Every once in awhile, we get a very special privledge to talk directly with the incredibly talented and brilliant performers we see on our screens. Today, amid a cornucopia of various Covid-19 news stories, we are simply elated to bring you a bit of news meant to brighten your day and get a closer insight into Titan's Josh Orpin, the actor who plays Superboy on DC Universe's Titans! We asked Josh seven questions ranging from becoming Superboy, hopes for Superman, and what it takes to look the part. Our very heartfelt thanks to Josh for sharing his thoughts with us, check out the exclusive interview below:
- How did you feel when you heard you were going to be Superboy, one of the strongest superheroes in the DC Comics world?
It was surreal. It took quite a while to sink in... After that, I was just ecstatic, completely over the moon. It's a dream role! Of course I had moments of doubt, nervousness, even anxiety as I contemplated how fans might respond to seeing me in the role. Despite those moments, the overwhelming feeling was always pure excitement.
- You've mentioned in other interviews, you've read some of the comics with Conner in them, do you have any comics storylines that you'd like to see Titans adapt?
I was actually really pleased that elements from a couple of my favourite Teen Titans stories already made it into the second season! Namely, Judas Contract (loosely) and A Kid's Game. In that same run of comics there's a story where the Titans time travel 10 years into the future and encounter themselves as the heroes they eventually become (Tim Drake is Batman, Conner is Superman and so on). I reckon something like that could work as a cool self-contained story. Having said that, most of the stuff from the books I would love to see on screen is very much on the ambitious side...
- Playing a character that clearly has both hero and villain aspects within him how do you balance that conflict as an actor?
Every character has inner conflict to a degree, that's one of the things that makes it fun! I love that this character really takes it to the extreme. I try not to think of Conner's thoughts, feelings and actions as categorically heroic or villainous, but as natural responses to whatever the stimulus is that he's presented with. Conner doesn't really comprehend what it means to be a "hero" or "villain". His grasp of good and evil, even conceptually, is tenuous at best! So when I approach any given scene as an actor, I find it's actually better for me not to think too much about those ideas either.
- Are you hoping that we get Superman and have Kal-El show Conner the ropes of being part of the Super family?
Regardless of whether he actually appears in the show or not, Superman is of course a huge presence in Conner's life and the DC universe at large. I expect as he continues to consolidate his own identity (both as a person and a "superhero"), Conner will turn to the mythos of Superman for answers. In the comics, Clark has sometimes taken Conner under his wing, acting as a surrogate parent or a big brother. In other versions, he's shown more hostility towards Superboy... He IS a non-consensual clone created by his greatest enemy after all. I'm as curious as you are to see what kind of relationship they might have if Superman were to ever appear on Titans.
- Adding to the previous question, if Lex were to show up, what do you think Conner's reactions would be to him?
Well, I suppose Lex is the other side of that coin. I found it interesting that Conner was made aware that he shares Luthor's DNA from the beginning. So, he has no preconceived opinions of Lex as a person whatsoever, knowing only that he's "very smart". I think this leaves Conner more open to Lex's potential influence on him as a result. I think if they were to ever meet face to face on the show, Conner would tread a little more carefully after his experience with Mercy Graves, but ultimately give Lex the benefit of the doubt. He'd want to hear what the guy has to say.
- There’s been so many unique adaptations of Superboy across varying forms of DC media. How do you make this iteration your own?
When you come up performing characters from Shakespeare, you're usually the millionth person to play any given role. It's my opinion that it simply doesn't do much good to pay close attention to what other people have done in the past. You've basically just gotta start from scratch, work directly from the script and the source material. In this case, Superboy has such a rich and colorful history in comics, there's no dearth of source material to read.
I really have to thank Greg Walker, Rich Hatem and the writing team, they gave me an absolute gift of a script for that first episode! The fact that an entire episode was essentially devoted to Conner's introduction and origin story meant that I was given every opportunity to really make some strong choices and create a unique version of the character. Even something as simple as Conner's child-like nature was such a terrific angle, super original. I just had so much in there to work with.
- One aspect of being a "Super" is being in incredible shape, how do you keep your impressive figure?
In short, being very strict with what I eat and a lot of training. Before I found out that I'd been cast in the role, there was a period of time following the audition when I didn't even know what the role was. From the day I found out that I might be playing Superboy, I was in the gym. Luckily for me, I got the part, and was able to carry that momentum into my preparation for season 2. My focus initially was to build as much muscle as I could and just get big enough to fill out the t-shirt. It was tough, because I had very little time to get in shape, but my training continued throughout the year and I ended up making pretty decent progress.
The body building aspect of this role requires commitment and discipline to a level that basically dominates your life while you're doing it, but can be extremely rewarding if you stick with it long enough to see results. It's important to me to be in the best shape I can be for as long as I get to play this role, and I'm privileged to have had the help of some truly exceptional trainers at various stages along the way. Super excited to start work on the upcoming season, I've had much longer for the physical preparation this time around and my routine has been really solid!