Brandon Routh plays Atom on ‘Legends of Tomorrow’

The Atom is able to shrink thanks to a suit he built.

Brandon Routh has the unique perspective of playing multiple superheroes. He’s suiting up as Ray Palmer, aka The Atom, in “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” debuting Thursday on The CW, and he played perhaps the biggest hero of them all — Kal El, aka Clark Kent, aka Superman — in the 2006 film “Superman Returns.”

One is a brilliant scientist with the ability to shrink down thanks to a suit he built; the other is a flying alien with numerous powers including super-strength and heat vision.

But for Routh, the biggest difference between playing the characters doesn’t have to do with any kind of powers.

“There are a lot of differences, there are some similarities,” Routh says. “The biggest difference is that Ray is a human being … and the fact that Ray is not superhuman — he has interesting abilities, but certainly not superhuman. It makes him more like playing a real person. He is a real person. Superman is like playing an ethereal being in some ways.”

Beyond The Atom, there is a slew of other DC Comics characters showing up in “Legends of Tomorrow.” And with superheroes and villains come some cool costumes.

“Mine is pretty awesome,” Routh says. “It looks pretty cool. Who do I like? All the other suits are pretty sweet. What I think is the coolest other one on camera, when you see it, is Firestorm. The CG quality for his fire is pretty awesome. And it’s pretty cool also to see Hawkman and Hawkgirl. Their suits are pretty wicked, and the helmets, it’s the whole deal. It really changes a persona when you’re able to [dress] like that person.”


“DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” premieres Thurs., Jan. 21, at 8 p.m. on CW/11.

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