“Man of Steel” marks Henry Cavill’s first performance as Superman, but he’s not the only actor playing that role in the new film. He shares the screen with Cooper Timberline and Dylan Sprayberry, who play Kal-El/ Clark Kent during the character’s childhood in Smallville. And after small roles in films like “Land of the Lost” and “Old Dogs,” Sprayberry shoulders an enormous responsibility in the film, shepherding the iconic character through some of the most difficult and important times of his life.
MTV News recently spoke to Sprayberry about his performance in “Man of Steel.” Naturally gregarious and armed with a wit faster than a speeding bullet, the young actor discussed the process of landing the role and talked about the challenges — physical and emotional — of bringing such a famous character to life. And as the budding thespian begins to build a fanbase, he revealed his first challenge as a public figure — to get a Twitter account.
MTV: Tell me about the audition process. What was that like?
Dylan Sprayberry: I probably went in about four or five times for the audition and they were keeping everything really under wraps. They didn’t want anyone to know what it was for, they wouldn’t tell me anything. I did a monologue from “Stand By Me” … [When] I got the third callback and I found out that it was going to be for Superman and then they started pairing me up with younger versions and that’s when I met Zack and Deborah Snyder. I auditioned for the bully actually as well, but I didn’t really fit that one as much. But I kept going back in a few times just to match up and make sure that I look like Henry.
MTV: After all those callbacks, you get the role. What’s going through your head?
Sprayberry: I think the biggest thing for me was the fact that I got to work again. As an actor, I just want to get on set and do my thing. It recently hit me how big this is going to be. I could only kind of think about what it is going to be like in my head and then I finally saw the movie and it’s like “Wow, this is way beyond what I thought this was ever going to be.”
MTV: This is kind of every kid’s dream, right?
Sprayberry: Exactly. I think a lot of the percentage of young boys when they are growing up want to be a superhero. I know I did. I would put a towel on my back, run around, and across my couch and try to practice flying and things like that. So I was definitely a fan just of superheroes in general and then you have Superman the ultimate superhero — it was like a dream come true.
MTV: I know Zack has said that he really wanted to tell an origin story. Going into it, how much did he tell you ahead of time?
Sprayberry: We talked a few times, whenever I was filming. He came in and talked to me and Cooper [Timberline], the younger, younger, version. And he was just explaining how he wants this to be a heartfelt movie, not like a superhero movie, but like something that could actually be a real thing. And it was something that I kind of picked up on myself because I could tell this is really a kid who just wants to be normal — is struggling to be normal.
MTV: There’s a big scene of you pulling a bus filled with kids out of the water. What was it like filming the scene?
Sprayberry: It was cold for a while! No, I’m just joking. That was probably the funnest part of filming, being able to do such extreme action like that, and I got to do it myself. I got to do my own stunts. I put everything I had into it. It actually almost felt like I was actually doing it. Which is what I wanted people to think in the movie. We want it to be believable.
MTV: Did you ever get to meet Henry or spend time with him on set?
Sprayberry: We met a few times. He was so busy filming the whole time. But I met him once, actually when he was in the suit, so that was great. I was like “Wow!” I got to see him up close and person in the suit and we talked for a while and then I saw him once more at the kick-off party and we got along very well. We were both pretty busy during filming. I actually saw him the other day too. And he is great and so nice and so down to earth.
MTV: Has it ever crossed your mind that 10 years from now, you could end up playing Superman himself?
Sprayberry: I actually thought of that. I don’t know if I ever took it completely seriously, but I’d be like “Hey, that would be a cool thing.” My friends would always joke about it with me, and I would say, “Actually, that would be cool. I hope that they would do that.” Because I think that they need to continue this story because this is such a great movie and there is so much that you can do with it now going forward.
MTV: What is it like being in the spotlight? Any crazy or funny interactions on Twitter or with fans?
Sprayberry: Not on Twitter. My friend Devin Fox had an event and I went up on stage and the host was like, “Dylan doesn’t have a Twitter,” and I was like “Oh yeah, no. I don’t.” And everyone was like “Ahh no! You have to get a Twitter!” The whole crowd was like, “You got to get a Twitter.” So then I did. I have a Twitter now.
MTV: Peer pressure.
Sprayberry: Peer pressure. I had to get a Twitter.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Man of Steel.”