(Photo: Freestyle Releasing/Everett Collection)Hunky Clark Kent lookalike Brandon Routh, 32, got his big break as the lead in 'Superman Returns' in 2006. While the movie grossed $391 million internationally, the expensive production didn't spawn a sequel, and Routh surrendered the cape. Six years later, tempered by time, supporting roles and a part on TV's "Chuck," Routh stars in the amiable sports movie "Crooked Arrows," a family-friendly film about a Native American lacrosse team. And, hot news, this fall Routh will play a gay nurse in CBS's sitcom "Partners," from "Will & Grace" creators David Kohan and Max Mutchnick.
Thelma Adams: Had you ever played lacrosse before you took this role as a cynical college lacrosse star that ends up coaching a tribal team?
Brandon Routh: No, but the story was about a sport I was really interested in. I wanted to learn more about lacrosse — and get paid to learn how to play a cool sport.
TA: I didn't realize that lacrosse was created by Native Americans who sometimes played the game for two to three days straight from sun-up to sundown. Your character is a half-Native American who initially turned his back on his traditions. You have Native American roots, right?
BR: Yes. I'm Chickapoo, watered down quite a bit, on my father's side.
TA: This movie seems like a passion project for you — why is that?
BR: We want to help spread lacrosse across the country. Fans of lacrosse will love the movie for action. But above all, it's just a great story about fathers and sons, sisters and brothers, and teamwork -- everyone working together to create a better team and a better community.
TA: Your career has been a little subdued since you starred in "Superman Returns." What do you think of the so-called curse of Superman — and the untimely deaths of so many actors who played that part, like George Reeves, Christopher Reeves, Lee Quigley and the rest? Even Kate Bosworth has said that her role as Lois Lane cost her her engagement to Orlando Bloom.
BR: There is no curse of Superman. My life has changed in the most amazing ways since playing that role and that's the simple fact of it. Without that you would not know who I am. I would not be the working actor that I am.
TA: They're resurrecting the franchise with Henry Cavill in the lead. Do you have any advice for him?
BR: From what I've read he seems like a pretty level-headed guy. He'll treat it with the respect it deserves. The curse is nonsense. Live your own life and make your own decisions.
TA: That seems to be working out in your career. You've just been cast as Wyatt in the CBS sitcom "Partners." You play the gay love interest of one of the partners. Did the role require any special preparation?
BR: There was no need to prepare. Any of that aspect of that character is driven by the script and story. What I like about Wyatt is, regardless of his sexuality, his positive attitude and wonderful naivete. He's a former club-hopping alcoholic and now is a sober vegan nurse. I think of him as a slightly dim Mr. Rogers.
TA: So, are there a lot of cardigans in your future?
BR: I get to wear a lot of smocks.
TA: Given your character, what's your position on gay marriage?
BR: I think it should absolutely be available to everyone in every state in every country.
Watch 'Crooked Arrows' Trailer: