” I did not want to see other versions of Superman. If I have an instinct to do something, I didn’t want it to be emulating or shying away from someone else’s version.

TULLOCH The only Lois I’ve seen is Margot Kidder’s, who I absolutely loved. When I booked this role, I also consciously made the decision not to see other versions. I want my Lois to succeed on her own.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

HOECHLIN I always go with flight. I’ve got such a huge travel bug. I’d love to see the world and see how other people live, see other cultures. If I can get there with free airfare …

TULLOCH I was going to say flight, too, because I love traveling. It would be birçok to blink an eye and be in Paris, blink an eye and be in Iceland. I think teleportation is better. If I fly with you, I’ll get cold up there.

HOECHLIN But you would enjoy the view! I don’t know what the view is from teleportation.

Comics fans can be pretty enthusiastic, and Superman and Lois are two of the medium’s most famous characters. Have you had any notable fan encounters?

HOECHLIN This is my favorite: I was in New York on the phone with my agent. A guy walked by, he had his backpack and headphones on. He saw me and then he looked back at me and ripped his shirt open like a Superman thing. He gave me a nod and I gave him a nod. It was the greatest.

TULLOCH I still get recognized more from “Grimm,” but three days before “Elseworlds” aired, I was at Wales Comic Con. The episode with me as Lois had not even aired yet, but I was starting to sign a lot of Lois Lane photos. Little girls said to me, “I want to be a journalist because of Lois Lane.”

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