For a particular generation, Dean Cain will always be Superman!
The actor, who also appeared in such films as Rat Race, Out of Time, 5 Days of War, and God’s Not Dead, is best known for playing the man of steel in the ‘90s series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. But Cain has also appeared in a surprising amount of Christmas movies (The Case for Christmas, A Christmas Wedding, Defending Santa), as well as films featuring talking dogs (Aussie and Ted’s Great Adventure,The Dog Who Saved Halloween). Now Cain combines the two genres with his latest movie The Three Dogateers, which will be available on DVD and digital download beginning November 18th.
The Three Dogateers follows three little dogs that are left on their own a few days before Christmas. A couple of no-good burglars have made off with all of the family’s presents and decorations, and it’s time for the Three Dogateers to unite and set off on a journey to sniff out the bad guys. But with the world’s meanest dogcatcher hot on their tails, they may need a little help from Santa Claus (Richard Riehie) himself to save Christmas! It’s basically the canine version ofHome Alone. Cain plays Matt, the husband of the dog’s owner who needs to find his wife’s pets before she returns for the holidays.
I recently had the absolute pleasure of speaking with Dean Cain about his work on The Three Dogateers, as well as being part of the Superman legacy. The talented veteran actor discussed his new film, talking dog movies, the challenges of acting with animals, how to make a classic Christmas film, performing broad comedy, why he feels honored to have played Superman, DC’s new “no jokes” policy for their upcoming movies, and why Supermanshouldn’t kill!
Here is what Dean Cain had to say about The Three Dogateers and why Superman shouldn’t kill:
IAR: To begin with, I have to confess that I am a sucker for a talking dog movie. The Three Dogateers is not the first time that you have appeared in a talking dog film, how do you feel about the genre?
Dean Cain: I have done a number of talking dog movies, so I am a fan obviously. My son was very young when I did my first one. That is part of the reason why I did it. One of the things that he liked to watch was an animal on screen talking. He was just drawn right in. Something about that really gets to the kids. I do not know what it is, but I started making these dog movies. I made a number of them, and he and his friends kept watching them. I would go to his classes visiting the kids and teachers, and they would say, “You are the guy in that dog movie.” These kids only know the dog movies. I played Superman at some point in time, but they know me from the dog movies. I think for kids it is an awesome thing. My son is now 14 so he is like, “Dad, I am too old for this now.” But he will watch it anyway.
Now that your son is 14, maybe it’s time to show him Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. He’s probably old enough now to appreciate that his dad was Superman.
Cain: That is it, I agree. It is a good call. I have the DVDs, so I will do it.
What were some of the challenges of working with three dogs as your co-stars?
Cain: The thing about working with animals is that you may have your best take, and you hit your mark and do exactly what you are supposed to do, but the dog is nowhere to be seen. So you have to be ready to change at a moments notice. You have to find ways to adapt and compromise. It is just like being a parent. I have done dog movies where there are attack dogs. I have done movies where you have to become friends with the dogs. I just think it is a lot of fun.
In addition to appearing in a lot of talking dog movies, you’ve also appeared in a lot of Christmas films. What do you think is the secret to making a classic holiday movie?
Cain: I adore Christmas movies. I think the secret is in one of my favorite movies: It’s A Wonderful Life. You have to have heart, family and people who care. It does not necessarily need to be family, but family is what you make of it. In It’s A Wonderful Life it was the community that came together for these guys who did so much for everyone else. When he finally needed them, they were all there. I like a little bit of magic. I would say the key elements are family, community, some magic and a whole lot of love.
The Three Dogateers is a very broad comedy. What was it like for you as an actor to appear in a broad comedy, as apposed to some of the more dramatic projects you’ve done in the past?
Cain: Broad comedy stuff is just great. My doing that comes much more from being a parent. You do the silliest stuff as a parent just to get your kid to laugh. You will do whatever it takes. You do a lot of the broad comedy stuff just to get the kids to laugh. It becomes fun. In the broad comedy stuff, you literally look stupid, but if you are afraid of that, you better get into a different business.
Finally, there is an entire generation that associates you with Superman because of your work on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. How do you feel about forever being linked with the iconic superhero?
Cain: I adore it, I love it, and I embrace it. I am so proud and honored to have played that character and be Superman for a generation. I am very happy. I dig it. However, sometimes expectations are high when you step on the court to play a basketball game. Everybody has it out for you. “Come on, Superman. What have you got?” But I thought it was just great. I really enjoyed it. I think we sort of cornered the market on the humor and the romance, and I think those are two of the most enjoyable aspects of those characters. I am just as proud as can be to forever be associated with that character.
You just mentioned the humor that your series injected into the Superman mythology. How did you feel about Man of Steel, and the new “no jokes” policy for upcoming DC Comics movies?
Cain: I think it was exactly that. He was an angst-filled alien Superman who did not really belong on this earth. I think he was devoid of romance or humor, and I do not think that is the focus of the film. I just do not think they were going for any of that. I think he is a very heroic, tough, darker character. I think Henry (Cavill) did a great job, but it certainly did not go for any humor or any romance. When it did sort of move into the romance a little, I do not think it worked. I think it worked great as an angst-filled alien-fighting movie. I do also wish they did not blow up so many buildings as they were fighting. The idea of Superman killing so many people and not trying to save them was just so foreign to me as a Superman fan and obviously a former Superman. Every time he threw a guy through a building I was wondering if he was going to catch all the innocent people who fell out of it. That is what my Superman would have done. There are people dying in those buildings!
(Spoiler Alert!!!) What did you think about Superman killing General Zod at the end of Man of Steel?
Cain: He did kill the villain, which I was against. I was surprised. It was different. They clearly made a choice. Again, the movie worked great. Henry did a fantastic job. We will see what happens in the next one.
The Three Dogateers will be available on DVD and digital download beginning November 18th.