Brandon Routh and Sam Huntington first met each other when they played the iconic roles of Superman and Jimmy Olsen in Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns.
Now, five years later, they are together again in the genre movie Dylan Dog: Dead of Night, directed by Kevin Munroe. In it Brandon Routh plays Dylan, the world’s only private investigator of the undead with a business car which reads, ‘No pulse, no problem.’ Huntington portrays Dylan’s assistant Marcus, who when he’s killed turns into a zombie, which is probably not too much of a stretch for the actor, as he is currently starring on SyFy’s series Being Human as Josh, a werewolf.
I spoke with Brandon and Sam about their new venture and their continuing friendship.
This was a very obscure comic book, had you ever heard of it?
Brandon: I had a little bit of knowledge, I had a friend who’d spent seven years in Italy, in his teenage years, and so he grew up reading them. And so he’d mentioned them to me before.
When the script came to me I recognized the name and I called him up and I said, ‘Is this the comic book you used to read?’ He was like, ‘Yeah, that’s so awesome.’ And he said, ‘If you did this it would be cooler for me than you playing Superman,’ because he grew up reading Dylan Dog.
You worked together in Superman Returns, how instrumental were you in getting Sam the role?
Brandon: I had to prove to everyone that Sam was funny, which was really challenging. Sam, unbeknownst to me, had actually been in and read for the part when there was a different director attached. Then I was offered the film and read the script and thought of him instantly and talked to him about it. He said, ‘Oh actually, I already went in for that, I really liked it.’ I said, ‘Oh, that’s cool.’ So from that point on it was kind of our mission to make it happen.
You have a great rapport on screen. Is that from working together before or was it there immediately again?
Brandon: We basically met on Superman and then became friends in our lives as well. So that was the most preparation we needed for Marcus and Dylan’s character interaction. The way it was on the page was kind of how we –
Sam: Talk to each other and are.
Brandon: So it was pretty natural. He’s freaking out and I say, ‘Calm down, Sam.’
Did you have fun doing the Raymond Chandler type of narration? It’s like a film noir without being a film noir.
Brandon: It was cool. That came in fairly late in the process. I think it was an idea that had been thrown around. Kevin and I talked about it early on, but didn’t shoot the movie with that in mind, but came to realize that maybe it would add a little more character and really intensify the film noir detective story aspect. So it was fun.
Sam: And also I think it kind of helps to inform the film and the character too, fleshes it out.
Brandon: Dylan doesn’t say a lot. In films you don’t have to talk a lot, it’s a visual medium, but in that respect it was kind of nice to be able to fill in the blanks a little bit with moody behavior, to give a little bit of what he’s actually thinking.
Can you talk about working with actors as the monsters, as this wasn’t all CGI.
Brandon: It was very little CGI. That was one of the things that attracted me to the movie, because the intention from the very beginning was to have as much physical make up as was possible. That’s something I grew up loving and watching.
I watch the movies now and they do great things with computers, the stuff looks amazing, but it’s still not as real, and sometimes you lose that tension that can exist in a scene when it’s something that’s not really there. So it was great to actually have those big slobbering beasts right in front of me and be fighting them.
What makes Dylan able to withstand the kind of brutal things that happen to him?
Brandon: There might be something going on underneath there with Dylan. I think there is some back story that he may not be –
Sam: One hundred percent –
Brandon: Totally mortal.
What was the zombie’s make up process like compared to the becoming a werewolf in Being Human?
Sam: It was every day for me, which would be the primary difference but it was just paint, it was just airbrush. They drew me out, they made me look real lean and scrawny, which as you can see I’m fat, so that was very difficult for them. But if you are really paying attention it actually does get progressively worse. But so it was very minimal and easy. I actually liked it, it made me look skinny. I was psyched. I was like, ‘It’s the diet.’
You shot this in New Orleans. Was it a weird contrast with some amazing places and then the rundown parts?
Brandon: Yeah, driving through town you could see different phases of things being worked on (since Katrina). We actually did a build with “Building Together” which is an organization down in New Orleans, [some cast] members and some of the crew went and worked on a house in the 9th Ward, which was cool.
Sam: You know what the funny thing was? I’ve worked in New Orleans before Katrina, and this was after, and I feel like when I went there the first time, I wasn’t really crazy about it. I just wasn’t in the right mindset I think and also the city just felt different.
When I went back, it’s always been a proud city but they really respected what they had, and were grateful for what they had, and it seemed different somehow, better for me.