Elizabeth Tulloch Interview: ‘Superman & Lois’

Superman & Lois Elizabeth Tulloch
Elizabeth Tulloch as Lois Lane in ‘Superman & Lois’ (Photo: Dean Buscher © 2021 The CW Network, LLC)

When Superman & Lois showrunner/executive producer Todd Helbing pitched the show’s concept to Elizabeth Tulloch, he described it as “Friday Night Lights meets Superman.”

“I loved Friday Night Lights,” said Tulloch, who plays intrepid reporter Lois Lane, Superman’s better half, on The CW’s Superman & Lois. “To me, that is a show I want to watch.”

Born in San Diego, Tulloch grew up in Spain, Uruguay, and Argentina, moving a lot due to her father’s job. Upon returning to the United States, she graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with a double major in English/American literature and visual and environmental studies. Her first acting credit is 2001’s R2-D2: Beneath the Dome, a mockumentary produced by Star Wars creator George Lucas. She’s appeared in the movies Concussion (starring Will Smith) and Lakeview Terrace (starring Samuel L. Jackson). She’s guest-starred on The West Wing, Cold Case, Moonlight, Outlaw, and House, M.D..

Tulloch is best known as Dr. Juliette Silverton (and later the enigmatic Eve) on the NBC fantasy drama Grimm from 2011-17, which starred David Giuntoli (who’s currently appearing on ABC’s A Million Little Things). She’s been married to Giuntoli, whom she met on Grimm, since 2017. Together, they live in Vancouver where their respective series are filmed, with their daughter Vivian, two.

“At this point, I’m married with a child – (choosing an acting role is) not a decision I get to make by myself anymore,” she said.

When asked what attracted her to this part, Tulloch countered with a question of her own, channeling her inner Lois Lane.

“What didn’t attract me to the part of Lois Lane?” said Tulloch. “As far as strong women go, it doesn’t get much more impressive or cool than Lois Lane. She was introduced in 1938 and from the time she’s been introduced, she’s remained incredibly appealing and popular and iconic for really understandable reasons: She is determined, she is unafraid, she is uncompromising, she is incredibly intelligent. All of those things are balanced out by a sort of lovable goofiness about her. To me, it’s a dream come true to play someone as wonderful as Lois Lane.”

Tulloch doesn’t feel a great deal of pressure taking on this role.

“I find it more humbling than daunting because I have so much respect for the character of Lois Lane myself,” said Tulloch. “And I like her so much. I feel giddy sometimes that I get to be Lois Lane; I think she’s wonderful.”

Tulloch is the latest in a long line of actresses who have played Lois Lane, whether on the big or small screen, in live action or animation, over the course of 80 years. This distinguished company includes Joan Alexander, Noel Neill, Phyllis Coates, Margot Kidder, Teri Hatcher, Dana Delany, Erica Durance, Kate Bosworth, Amy Adams, Amy Acker, Juliet Landau, Christina Hendricks, Rebecca Romijn, among others.

She admitted that she’s not familiar with the other actresses who’ve played the character with the exception of the late Kidder, who appeared as Lois Lane in 1978’s Superman, 1980’s Superman II, 1983’s Superman III, and 1987’s Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, alongside the late Christopher Reeve, considered by many as the definitive Man of Steel. Richard Donner (the Lethal Weapon series) directed the first Superman.

“I love Margot Kidder,” said Tulloch. “This is a true story: I started acting in my mid-20s and I had an acting teacher tell me to watch the Lois Lane screen tests in the Donner film and tell her why Margot Kidder won the role. I said, ‘It’s so obvious – she’s having so much fun with it. It’s fun to watch her on-screen having so much fun with this character.’ There were some amazing actresses (Holly Palance, Debra Raffin, Susan Blakely, Stockard Channing, Anne Archer, Lesley Ann Warren) who screen-tested for this role, but to me, I enjoyed watching Margot Kidder the most… I hope she’s proud of me.”

Superman & Lois Poster
Poster for season 1 of ‘Superman & Lois’ airing on The CW.

The seventh series in The CW’s “Arrowverse,” Superman & Lois recently debuted and has been already been renewed for a second season. Tyler Hoechlin (Road to Perdition, Teen Wolf) plays Superman and his alter ego, Clark Kent. Both Tulloch and Hoechlin first appeared as their respective characters on The Flash and Supergirl, respectively, before spinning off into Superman & Lois. Tulloch also appeared as Lois Lane on Arrow, Batwoman, and Legends of Tomorrow.

“Obviously it was very different when Tyler and I were doing the crossovers because there’s a lot going on and you’re in scenes with leads with several other shows. During crossovers, you have a whole line per scene. Now you have all this depth and complexity to play with,” she explained.

What makes Superman & Lois stand out from other Superman shows is there is no love triangle (with two people) between Superman, Clark Kent, and Lois Lane. On Superman & Lois, she knows Superman and Clark Kent are one and the same, and she’s married to him. The biggest difference is they are parents to twin teenage boys Jonathan (Jordan Elsass, Little Fires Everywhere) and Jordan (Alex Garfin, The Peanuts Movie).

“To me, teenagers are just so interesting, so it makes sense to me why writers would want to mine that,” said Tulloch.

Jonathan (named after Superman’s adoptive father, Jonathan Kent) is a star football player and outgoing person. Jordan (named after Superman’s biological father, Jor-El) has social anxiety and is an outcast. Of the two, Jordan inherits superpowers, which makes him feel more like an outcast than ever before. Once Jordan’s superpowers manifest themselves, Clark tells his sons that he’s Superman. The Kents move from Metropolis, NY to the old Kent farm in Smallville, KS where Clark trains Jordan how to use his newfound superpowers in seclusion.

“I do know this is the first time you’re seeing Lois and Clark as not only parents (on TV)… but being parents to two teenagers, which is why Tyler and I were really attracted to the idea of doing this show because teens are so complex, so interesting, so hormonal, so rebellious, and they’re trying to figure out who they are. It just felt like there’s so many places to go with that as parents and with them still having all their side-hustles, so to speak, as a superhero and as a world-famous journalist,” explained Tulloch.

She spoke very highly of Hoechlin.

“I absolutely adore him, and I love working with him,” said Tulloch.

“I feel really, really grateful that our relationship is so wonderful. We love working together. We both get bummed out when we look at the schedule and notice that we’re not shooting together all day just because we have so much fun together,” said Tulloch. “The chemistry is also apparent on-screen. Fans can read that Tyler and I adore each other and get along with each other. Tyler feels the same way. There’s not only respect for these characters, there’s a lot of love Tyler and I have for them.”