Superman, the character loved and revered by so many, has been brought to life by a number of actors, with Tom Welling and Brandon Routh being among the prominent ones. Welling stirred up television viewers with his captivating portrayal of a young Clark Kent in the celebrated series Smallville. Simultaneously, Routh charmed his way through the audience with his 2006 role in the movie Superman Returns.
Both actors have etched a remarkable mark in the Superman universe, adding their nuanced interpretations to the character. However, a common thread of embodying the world’s favourite superhero isn’t necessarily an assurance of camaraderie. In fact, it seems that there may have been some subtle tension between these two beloved Superman actors in the past.
During an insightful conversation on Michael Rosenbaum’s acclaimed Inside of Youpodcast, the former Lex Luthor shared an intriguing snippet from a phone conversation with Tom Welling. According to Rosenbaum, anticipating Routh as a future guest on the show, Tom Welling expressed his liking for Brandon Routh but added, with a touch of uncertainty, “I’m not sure if he likes me”. However, it appears that both of these renowned Superman actors might harbour similar doubts.
In a twist that feels straight out of a sitcom, Routh recounts why he initially felt Welling didn’t like him. This harks back to their first intriguing encounter at a Nike promotional event, incidentally, happening around the same time when Routh was announced for Superman Returns.
According to the 43-year-old actor, Welling was scheduled to attend the event after him, so he decided to stick around and meet him. When he finally had a chance to approach Welling, the interaction was relatively brief—much shorter than Routh had anticipated. This sparked questions in his mind, like whether Welling’s short response was due to the surge of feelings caused by him playing Superman on the big screen, a character Welling had played for a decade in the TV series Smallville. However, fast forward to their next meeting at a completely different event, and Routh was pleasantly surprised to find that Welling was much more open and engaging.
With a friendly greeting and sincere conversation, any trace of the initial awkwardness was completely swept away. It became clear to Routh that their initial encounter was simply a misunderstanding, and they were able to develop a friendly rapport after that. To clear the air, Routh did express himself on record: “I really like Tom”. They’ve apparently shared many engaging conversations and memorable moments at numerous conventions over the years, through which they’ve had ample opportunities to know each other more meaningfully.
It seems almost strange that Welling still thinks Routh may harbour ill feelings towards him. But thankfully, Rosenbaum, who is friends with both Welling and Routh, was able to mediate the situation and provide some clarity. He ended the discussion by saying, “Welling, Brandon likes you. Brandon, Tom likes you. It’s just the way it is”. And with this, the misunderstanding appears to be a thing of the past. Well, hopefully.