Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the most romantic superhero show ever produced, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, is Teri Hatcher and Dean Cain — respectively Lois Lane and Clark Kent/Superman — who took to the stage at the 2018 edition of New York Comic-Con to reflect on the series. What follows is the Q&A that took place between the actors and the gathered fans.
Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman ran from 1993-1997 with millions of viewers. What was your impression with Lois getting the top billing?
TERI HATCHER: “It was exciting. It meant that they were going to put romance first and foremost — the comedy and the relationship. That was exciting and new in their approach vs. the adventures of fighting and saving the world, which was the usual approach.”
DEAN CAIN: “Today, people would say, ‘Oh, how progressive!’, but then? We just did it and weren’t thinking about.”
TERI: “To be fair, we had a woman as the showrunner.”
Dean, do you think that Clark could have been the facade and Superman the true identity?
DEAN: “No. Clark was the real guy and Superman was definitely the outfit he put on. As time went on, I preferred Clark over Superman.”
TERI: “It was the tights. You didn’t like wearing the tights. By the way, your tights and I had a reunion! Kevin Smith and I did an interview, and on set, your suit was there! I looked at it, and I told Kevin “You have to give Dean credit. He pulled this off pre-plastic muscle suits.”
DEAN: “It was me. All me, all the time. We also just did a little run on Supergirl, and I experienced suit envy. Melissa [Benoist] has such a cool suit.”
Each of you got to take on a villainous role on Supergirl. Has it been satisfying taking on the darker sides of superheroes?
TERI: “There’s nothing like the fans of Lois & Clark. And I knew they’d get the biggest kick of seeing us back in the genre. And getting to play a vile alien. It was fun to turn off that morality gene and be as evil as I wanted to be. I’ve never done that before.”
With the Arrowverse opening up multiverses, could Lois and Clark exist in your universe?
TERI: “It would be amazing. I’d love it.”
DEAN: “It’d need more than one episode! I’d love to see what Lois and Clark are up to 25 years later.”
What’s the biggest difference between filming now and then?
DEAN: “When we started, the Internet didn’t exist. So we never got feedback until we started going to Comic Cons.”
TERI: “There was no twitter. It was a kinder time. [laughter]”
At the time, did you feel like you were doing anything different or special?
TERI: “We should have thought about this at the time, but we didn’t. I just look back at it now and say how we worked really hard. We tried to bring these characters to life, and we tried to make it feel grounded and human. On a day to day basis though? Didn’t think about it.”
DEAN: “I just kind of went with it. I think Lois drove the show, and I think Terri was the best Lois we had. Lois made things happen and Clark was just reactionary. The chemistry was great, though. You can even see real couples act together and get critiqued for not having chemistry. We depended on each other, which just sort of happened.”
Did you have difficulty getting work after?
TERI: “No, I had a baby.”
What was the journey from Lois & Clark to Desperate Housewives?
TERI: “Well, I was four months pregnant during the fourth season of Lois & Clark. I was a latch-key kid growing up, and I didn’t want to be that kind of parent. A lot of people are not blessed to have that option, but since I did get to make that choice, I opted to do so. There was no way I wanted to be on a television schedule while raising my kid. Four years later, I felt ready to come back and the script came along. I had one of the best auditions of my life for that role, and that’s how that happened.”
How did Clark afford that huge NY apartment and what were your favorite moments?
DEAN: “I love that apartment question! Maybe it was a rundown place he DIY’d?”
TERI: “My one iconic, favorite moment was from the pilot in that shot where Superman flies Lois in the window and down to her desk. It was really difficult, but so huge and all-encompassing. You have the flying and heroism along with the newsroom. That was a huge moment. But my favorite episode was the “Honeymoon in Metropolis” with small scenes with a lot of physical comedy. That’s my wheelhouse.”
DEAN: “Told you she was a thinker! The moment of flying was amazing. It was fun! My favorite moment was in Season 2 where Clark proposes to Lois and she asks, ‘Who’s proposing – Clark or Superman?’ That struggle for the relationship summed up the show … though Terri in the bathtub was pretty good.”
When you learned about this show’s intent — the marriage of Lois and Clark — what were your responses?
TERI: “I don’t remember — is that awful? Maybe because at that time, I was much less aware of the comics or how a TV show attaches to the comics. Now, I live in downtown LA near a comic store, and I’ve become a totally authentic comic book geek to include Saga, Paper Girls, Faith, and many more. I could go on, but it’s given me an education that I didn’t pay attention to at all at that time, so I wasn’t tracking the wedding in the comics concurrent with the show.”
DEAN: “I’d love to see the comic store she goes to! Why is she buying everything but Superman stuff?” Back to the wedding, we weren’t able to tell folks what to do with the wedding — and the fake out. We wanted to explore the wedding, marriage and family building, but we weren’t asked. So we got the odd fake wedding.”
TERI: “That’s why I don’t remember!”
DEAN: “They could have done more at the time, but I’d like to see where they are 25 years later. Let’s do it!”
On the final episode, there was a mysterious baby. Where is that baby now?
DEAN: “I can see it being a Kryptonian child. I could see them having college-aged kids. Lois could be mayor and Clark is pushing papers at the Daily Planet.”
TERI: “We’ve independently explored the story and what it would be if we did a reboot. I spoke to folks at Warner Bros, but it’s a complicated sell as they have their own plan for their superheroes. That said, my imagination went darker. What if they had this kid, part of how it worked was the kid would start to have the powers and Superman lost his as they both can’t have the powers. Then the teenager struggles to figure out what to do and maybe he makes bad choices as teens can do. The older Superman would have to get his powers back … I was also thinking about real marriages and how Clark might feel broken down by Lois’ success and his loss of power, and that Lois would have to help rebuild the marriage.”
DEAN: “Somewhere in there we have a good story!” Maybe that’s why Marvel is kicking DC’s butts with the movies?”
How do you feel as a legacy actor on a show, e.g. Smallville or Supergirl?
TERI: “My first thought was to try and honor fans. I thought you’d all think this was cool, so I did it. It was a nice nod to this world of fandom.”
DEAN: “Agreed. I loved being a part of that whole world. Some actors push back against being associated with those roles, but I love to embrace being a part of that world. I’m a fan! I love seeing Lynda Carter play the president on Supergirl!”
Thoughts on working on set?
TERI: “Working with Lane Smith as Perry White was great. Every character helped build that whole show.”
DEAN: “Having Ma and Pa Kent helped flesh out Clark. Our Ma and Pa. I don’t picture Kevin Costner [from Man of SteelI]. Why didn’t Superman save him? I would have saved him! I don’t get that.”
I like optimism in my Superman!
DEAN: “So do I!”
You go to work with fresh faces on Supergirl. As actors, did you find them looking up to you as the older players?
DEAN: “Don’t say old!! Say previous actors! I was in the pilot episode, and I spoke with Melissa [Benoist], there’s a lot of work to be all of these characters — the person and the hero. It’s a lot of work. One day on Lois & Clark, we shot for 22 hours.vSo I congratulated Melissa and I told her to take care of herself as it’s a marathon and not a sprint. If you’re not careful, you can lose yourself in it all.”
TERI: “They didn’t need my advice, but they were super welcoming and friendly. I didn’t feel higher or lower — just another actor trying to do well by the character within the context of that world. But I’d give the same advice if asked.”
DEAN: It was funny, though, because we shot that Supergirl pilot on the same set as Lois & Clark. And it was odd not being the one to be flying around. Things seemed to move faster, though, because it’s all shot digitally — no need to reload film and things like that, which we had to wait for. We didn’t have that.”
If there was one comic book superhero, who would you pick — DC or Marvel?
TERI: “I don’t think I have anything.”
DEAN: “The first one that calls me!” [laughter] That said, the first Captain America was amazing. I saw that film and I said, ‘Dang it. I want to be in that one.’ Then there was Deadpool and I said, ‘Dang it. I want to be in that one.”
Did you know what fifth season would have looked like?
DEAN: “No. I wanted to know, but they didn’t really bring us in and ask.”
TERI: “Same. Sorry.”
Best compliment and constructive criticism?
DEAN: “People will come up and share with us what the show meant to them as young people, because we’re old, and how it helped them get through difficult times or bond with family over watching a show together.”
TERI: “It’s the most heart-warming thing when people share where they were watching it and with whom. People who share those memories are great. But I haven’t really heard much in the way of constructive criticism.”
When you’re part of a Superman project, you’re a part of a small fraternity. Thoughts on this experience for being world-recognized?
TERI: “When we were in it, I don’t know we were thinking about it.”
DEAN: “You can forget these things are worldwide. I was in China, and then someone approached me and said ‘Superman!’ That’s great!”
TERI: It’s great to be a part, but it doesn’t mean you’re bigger or smaller. You help make the whole.”