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Soap opera actor may don ‘Superman’ cape

Brandon Routh  is best-known for his role on ‘One Life to Live.’
/ Source: Reuters

Little-known TV actor Brandon Routh appears poised to leap from soap-opera obscurity to film fame as the Man of Steel in a new “Superman” movie being developed at Warner Bros. Pictures.

Both of Hollywood’s leading trade papers reported Wednesday that Routh, 25, whose credits include the ABC daytime drama “One Life to Live,” is expected to assume the big-screen role once filled by .

A spokeswoman for Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc. , declined to comment on the reports other than to say that no casting deal was in place.

The “Superman” project is under the direction of Bryan Singer, the filmmaker behind the two “X-Men” movies for 20th Century Fox, and is aimed for a summer 2006 release, Warner’s spokeswoman said. Production would likely begin early next year.

Routh’s agent and manager could not immediately be reached for comment. But The Hollywood Reporter cited unnamed sources as saying an offer to the actor was imminent.

Routh originally tested for the role when director McG was overseeing the project and later caught Singer’s attention, the Reporter said.

The 6-foot-2-inch actor was born and raised in Iowa, home state of television’s original Superman, George Reeves.

Word that Routh was destined to be the next Superman first surfaced over the weekend on the Web site LatinoReview.com.

In addition to having played Seth Anderson on “One Life to Live,” Routh has appeared on such prime-time shows as “Will & Grace,” “Gilmore Girls” and “Cold Case.”

He is the latest in a whose names have been linked with “Superman” during various incarnations of the Warner franchise dating back to 1998, when Tim Burton had signed to direct Nicolas Cage as the Man of Steel.

Subsequent director Brett Ratner was said by the trade papers to have offered the part to Josh Hartnett, who turned it down, and to have had his second choice, soap opera star Matt Bomer, rejected by the studio.

McG reportedly considered several unknowns besides Routh before the “Charlie’s Angels” filmmaker abruptly quit the “Superman” project in a disagreement with the studio over location and budget matters.