Exclusive Interview: Dylan Sprayberry is Young Superman
By: Lynn Barker
You might have caught gorgeous, blue-eyed, actor Dylan Sprayberry, who will be 15 next month, on “Glee” or “iCarly” but landing the role of a teen Clark Kent in the new Superman film Man of Steel has elevated Dylan to a whole new level in Hollywood.
We caught up with the actor in L.A. and got deets on everything from his fave scene, meeting Superman himself, Henry Cavill and Lasertagging with Clark Kent’s mom in the film, Diane Lane, to good advice from his “dad” in the movie, veteran actor Kevin Costner.
We also learned how Dylan handles bullies, his pet peeve when out with friends and why filming water scenes while wearing a wetsuit can be funny if not too fun. Check it out!
Kidzworld: Had you read Superman comic books or seen the previous Superman films before getting the role and were you a fan?
- Dylan: I read more of the Superboy comic books so I could see how he was at a younger age. I do have Superman comics too and read the Action comics which were where he came from in the comics. I watched bits and pieces (of the movies) to flesh things out but I have the whole movie Superman collection.
Kidzworld: You didn’t have scenes with Henry Cavill who plays adult Clark but did you get to meet him?
- Dylan: I met him once before filming at the kickoff party in Chicago and met him once in the middle of filming. He was in the full Superman costume. It was so cool to see him. You don’t really know what it’s gonna look like and you see it up close and it’s like wow! He was one of the most down to earth people….for being an alien.
Dad (Kevin) shows Clark (Dylan) the ship he came to Earth in
Kidzworld: Ha! Which one of your young Clark scenes did you enjoy the most? I like the one where the school bus goes off a bridge into a river and you save everyone. Where was that shot and were you in the water a lot?
- Dylan: That is my favorite scene! We put so much work into that. In the bus before we go into the water, we filmed that in Plano, Illinois on this long, long road. Then when we go into the water, when I’m pushing the bus out of the water, we filmed that in this rock quarry full of water. I was in the water a lot. Then we filmed some in a green screen tank in Vancouver.
Dylan as young Clark saving his classmates
Kidzworld: Sounds like that might have been physically hard for you.
- Dylan: I got in shape for the movie so I was able to keep up with everyone but it was a challenge for me which I liked a lot.
Kidzworld: Have you ever been bullied like young Clark was and did your parents tell you to just hold back or fight back? Of course Clark could have really injured or killed somebody by fighting back.
- Dylan: I’ve not been as seriously bullied as Clark was in the movie but I’ve had confrontations with people who were being bullies at the time; people who weren’t the nicest and my parents just tell me to walk away from it. No need to fight back. You don’t have time to deal with it. There’s no sense in that.
- But, with Clark, he has a totally different mentality because some kids might need to stand up for themselves if it gets physical. And, if he did, he could really hurt somebody. He didn’t have complete control over his powers then.
Clark (Dylan) endures bullies
Kidzworld: What was the audition process like for the role? Were you up against a lot of other teen guys?
- Dylan: It was crazy. I heard that they auditioned guys all over the world for this. I auditioned here (in L.A.) at Warner Brothers and I went in five times for it. I performed a River Phoenix monologue from the movie Stand By Me and got a callback to do more readings. I finally read for Zack Snyder. I auditioned for both Clark and the bully in the movie. I had blonde hair. I’m a natural blonde but the black hair works. They dyed my hair.
Dylan as himself
Kidzworld: What was the vibe like working with Kevin Costner as your dad Jonathan Kent? Was he a buddy type guy or fatherly and giving you advice?
- Dylan: He was more fatherly. He treated me like an equal, like we were on the same level but he as more fatherly because he’s done way more (acting) than I have. He gave me good advice. The mood was serious “Let’s do the work” but also “This is what we love to do so let’s have fun while we’re doing it”.
- For advice, he talked about owning yourself. Every character will have some of you in it so you have to own yourself first. Also, things like finding your mark (on stage so you’ll be in the right place for the camera). You don’t have to stand right on it like a robot. Some people stand there and don’t move but we’re trying to be real people so you have to move around as long as the camera can see you.
Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent with Dylan as Clark
Kidzworld: Good advice. Did you work with Diane Lane (who plays Clark’s Earth mom) and if so, what was that like?
- Dylan: I didn’t get to but I went bowling with her. We were in Plano with Cooper Timberline who played the (even) younger Clark. I met Diane in the Chicago area. We went bowling first then Lasertagging. It was Diane, Cooper my father and Cooper’s mother. Not something you’d expect but a fun day.
Young Clark (Dylan) examines the Krypton ship
Kidzworld: Did anything funny happen on set that you can remember and tell us about?
- Dylan: Well, in that water scene with the bus, the water was getting cold at the end of the day and they had me put a wetsuit under the clothes I was wearing and it had a wide neck and the water would go down into the suit and give me this big, big belly. I looked like that marshmallow guy from Ghostbusters! They had to cut half of it off of me for it to go down so then it was a shirt and pants wetsuit.
A soaked Dylan in the film
Kidzworld: Funny! Compare working on this film with doing all your television work on “Glee” and “iCarly” for example.
- Dylan: Everything I’ve worked on has been very professional but this was a way different experience. I hadn’t done action like this. I’d never worked with a green screen. I’d never been around one and we filmed in this giant indoor tank with half the bus in the water. It’s a completely different feeling.
Dylan when he was on Glee
Kidzworld: What bands or music artists are you into right now?
- Dylan: I listen to music (on his iPod) to get into character on set. It helps set the mood for me. I just want to focus on one thing and that helps. Every genre is on my iPod. I’m listening to a lot of rap music, Biggie Smalls. I also like Led Zeppelin and things like that and 1920’s New York City stuff and soundtracks.
- A lot of my friends and people who go to my school are in the music industry. That interests me a lot. I go to a private school called Brighton Hall. It’s not a performing arts school but they’ll work with you if you have to go on set. They sent me all my homework. I did start learning the guitar but had to stop to do the movie. Might pick that up again.
Kidzworld: What actors would you just kill to co-star with?
- Dylan: I’ll name a few, Robert Duvall, Tom Hardy and Andrew Garfield and Channing Tatum. I just want to meet Channing. I’m always comparing myself to them and seeing how they do things.
Dylan checks out Man of Steel toys
Kidzworld: What are your pet peeves when you are out with friends?
- Dylan: I don’t like it when we’re all out and people just start whispering to each other and go off to themselves. They can do their own thing. I guess they have their reasons but it kind of bothers me sometimes. You always assume they are whispering about you. “Are you talking about me?” I’m a teenager so everyone is on their phone while in a group. I’m used to that.
Aww, tiny little blonde-haired Dylan
See Man of Steel in theaters this Friday the June 14th!