The newest adaptation of Superman almost here! The series “Superman and Lois” is premiering tomorrow on the CW. The show focuses on the family life of Clark Kent, Lois Lane and their two sons. And the couple have just moved their family back to Clark’s hometown Smallville. In this new series, we’ll get to see new sides of our favorite Man on Steel and see what he’s like as a dad. Jordan Elsass plays Superman’s oldest son Jonathan (but you may also recognize him from Little Fires Everywhere). Before the show kicks off this week, YEM spoke with Jordan about Superman’s legacy, his craft and what superhero fans can expect from the new DC show.
Young Entertainment Mag: Were you a Superman fan before joining the show?
Jordan Elsass: Definitely was a fan of Superman, 100 percent. I would say I was more of a DC fan in general because growing up The Dark Knight trilogy and Smallville were a few of my favorite go-tos. Definitely a lot of nostalgia surrounding Smallville especially. Since it was a show, it took up a lot more time. I watched it over… I probably watched all ten seasons two or three times. That was my go-to but I was definitely a DC fan. But I have to say, I was never super into the comics. I do want to go back and read the ones that I never did. I was definitely a Superman fan, just more on the screen. More of the classics, Christopher Reeve films, even the new ones but especially Smallville.
YEM: How does this new show Superman and Lois differ from versions of Superman and Lois Lane that we’ve seen before? What are these versions of Clark Kent and Lois Lane like?
Jordan: There are several new elements. One of the biggest new spins in this version is the family dynamic. Now that Superman and Lois are settling down and they have kids, that adds a whole new spin. Even beyond that, just between Superman and Lois, there is this amazing husband and wife dynamic that is so real and grounded. You think “oh, that’s really what parents are dealing with, I’ve seen my parents go through it. I’ve seen their struggles. This is real.” There is something so tangible about it and it’s something that fans will appreciate. We’ve never seen quite this level, especially with the two boys.
YEM: You play Clark and Lois’ oldest son Jonathan Kent. What is Jonathan like? Does he have any similarities to his parents?
Jordan: Definitely. Jonathan, in general, I think is a little more like Lois. He’s pretty reserved. I wouldn’t say he’s a super private person. I think he’s very extroverted because of his status at school. Back home in Metropolis, he was the jock, the star quarterback crushing it on the field. He was the star at school but as his environment changes, he’s going to change. He’s going to become a little more introverted, a little more guarded. A little more secretive and he’s not necessarily going to let people know what’s going on inside his head. That’s a big element of Jonathan’s character.
But he’s also funny. He’s sarcastic, he cares about his brother (Jordan Kent) and his family very much. He’s a good kid, his heart is in the right place. And he’s just really doing what he can. I think he’s having a hard time adjusting to his new life in Smallville. It’s not what he’s used to and it’ll be interesting to see how he takes the change.
YEM: Since the family just moved back to Smallville, does Jonathan know what life was like for his parents when they grew up in Smallville? Do the kids know how this town grew their father into the superhero he is today?
Jordan: I think that Clark would be divulging some of that information like “this is what it’s like. This is what it was like at the farm. This is where we would go to have fun,” etc. I think he wants his sons to understand that but he also knows that they’re young and that they have a lot to learn. He doesn’t want to dump everything on them at once, but he and Lois slowly start to teach these boys lessons and there are reasons behind that. The fact of the matter is, they’re not just in that town for Superman or for Lois or for Clark – it’s for the whole family. Clark knows that the boys may not be happy, or Jonathan especially may not be happy with such a massive change in lifestyle. I think he hopes that they’ll like the town as much as he did.
YEM: Did the writers tell you what the family relationship was like in Metropolis? Before the family moved to Smallville like we see in the pilot? What was life like for the family in Metropolis?
Jordan: Smallville is definitely a big move for the Kent family, but I think even before that there was a similar dynamic where they all got along phenomenally. However, I think Clark was not as present as maybe he should’ve been. That’s part of what we’re going to come to learn. He’s Superman, he’s out saving the world a lot, so he’s not always there will the boys. But he wants to work on that and he wants to be a better father. He cares about his boys and loves them so, so much. And so does Lois. They really care about their boys and want them to have great lives, and Clark hopes that moving to Smallville will promote that change. And he can be a little more tangible in the boys lives.
YEM: Since Smallville turned Clark Kent into Superman, will we see your character put on a suit of his own?
Jordan: Here’s the honest answer – truth is, I have no clue. I’ll leave it at that because I genuinely don’t know. I can’t say it’s not possible, I’ve definitely heard rumors of where my character may be going. But you never know -it can be anything.
YEM: Our fans also know you from your role as Trip on Little Fires Everywhere. What was it like to work with Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington?
Jordan: It was phenomenal. They’re amazing women, amazing role models, amazing people. Consistent, coming to set all the time with smiles on their faces and jokes up their sleeves. Just ready to have a good time but extremely professional. They’re dedicated to their work and their craft. Really a pleasure to watch.
YEM: Did working with them on Little Fires Everywhere influence your acting in any way? What are some things you learned from working on that set?
Jordan: When I booked that show, at the time I didn’t really have in my head that I was going to act as my career. I thought “this is a hobby, I love it but I don’t know if I would keep doing this.” At the time I was in school. So when I booked the show, it was very surreal. It felt like “wow, this is really happening. I might actually get to do this for a living.” So I guess I learned from them how to be an actor, you know? How to really be an actor.
I watched them, especially Reese because I had so many scenes with her, I really watched her and saw how she would present herself around everybody. The rest of the cast, the crew, how she would have conversations with the writers about her character and the director. I realized “that’s what an A-lister does. That’s something to watch and to replicate.” Just being consistent, never having a bad day at work, always showing up with a smile.
YEM: Your character actually set some of the fires on Little Fires Everywhere. What is it like filming a scene where you’re working with fire?
Jordan: Sometimes in projects, you may have full CGI fire. But it this case there was real fire. We had fire bars, which were like a metal hose almost but thicker. It has holes poked in it and gas goes through the holes and you can spark it and it just goes into flames essentially. So you’d have this wall of fire to react to. Those were some draining scenes – just all day acting terrified for your life. But it’s a blast too, and the real fire definitely helped in that situation.
YEM: Working with fire needs to be done carefully, and in a way it is almost like you’re doing your own stunts. Are there any stunts you had to do on Superman & Lois?
Jordan: There’s definitely going to be a lot of action. A lot of that action is going to be Superman, but the boys have plenty of action of their own. I’ve actually done some of my own stunt work depending on what it is. Stunts are just such a blast to do – I wish I was Tom Cruise and could just go for it. But I think there’s going to be more to come and it will be really fun to watch. That’s my favorite part of the job.
YEM: Right now with COVID, so many productions are being shut down for safety reasons, and a lot of actors are out of work. What advice would you give to actors who aren’t able to work on set right now?
Jordan: It’s tough. I remember before COVID I went through a dry spell where I didn’t book much at all. And that’s how it is for everyone right now. I’m so lucky that I booked the show before COVID, and of course we’re still having to follow very strict protocol on set. I would say keep your head up. Continue working on your craft. Think of classes you can take. You don’t have to spend money to work on your craft. Something that I would do if contact my agent or manager and say “can you send me some scripts? I would like to do a self-tape at home” and then ask them to give you some notes. You can even do that with a family member – it’s just nice to get some honest feedback.
YEM: Finally, what is one word you would use to describe Superman and Lois?
Jordan: How about two… “visually stunning.” It’s a beautiful show. The way it’s shot, the special effects, it’s very cinematic. There – that’s the one word! Cinematic!