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Ian Bohen Reunites With Tyler Hoechlin On Superman & Lois And Reminisces About Teen Wolf - Exclusive Interview

Ian Bohen is no stranger to playing complex villainous roles, and now, he's dusting off his curly mustache in "Superman & Lois" as Lt. Mitch Anderson. Prior to having verbal onscreen sparring matches with Tyler Hoechlin's Superman, the duo played equally combative werewolves on the MTV series "Teen Wolf" — laying the groundwork for their "Superman & Lois" characters. Bohen played Hoechlin's onscreen charming smarmy but ruthless uncle, Peter Hale, while Hoechlin's character Derek took the silent but deadly approach.

Before heading to Beacon Hills or Smallville, Bohen got his acting start in the early '90s with guest roles on popular series like "Walker, Texas Ranger," "Boy Meets World," and "Dawson's Creek." He later went on to score roles in "Breakout Kings," "The Dark Night Rises," "Chicago P.D.," "Little Women," "Wind River," and "Yellowstone" before landing in "Superman & Lois."

During an exclusive interview with Looper, Ian Bohen discussed Anderson's villainous role and possible redemption, what it was like reuniting with Hoechlin, and what it was like having Elizabeth Henstridge direct episode 2.07 of "Superman & Lois." Bohen also revealed which "Teen Wolf" actors he wants to see on "Superman & Lois," and the actor teased his hopes for a Peter and Derek reunion in the "Teen Wolf" movie.

Once a villain, always a villain (sort of)

Were you a fan of the "Superman" comics before getting the role, or did you do any research on the character if you weren't?

For me, "Superman" began when I was very young with Christopher Reeve and Gene Hackman. That classic incarnation of it, that was the first one I know they had made. They made [a TV series that started in black and white] before that, but that was really the beginning for me. I didn't get super deep into the origin of all of the other components within the comics. I lived in the world of those films and then the subsequent films.

Your character is descending further and further into villain territory. Are you hoping he keeps going deeper, or are you rooting for a redemption arc?

I would put my money on a redemption arc in the long run because it's more satisfying generally than ... If you can't be redeemed, the audience will lose interest. That storyline takes all the power that the character has accumulated to put somewhere and it disperses it. If he's redeemed, you get to cash in those chips. That's what I'm hoping for. I don't know yet. I'm still in the dark. There's a ways to go, but all is not lost.

The wolves are back in town — with a superhero twist

You worked with Tyler Hoechlin on "Teen Wolf" in a similarly antagonistic role. How do you think that experience prepared you for this one and what have been some of your favorite moments or scenes working with him so far?

When we knew I was going to do this job and we started looking at the dynamic of it — and keep in mind in the beginning, we didn't know where it was going to play out or how. We just had the dialogue, and the way [Superman and Anderson] spoke to each other. We had to really extract from that what is going on with them, but we did know that it was a very similar power struggle between Derek and Peter Hale. When we got stuck, we would always go back to, "Let's not overthink it — this is just Derek and Peter." They're both powerful in different ways. They're both trying to do what they think is the right thing to do, and the other person's fighting them. That was our hook, and then our own work about what we were after individually would flavor it, and it seems to be, it's on parallel with that.

It made it — I don't want to say easier. We certainly didn't want to do that relationship again, but we had a broad map of how to do it. On this, we have some ... lengthy beats, whereas in "Teen Wolf," they might have been a couple of "Pop!" "Pops!" here and there [in dialogue], but we have scenes where we don't have fighting or wolves or weirdness. We talk and play chess mentally. That's one of the things I like doing, and I like to talk about — is mental chess. Since we're not going to fight, even though we want to, we have to outmaneuver one another. All of this stuff leading up to [Episode 7] ... we have to exhaust all diplomacy before things start to get weird. It got weird in [Episode 6], and it's going to get weirder in [Episode 7], and it's going to get even weirder as we go forward.

Consummate professionals onscreen, goofballs offscreen

You and Hoechlin are friends off screen as well. Do you ever find yourselves breaking character during scenes, and do you have any fond memories from on or offset?

We travel together. We're really best of friends. We often joke that we got to start planning New Year's now, and that's our running jokes. For New Year's and every year, like in January, [we joke that] we should probably start planning next year. We have a good time traveling and being together. On set, he's as professional as you can be. Even if we're doing lighthearted stuff, there's always this seriousness of work where we don't really break character, certainly not in the middle of a scene because there's too much going on. There's not enough time, so it doesn't really happen, but as soon as they yell, "Cut!" the two of us will cackle, like a couple of chickens. That's pretty funny. We have almost too much fun on set.

Hoechlin has taken on the additional role of Bizarro this season on top of Superman. Was it fun to see him take on a more unhinged version of Superman and a slightly villainous role? He doesn't usually play the villain. Did he ask you for any tips on that front?

It's been great to watch it because I haven't been in any of those scenes. I heard about it, from the makeup to the costumes changes and how he talks differently and ticks and moves his body. He would tell me about it. I'm like, "Wow, that's great." I got to watch it as an audience member, excited to see it. That is a wonderful departure from Superman, to see him play a completely different person. He's absolutely killing it. I can tell you, there's more to come and even more development in that. I really think it's going to blow everybody away in some upcoming episodes. He did not ask me for any tips. He's a strong actor that makes strong choices, and he does his thing. He will collaborate with a director, but he's also, at this stage, he's not asking anybody for any advice.

Elizabeth Henstridge: A super director

Elizabeth Henstridge directed 2.07. What was it like working with her? Do you have any fun stories with her on or off set?

She is so lovely. She's so very posh. She has this wonderful accent. She's caring. She listens when it's time to rehearse, and she asks for your input, and is curious about how you see things. She has her own ideas, and she's done all of her work. She's incredibly well prepared. She has absolutely lovely energy. Everyone felt comfortable and at ease with her. She was definitely like a superstar. I would be happy to work with her again. We were constantly laughing and having a good time. She's a princess.

I think what's so interesting about what the multiverse has offered the Arrowverse is that any hero in any universe has the ability for a downfall — even Superman. Why do you think this is such an interesting concept? And what do you think a Bizarro or alternate universe versions of Anderson might look like?

Like what you described, [it's] a wavelength. You look at a graph of sound, and it peaks and troughs and the cycles, or the ups and downs, are what make people interested in stuff. Anything that's linear loses its interestingness. Music is not sound — it's the space in between sounds that gives it any real relevance. That frequency of a character and the ability to highlight into heroism and then fall from grace down is how the audience experiences that musical frequency of drama.

There's no other way to do it if you want to keep people interested, and that's the cycle of humanity. That's how everything works. The idea of Bizarro or Anderson being within that is very interesting to me. I'm not sure what the future holds for him, but if you were to say, "This is a possibility," I would start rubbing my hands with the light at what it could be. I'm very interested in that, and it's a great idea to make this dual world because that frequency gets higher troughs or higher peaks and lower troughs.

Finding Anderson's humanity

In 2.06, there's a really powerful moment where your character lets a grieving mom slap him and it shows his humanity a bit in a way that we haven't previously seen. What did you think of that scene and how do you think it adds a bit of depth to your character?

That was beautifully written, and it was a small but very dense moment that shows you what Anderson's nature is. He comes up against a force that is unhappy with him because of what they perceive that he's doing. In his mind, it's all misunderstood, but it has consequences. It's just a slap — it's a very small lashing out. He has to take it and know that's part of his sacrifice. He's there at the funeral for two other people.

That was a big sacrifice, but it's a microcosm of his life. He doesn't react. He stays calm, cool, collected, and it doesn't deter him from what he thinks is correct. We see it personified in that way, but on a very small scale. It's not like he got into a bar fight. It's a greeting ... but it's very impactful, and it really sits with him. For him, more than thinking, "Oh, I messed up," He thinks, "I have to go further, or this is going to happen again, more lives are going to be on [the line.]."

If anything, it emboldens him to continue with what he is doing. He knows what a great personal sacrifice it will be if he succeeds.

Shaking it up in Smallville

"Superman & Lois" is known for putting twists and turns on traditional "Superman" lore by making it fresh and exciting. Can you think of a twist that you'd love to see happen to Anderson, either an origin story or something interesting regarding powers?

I will tell you that said twist is going to be on full display upcoming. I got to do it, so I can't give anymore out than that. You won't have to wait too long, but it's coming. You'll see it.

Is there any character from either the Arrowverse or "Superman" canon as a whole that you'd love to team up with on the show or butt against?

There [are] so many. The Flash would be interesting. I like Kat McNamara's character. She's very interesting. Probably, I would pick one of those. Also, Meagan Tandy in Batgirl. She's fantastic. There's a lot going on, and it's hard to pick one. I'm happy to be around anybody new in the universe.

I'd love to see him either team up with or go against Agent Liberty because I've seen a little bit of similarities between them. I think that would be cool.

Do you think that they would have a problem establishing who's in charge?

Oh, absolutely, and that would be amazing to watch.

Oh, so that's what you want to see, is basically you guys fight it out and see who comes out on top.


I get that. That would be fun, too. It's not interesting to watch when everything's copacetic and easy breathing. We need that conflict.

I want to see the villains twirl their mustaches against each other.

Right. Who can do it the best?

Finding the perfect role and honing villainy

You played very different textures on "Yellowstone" and "Chicago Fire." What are the biggest criteria that you look for in taking a role, and what most jumped out at you about Anderson?

The criteria is good writing. You don't want to find yourself saying things you think are ridiculous or participating in something that doesn't feel right. You want, or you need, good material, and then you want to be around great people. If you have a family of people that you're working with and good material, that's really all you need. You hope to have wonderful actors to work with, so you can grow together and become better. 

There's so much good stuff out there. It's not that difficult to find something where you say, "Yes, this is going to be great." It's something new and different. Playing the policeman on "Chicago P.D." or a werewolf or now head of the DOD, you're like, "Yeah." There's so much room to run there. There [are almost] too many things choose from.

What most excites you about playing the bad guy?

Finding ways to be redeemable in the end so that bad behavior can be excused by the audience — at least, slightly forgive, maybe not completely forgiven, but at least excused to the point of understanding. That's how I know if I did okay with mom, and if I don't, I can't do that — I didn't pull it off. Then he dies unceremoniously or finishes ... you know, I'm thinking of Peter Hale. He died in the first season, and without the comeback, it would have just been a villain. That's the theme that I took to the rest of that series is how to make sure that even though you do the bad things, that you're doing it for the right reasons, and the audience ends up siding with you.

From Beacon Hills to Smallville

Is there an actor or director from either the past or the present that you would love to work with?

I have a very fond place in my heart for Russell Mulcahy, who directed many, many of the "Teen Wolf" episodes and is a dear friend of mine. I love his energy — so authentic. He's somebody that I think about all ... First one that popped in my head.

Given that you had a bit of a "Teen Wolf" reunion on "Superman & Lois," are there any other actors from that show that you would love to see head down to Smallville for an episode or a longer arc? And then [which] particular "Superman" characters [do you think] they would be a good fit for?

JR Bourne. We talk about him all the time. He called me like six minutes ago. I was like, "I can't talk. I'm busy," but the three of us are peas in a pod. He would fit in so well up here. He's been on CW on "The 100." He's from BC [British Columbia], so he would be coming home. I think Tyler is going to push for that. I don't know enough of the characters that we haven't seen yet and who's still available to be fit. I'll leave that to someone else, but he can do anything. I wouldn't be surprised if he was up here in person.

One more, Sinqua [Walls]. He is a magician as an actor, and he's a beautiful man. He's wonderful. Again, he is the fourth pea in the pod. He's too busy. He's in such high demand that I don't know if we could get him, but if the four of us got together, please, please — [it would] be awesome.

Will the Hales head back to Beacon Hills?

Now that a "Teen Wolf" movie has officially been announced, if you can say, have you been contacted at all and would you be willing to appear if they asked you to, or are you happy with where Peter's ending, left off?

Peter's ending wasn't really defined. I would love to continue his story based on the time that has passed and new events. It is very possible to have Peter in the "Teen Wolf" movie, and we're working towards making that happen. Hopefully, we'll have some news soon.

Hoechlin is noticeably absent from the "Teen Wolf" movie cast list thus far. Have you talked with him at all about the movie, and do you know if he's onboard to return if his crazy schedule permits it?

I don't know. I'll leave that one for him to answer. I do know that his schedule is ... He works just about every day up here. I would love to see him in the film. He's iconic. He was Derek Hale, and I know that the filmmakers want him as well. When there's a will, there's a way, so fingers crossed.

"Superman & Lois" airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW, with episodes streaming on the website and app the next day.