Not unlike the character that would catapult his acting career, Brandon Routh was born in a rural state, far from the bright lights of Hollywood. Raised in the Des Moines suburb of Norwalk, IA, Routh discovered his love of acting in high school when he began participating in community theater at the Norwalk Theater of the Performing Arts. After graduation, he enrolled at the University of Iowa intending to study English. His desire to begin his career was too much to resist, however, and he left after a year to see what opportunities might await him on the West Coast.
Routh began paying his dues with appearances on Odd Man Out, Undressed, and Gilmore Girls. In 2002, he completed a year-long stint on the soap opera One Life to Live, continuing to make single-episode appearances over the next few years on popular shows like Cold Case, Will & Grace, and Oliver Beene.
Then, around 2004, Routh auditioned for the one of the most sought-after roles of the decade: Superman. The upcoming relaunch of the Superman franchise had been through copious adjustments and would still see more, and Routh originally auditioned for director McG, who was signed to the film at the time. Numerous directors had, in fact, been tied to the film over a period of development that would take over ten years to come to fruition. By the time Superman Returns would go into production, the names Tim Burton, Wolfgang Petersen, Brett Ratner, Shekhar Kapur, and more had been officially or unofficially linked to the film. Just as many actors were considered for the leading role, both legitimately and in rumor, from Nicolas Cage in the early stages to actors like Jake Gyllenhaal, Ashton Kutcher, and Josh Hartnett more recently.
When director Bryan Singer was secured as director, however, he wanted the Man of Steel to be a fresh face. Impressed by the performance Routh had given in his audition for McG, as well as the young actor's uncanny resemblance to both the classic depictions of Superman and the late Christopher Reeve, who'd immortalized the hero in earlier films, Routh was eventually offered the part. ~ Cammila Albertson, Rovi