He got his first big break at the age of 15 in 2002 when he landed the role of Michael Sullivan Jnr in Sam Mendes’ Road to Perdition. “I was hedging the whole time I was there,” recalls Tyler Hoechlin. “My brother had been called in to audition, and I kept saying I wasn’t going to go in until the casting agents asked me if I was. But I did end up doing it, and wound up with the job. My brother did eventually forgive me after maybe a few years of not being best friends.”
In the business for over two decades now, he now enjoys a large following due to his role as werewolf Derek Hale from Teen Wolf, and, more recently, as Clark Kent/Superman on The CW’s Supergirl. “When I knew I was going to play Superman, I realised I could either cave into the pressure or acknowledge the fact that this is a character that people know and love, but not allow that to affect my approach to the role,” Hoechlin says. “I sat down with the creators of the show, and we pinpointed what made the character interesting and highlighted the things that we wanted to focus on. And to me, Clark Kent is a very straightforward person who always wants to do the right thing. He represents the best of us.”
Hoechlin also puts a great deal of value on the relationship Clark shares with his cousin, Kara Danvers/Supergirl (Melissa Benoist), with whom his character shares a profound understanding given their shared origin. If given the opportunity to come back to the show in any capacity, he looks forward to working with the other characters in the multiverse, specifically Barry Allen/The Flash (Grant Gustin) and Roy Harper/Arsenal, who is played by his Teen Wolf co-star Colton Haynes.
“When I portray characters that very different from who I am, I pull away from those differences and latch onto the things that are similar,” he says. “I also gravitate to what makes these characters human, which is crucial to my roles as a werewolf and a superhero.” Over the years, he has grown more comfortable with auditioning, always making it a point to come in as himself. Hoechlin adds, “When you’re up for a role, go with what you see in the material and do your best with what you’ve got—if that’s not what they want, then it’s not what they want. When you stop trying to be who you think people might want you to be, that’s when the magic happens.”