Based on DC Comics characters created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, and developed by David S. Goyer comes new series Krypton, which takes place on the titular fictional planet around two centuries before the birth of Kal-El, otherwise known as Superman.
The series stars Cameron Cuffe as the Man of Steel's eventual grandfather, Seg-El, whose family have been both ostracised and shamed by the rest of the Krypton population. Hoping to both redeem his family in the eyes of his peers, and save his home from chaos, this is Seg-El's story that has never before been told on-screen.
We got the opportunity to put some questions to Cameron all about the series ahead of its UK premiere on E4, finding out about his love for the world of comic books, the superhero genre and more. Read on to find out what he had to say...
For those new to Krypton, how would you best describe the series and your character, Seg-El?
Krypton is a science-fiction drama set within the incredible DC Universe. We’re a different kind of show from what you may expect, full of twists and turns and not afraid to make bold choices. My character Seg-El is different from many DC characters you will have seen before. He’s a rogue and a con man when we first meet him, he’s adrift from the great legacy of The House of El. Seg doesn’t really know who he is or what he stands for until one day he is told by a time travelling superhero (Adam Strange) that he may just be the only one who can save his future grandson... Superman!
Did you feel a certain pressure stepping into this role, and being a part of DC history?
Yes and no. Before I was ever an actor I was a just a kid who loved comic books (I still do). I understand why Superman is so important to millions of people because he’s important to me too! Of course there’s a pressure to get it right but that pressure comes from the passion for this mythology and more than anything it fuels us all to give it our utmost. We’re carrying the torch and we understand the responsibility that comes with that.
How have you found the response to the series from fans in the US following the first season's run?
The fan reaction has been nothing short of amazing. From the beginning we had told fans that Krypton was not the kind of show they expected it to be. We always felt that we were doing something bold and different but you never really know until it’s out there in the world. To see how fans have embraced it has been wonderful, to see how they're fascinated by the characters both new and established, to see how they appreciate the risks we've taken but also to see that they understand how much passion has gone into it... it's everything we hoped for. It makes us all the more determined to push the boundaries even further with season 2.
What has it been like working with the likes of Georgina Campbell and Shaun Sipos on the series?
I feel so lucky to work with this incredible cast. They’re not only talented, hard working actors, but also truly wonderful people that I am lucky to call friends. George was a massive star to me before I met her. Her work speaks for itself, but when you play opposite her you have the incredible opportunity to watch a great artist at work. She has this remarkable ability to ‘switch it on’ in a way I didn’t know was possible. One minute we’re having a laugh onset and the next she’s a fierce warrior slamming people into walls and giving war speeches in a relentless search for justice. I’ve learned so much from working with her.
Shaun is another frequent scene partner and I love every minute of working with him. He’s funny and appears care free but there are few actors who work as hard as Shaun. He deeply cares about the work and I can say unequivocally that working with him has made me a better actor.
Can you tell us a little bit about a typical day on the set of the show? If indeed there are any 'typical' days!
There are rarely typical days! We start early and work hard but it truly is a wonderful set to be on. Make no mistake, it’s the people behind the camera who truly make a TV show or a film and we owe everything to our crew. They were passionate, generous and unbelievably funny from day one. I laughed hard every day.
We've already heard Lobo is heading to Krypton for season 2 - are there any other teasers you can give us about the second run?
Absolutely! Now that we’ve introduced the world and the characters in Season 1 we can take a much deeper dive in Season 2. We get to challenge the characters in new and different ways as so much of what they think they know about themselves and their world has been called into question. The crisis has taken a new form but it’s just as dangerous... and not everyone will make it through.
Which other major DC characters would you like to see pop up in Krypton's future?
Who’s to say? DC have been immensely supportive about our choices so far and we have a proud record of bringing characters to live action for the first time (Adam Strange, Lobo, Brainiac). There are many others out there we’d love to explore. For me, personally there are so many I’d love to see but I think The Legion of Superheroes would be particularly awesome.
How would you say Krypton differs from other shows within the superhero genre?
There are so many great superhero shows out there. It’s because of their success that we can diverge from the known formula. In our show no one is putting on a mask and fighting crime, in our show there aren’t even real heroes or villains. Everyone exists within complex shades of grey. Everyone is truly motivated to act the way they do, and to them ideals like good and evil are a matter of perspective. Our story is also one that explores consequence. In many superhero shows the villain of the week is defeated in 40 minutes and everyone goes back to the team base and starts again. In our show there are real consequences to every action. If our characters lose a battle they have to deal with that. Even if they win there is a cost. Every episode ends with a massive shift of the status quo.
Would you ever like to see Krypton make a move to the big screen?
We were asked this at Comic-Con too! We all love this story and if people want to see it we’d love to do it! We first debuted the show at SXSW in a cinema on the big screen. Our show is already so cinematic in terms of its ambition both narratively and visually that Krypton certainly feels at home on a big screen. My advice to everyone watching is to find the biggest screen you can, turn up the volume and grab the popcorn!
When you get time to yourself, either on set or when filming's done, how do you like to relax and wind down?
It really depends on the day to day. When I’m working I always end my day with a couple hours at the gym. It’s not relaxing but it does help me burn off the excess energy I get from the intensity of filming. When I have time off travel is key. It gives you perspective in a way that nothing else will. Always always though, I prioritise sleep. It’s an underrated thing but a good sleep can define a whole day.
Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman all need your help to survive, but you can only save two! Who's getting your help and who's being left behind?
I’d have to save Superman and Wonder Woman. They are simply irreplaceable and that’s not to say that Batman isn’t, but by Batman’s own admission, Superman and Wonder Woman represent the best in humanity in a way he never could. Also he’s Batman... he always has a contingency plan!
Finally, is there anything else you have coming up that you can share some details about?
Nothing I am at liberty to discuss at the minute. But keep an eye out!
Krypton premiered on E4 yesterday (August 19); catch up on the pilot episode now on All 4, and check out the series every Sunday on E4 at 9pm.