Erik Valdez – Kyle Cushing on Superman & Lois!
Today on the show, Melissa got to chat with Erik Valdez, AKA Kyle from Superman and Lois. They talked all about the show, what it’s like playing a villain, his love of racing, and more!
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Interview scheduled by Jeffery Haas
Theme music by Ardus and Damn The Cow
Announcer: Nathaniel Perry
Melissa: [00:00:00] This is spoiler country and I’m Alyssa search today on the show. I’m excited. I get to chat with an actor from the hit CW shows, Superman and Lois Eric Valdez. Welcome to the show. Thanks
Erik Valdez: for having
Melissa: me. Thanks for being here. How’s everything going today?
Erik Valdez: It’s great. It’s a beautiful fall day up here in Vancouver and a little rainy.
I just went for a hike with my dog a little while ago through the forest and the colors and the, the Moss on the trees. I dunno. It’s like a little, little bit of paradise today. So I’m in a good mood because of
Melissa: nice. Yeah. I think it’s the best time of year actually. And it kind of like gets you in the mood for the whole like spooky Halloween season
Erik Valdez: 100%.
That’s one of the things I love about being up here. Getting the film up in Vancouver is LA is great. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve spent the last 17 years of my life there, but we don’t really get seasoned. And up here. Whole different story. Like it’s you get four proper seasons and it really does get you kinda ready for the holiday season.
Melissa: That’s so cool. Now you’re not originally from LA though. [00:01:00] Right? Where are you from?
Erik Valdez: No, I’m not. I’m from Texas originally. I was born in Lubbock, Texas, and grew up in El Paso, Texas for the most part, lived in Dallas for a bit Austin for a bit. But yeah, I moved out to LA when I was like, yes.
Early twenties, probably 23, 24, somewhere, somewhere around there. And live there for the latter part of the, or the better part of the last, you know, 15, 20 years
Melissa: now. So how did you get started in acting? Was it like theater in school or something you decided like once you got to. That
Erik Valdez: was a theater. Not necessarily in school so much.
My very first kind of foray into acting was around age seven. I auditioned for a community theater piece called the Velveteen rabbit. This is in Paso, Texas, and I don’t even remember how I found out about it. I think, I think my parents. And it seemed like a notice for an audition in the newspaper, something, this is dating myself back pre-internet so we all read newspapers,
Erik Valdez: So yeah, you and I both. So you get it, you can relate totally. But no, I, I think, you know, even as a, as a young kid, the two things I always wanted to do was race cars and act or entertain people. And, and so early on, I had kind of this desire to do that. And I would perform in front of my parents in the living room and stuff, whether they liked it or not, I guess they, they figured I might, might might want to do something like that.
So they, they found this audition. I wouldn’t audition for it and ended up booking it. And that was my very first piece of theater. And yeah, from there I went on and did some theater throughout high school and then into I didn’t really go to college. I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna say that as a proud thing, kids stay in school, but did go to college for half, half a year for a semester and then decided it wasn’t really my thing, but I did continue to do theater at the university there in El Paso for a little.[00:03:00]
Melissa: Cool. So take us through it. You get to LA and you know, like what’s your first move, right? You probably don’t know a lot of people and you know, you have to get an agent or go to acting school, things like that. So what was like your first kind of.
Erik Valdez: So my, my kind of intro into the proper television and film industry in LA was a little different than, than a lot of people in very, kind of a cool story.
And I’ll try to make it as short as possible. But I, at the time was working for Southwest airlines. I was a flight attendant for three and a half years, way back when. And I know, I know it was, it was fun. I had a, I had known it was going to move out to LA. I just hadn’t, I didn’t have the money to, to kind of go out there and do that just yet.
And I was living in Arizona at the time, pursuing motor sports. Even overacting. I was, you know, doing random commercials and stuff here and there, but I was racing cars and working as a drivers instructor. At the Bonner on school in Arizona while I was also, you know, doing the flight attendant thing, [00:04:00] which was kind of the day job to make ends meet.
And you know, part of that plan was also that even if I didn’t live in LA, I could fly back and forth for auditions and whatnot before moving out there. Cause I got the flight for free. One of the perks of working for the yeah. A hundred percent. And so anyway, the short version of the story is I I was considering moving out.
Anyway, just hadn’t, hadn’t committed to a date yet. And I was on a plane coming from Vegas to Burbank. This was after the billboard music awards one year and had a plane full of, you know, artists and celebs and stuff like that. And it was a lot of fun, you know, coming from Vegas to Burbank, it’s still a bit of a party.
It’s like the departing coming to an end, but people are still like good mood. And you know, with Southwest airlines, they, they hire personalities more than anything. I mean, you given me a microphone in a captive audience and aluminum tube, and I’m going to have fun with them. So that’s a, yeah, it was, it was, it was a fun little, you know, 55 minutes or whatever [00:05:00] it was.
And after we landed in Burbank, everybody’s getting off. There’s this one guy cannot wait, laying back. And as the, you know, the bulk of the plane and the plane comes up and he’s like, Hey, he goes, it just it was really entertaining. He goes, are you an actor? And I said, I am. And he said, I should know.
You said, okay. I have no idea who this guy was really, really nice guy and starts talking a bit, you know, do you live in LA? No, not yet. Yada yada story. I just gave you and exchange info. He said, well here, look, if you’re, if you’re out here, if this is. Give me a call. We’ll we’ll do lunch and you know, I can, I can kind of talk you through it.
I’ve been doing this for a while. I was still at this point, had no idea and you know, went home and this is again, the early days of the internet. And if you Googled anybody back then and they showed up in a Google search, they were definitely somebody that was legit. Yeah. Yeah. I did that. And this.
Face pops up. And the first picture was like him and Oprah Winfrey holding [00:06:00] like Emmy awards that he had one for choreographing, the opening and closing ceremonies of the salt lake city Olympics. Okay, so dig a little deeper and long story short. The guy’s name is Kenny Ortega was a massive dancer early on, became a really big choreographer choreograph, like to Michael Jackson’s world tours in the eighties and whole bunch of other things got into the movie industry, choreographed, dirty dancing, and then started directing.
And we did like Newsies for Disney. That was his first directorial. And it. And choreography combined APU. And so I reached out to him. I’m like, okay, this at least this guy, wasn’t just making a whole bunch of stuff up. And we ended up grabbing lunch and he had he mentioned, you know, he had gotten into directing, told me a bit about his story and everything, and just.
Basically, it was kind of a really great, genuine compliment. It wasn’t even like one of these weird Hollywood stories where like, Hey, you got to look good, look kid, blah, blah, blah. No, it wasn’t creepy or anything. It was [00:07:00] just like, you know, your, your personality was great. You were entertaining. And instead of beyond that, like you engaged everybody on the plane and blah, blah, blah, and kind of a weird thing, but.
This is kind of goes to show and I’ve kind of lived by this motto my whole life. Anyway. It’s like, you never really know who’s who’s watching and what they’re watching, and that’s not to say you need to put on a show or be a fake version of yourself, but if you are a good human being and I’m not talking about even for work purposes or anything, like just in life opportunities tend to come your way.
And this was one of those examples. And so he, I kind of did things in reverse. I didn’t, I didn’t have an agent at the time. I didn’t have a manager, you know, didn’t really know what I was doing. And he ended up putting me, he was directing a series called Gilmore girls back then. And it was it’s fantastic show super well-written very very dialogue, heavy.
I mean, I, I, I did three episodes of the show. I think I cumulatively had like two lines for three lines. It [00:08:00] was a very small role with the leads they had, man. They had so much dialogue to memorize on a daily basis. It was it was impressive to say the least, but that is kind of what got me started. And from there it opened some doors.
Got. Manager, not the one I’m with now on a different one early on in you know, been through a couple of different agents throughout the years. But as it typically, you know, that’s, that’s how it happens. You start one, move up to, you know, a boutique agency and for the most. I had pretty good experiences.
The first manager was an interesting guy and one of my agents not so great, but they’ll remain unnamed. But I’ve got a solid team behind me now. And, and you know, a lot of that goes into the years of, of work put into, to this and studying with coaches and acting class and all of those things that you kind of mentioned there.
I, it all happened. It just kind of happened in a backwards order.
Melissa: Different way. Yeah. Well, that’s really cool though. Cause it’s like your own unique story and not like the typical one that we always [00:09:00] hear. So that’s really cool. Yeah. And you know, you were on general hospital for a long time. Quite a bit of episodes actually, and yeah.
Played a very, like, you know, well known iconic character. I think. I think I probably binge watched that show when I was younger to like my early twenties. Right. It was like, your grandmother watched it, your mom watched it. So you watched it. So what was that lake though? Because you know, soap offers, they’re very different.
They come on every day or five days a week. So I’ve heard that the scheduling is a lot more like grueling, you know, when you’re filming and stuff, like how, how was that experience like.
Erik Valdez: It is pretty grueling in, in different ways. You know, it’s, the hours are not as long as episodic television or film sets, but they cram a lot into the amount of time that you spend there.
I mean, again, you’re, you’re, you’re filming an episode a day, whereas like with Superman and Lois right now, for example, we film it, it takes, you know, on average, about 10 days to film a single episode. So. It, you know, in that [00:10:00] regard it’s it was this interesting thing. It was a great experience. You know, a lot of people there there’s stigmas attached to any genre of music or film or television, anything that any artists gets into it, people like to compartmentalize them and be like, oh, well, this person, you know, is only quote unquote, a soap factory, or this person can only sing country music or that, but in the reality is.
Art in and of itself. If you, if, if it, if you like multiple things in and you want to try multiple things, I say, why not? In certain things along the way you’re going to find, maybe you’re not as great as you would like to be. For me it was music. I always, always loved music and singing and I, and you know, I just never really pursued it, I guess, but.
In this instance with acting, you know, there’s, there was always that stigma of all you don’t, you don’t want to go do a soap opera. That’s that’s just you know, it’s just a soap opera. I heard that so many times, which kind of infuriates me the reality is it’s it’s you know, the genre. It’s not going to be, [00:11:00] as it’s not gonna be as well lit.
And it’s not going to be cinematic and not going to have those kinds of elements too, because the schedule doesn’t allow it, but it’s such a well-oiled machine. You know, when I went on there, it was right around, I was on the show right up until their 50th anniversary. So it was on for a couple of years.
And, you know, by the time I came on and they’d been around for 47, 48 years, and it just, it was a machine, you know, There’s a lot of our crew that had been there for, there was a couple of guys that have been there since day one and you know, others that have been there 25, 35 years. And so it was this family that you kind of stepping into in, you know, from a, from a technical standpoint, it’s a skillset that.
You know, you may not use every, everything that you learn from their, for episodic television or films or whatever, but, you know, one of the best things was, was just memorization techniques. For example, like I had 17 pages of dialogue a day to memorize on a soapbox. And [00:12:00] it is, it really is. And so, you know, you, you, you start doing it and you develop whatever works for you.
Some people I happen to learn things pretty quickly, thankfully, but, you know, everyone has their way of learning and you just kind of develop. System. And once you get that in, you know, getting the words in your head becomes kind of muscle memory, and it allows you to play a little bit more with the character.
And it also forces you to, to really make bolder choices and in, in what, not with the character and what they’re doing, because you only get, you know, they, most of the time they shoot the rehearsal and then you get one or two takes and that’s it. And we’re moving on to the next. And it’s, I was
Melissa: going to ask you about that if it’s just like one or two takes, because you know, sometimes you will be watching an episode and you can kind of.
You know, somebody kind of laughter you know what I mean, made a joke maybe, and then they just kind of kept rolling with it. So I was wondering if they just only give you a couple of times to get it right.
Erik Valdez: They really do. I, you know, it’s you, again, you can’t hold up the machine. Right? They’ve got a schedule in here to, and a certain set number of hours in the day [00:13:00] and their budgets are nowhere near what you know, that they are for episodic television and whatnot.
So you just gotta you going to do what you’re going to do. And hopefully the choices you make are great. Sometimes they’re, they’re not, but they’re good enough. Cause you said the words right. Or whatever, and that’s what makes the cut. Yeah, it’s got a roll of it. Yeah. But no, in that regard it was it was, it was, you know, you learn some of those skills.
You, you you’d really have to learn a lot about the importance of blocking and everything to which that applies across the board. You know, you go up there and you block and blocking is essentially for those that aren’t familiar with the term, just your, before you even rehearsed or anything, you kind of going through the scene with the director and, you know, the DP.
And the camera guys and stuff, and kind of developing this, this little dance, you know, for lack of a better term. And the lighting is set up in such a way that you need to be here, you know, around the time you’re seeing that line and, and the movement is there. There’s, there’s a little more freedom in.[00:14:00]
Television, you know, versus soap, operas, soap operas are more akin to like live theater because you’ve essentially got three walls and then there’s an array of four or five cameras and that’s your fourth wall. That would be the audience. And so there’s not a lot of, you know, freedom of movement because lights are set up a certain way, et cetera, but it really.
Another, one of those things that you learn, muscle memory, basically, where you learn to kind of safe things and do things at a certain point in time, and it becomes more naturals. Cause that’s, that’s the that’s the art itself, right. Is creating this make believe world and trying to, trying to sell the fact that it is reality for 44 minutes of the time on, on television, you know?
And so the more natural you’re able to do that as an actor, the better it comes across, not just for you as a performer. You know, as a whole for the writers and the directors and it just makes everybody look better. So those things are stuff, you know, those are techniques you can take and use for anything that, that I, you know, I do now [00:15:00] or down the road and for that.
Melissa: Yeah, no, that’s really cool. Yeah. Those are skills you’ll always have. And and I’ve heard that, you know, people say, oh, soap, opera actors are actually like the hardest working people in show business, just because of, you know, the amount of stuff they’re filming, you know, on such. Click basis, but I also have to ask you to, did you ever, like during that time, did anyone ever come up to you in public and like kind of yell at you?
Like you were.
Erik Valdez: Oh, yes, that that happens. I never had any crazy experiences with bans on the soap opera, but I will tell you they are so devoted and like so into it. And the other thing is, you know, when you do a show like Superman and Lois, for example, we’re filming season two. Now we’re filming now.
People won’t even see until, you know, February, March, I don’t even have a release date, so no spoiler there, but somewhere early next year. And so by the time you’ve shot that and everything you’re you’re well beyond what you’ve just done. So you can remember certain things, [00:16:00] but it, it, you know, when you’re doing a soap opera, these are turned around within 30 days, max.
And so. Stuff is still kind of fresh in your mind. So you’ll be out, I’ll be out at the mall or something and submit a company like man, that, that thing that Sonny did to you the other day, blah, blah, blah. And I’m like, first of all, in my head, I’m like, okay, first of all, it’s not real, but I respect that.
You’re this passionate about it. And yeah, you, I would get those moments where people would either, you know, yell, I hate your character, blah, blah, blah. And you’re doing it. But it’s, to me, it was always, it was always cool. Cause it just meant that they were. They were that devoted and that involved in it.
And I, you know, at the end of every little conversation like that, it was always left with like a thank you for being so passionate. And if we’re watching and there was a few people that genuinely. Didn’t like my character didn’t even want him on the show. And after these interactions, they’re like, oh, well, you’re really not like him in real life.
I’m like, well, I would hope not. It would, it would kind of turn [00:17:00] them around. And I made fans out of people that didn’t really even care for my character early on, just through those little
Melissa: interactions. Oh my gosh. That’s great. Yeah. I was wondering. You know, just going into the grocery store and you’re like, oh crap.
They’re like, someone’s staring at me. I know they’re going to come up and say something and then you’re no longer you, you’re just the character you play and you have to kind of handle it with grace, you know, as best as you can.
Erik Valdez: Yup. Yup. It’s always always interesting. Again, I’ve never had any crazy experiences.
I’ve always, always had good ones and super appreciative of the fans. I mean, without, without them, I wouldn’t have a job. So I, I always kind of take the time, but. To talk with them and the, you know, engage a little bit.
Melissa: Yeah. Well, speaking of Superman and Lois you know, how did you, how did you get involved in this project?
This is a great role for you. And you know, it’s a really fan favorite show right now. So, you know, how did you get involved and get the role.
Erik Valdez: Yeah, thanks. It’s it is it is a great role and a great project to be a part [00:18:00] of. And you know, this, this all came about I guess it was early 20, 20. I was in Toronto working on another project and kind of caught wind of this.
And you know, my team was like, Hey, I need you to come back to LA. You know, you gotta meet with the guys at Warner brothers and CW, et cetera. And about this, this character for the show. And I was like, okay, cool. When, when do I need to be there? And they’re like, well, So I said, oh, okay. And so it kinda, thankfully it worked out scheduling wise where I was able to literally leave Toronto, come back to LA and go in and read for these, these folks.
And and you know, I, as soon as I got the side, my, my script for the audition. I loved, I love this character and I knew this character and you know, growing up in Texas kind of in, even though I grew up in El Paso, which is a little bit of a bigger city, but a million people there, thereabouts, I was born just outside of Lubbock and you know, where my grandparents lived at the time and where I spent a lot of my, my youth, the population was like [00:19:00] 1200 people.
So it was small town America. Right? In not, not a lot different than Smallville, Kansas in that regard. And so a lot of the, kind of the mentality that Kyle has in the, you know, the, the way of life and the, you know, even the stubbornness and the things like that I can really relate to because I grew up around that and I knew people like that.
And so for me, I really latched onto the character and I. You know, even without knowing a ton early on where the art was going to go and how this character was going to develop. I had some of my own ideas and thought, Hey man, you can really do something with this. So, you know, in meeting with them that all went really well.
And, and now coming into a project like this as an actor, especially, you don’t want to right off the bat start. Telling the writers and the producers, Hey, so this is how I envisioned him, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But you, you know, you, at the end of the day, we are the ones to bring the character to life.
Right? So the great thing about [00:20:00] this project is it’s been such a collaborative effort. Our writers are, first of all, they’re great. Anyway, so we never have this issue where we get the material and they’re like, okay, hold on a second. You know, I’ve had this in the past where I’m like, No, my character, like, are you, are you writing for the same show?
It’s, there’s been some bad instances in the past, but in this case, Yeah. In this case, it’s, it’s never been that way. It’s always been really great. And as we continue to evolve as a show, everybody, you, you read scripts now. And I, you know, I was talking with Christie one of our writer, producers, she was up here for one of the episodes, I guess, for our first episode, for the season.
And we’re talking about things and you get to know a lot of these, these, these folks, even though throughout COVID. We, I never met any of them until the person until after we wrapped season one, really I’d met Christie. She was up here once before, but you know, you get to know these, these people in their writing styles and stuff, and now it’s getting to the point.
[00:21:00] I, they, they all get all of the characters and, and there, you know, they, they all know how to write for the show, but I can almost, they all have their own little signature and I can read a script now. And, you know, 70% of the time I can tell you who wrote that, that particular one. I mean, obviously it’s a writer’s room, everybody chimes in on things, but each of our writers kind of takes a turn on an episode and, and kind of, you know, steers the ship.
And it’s got to the point now, right? I almost know who. That episode based on how it reads and how the, you know, the vibe of everything. I think that’s what’s so cool is, you know, even though, again, it’s such a collaborative effort, everybody kind of gets to put their stamp on things stands and nobody has an ego.
And you know, it’s even even taught our show runners, just such a great guy. And you know, a lot of this is thanks to him. Like when you, when you’re running the show, literally. You’re piecing it together. You’re, you’re hiring the crew. You’re casting the show. You’re bringing all the writers into the room.
And so he, from an early [00:22:00] conversation said, I, I just, there’s tons of talent everywhere. I just don’t want to work with bad people. And, and it shows, I mean, everybody, everybody really is just such genuinely great and talented people and that’s made the whole experience that much better.
Melissa: Yeah, it’s really interesting.
Cause there’s a lot of really great chemistry on the show. Like you were saying, everyone’s really talented. There’s some new faces, you know, of actors I wasn’t familiar with. And then there’s you know, people that we’ve seen before, like Tyler from teen Wolf for years I love how everyone has their own like lane, right?
Their own distinct voice. And as you were saying about the writing, you can really tell with the dialogue that there’s, there’s no similarities. Like everyone’s very individual in their own unique character, which is also a Testament to, you know, the actors, of course, you know, that you’re bringing these to life and making them so unique, you know?
Erik Valdez: Yeah. I mean, thank you. It’s again, it’s just, when, when you have that, the good group of people, everything just kind of seems to [00:23:00] gel and the end product is almost always better for it.
Melissa: Yeah, absolutely. And you know, when you were auditioning, did you know that you were going to be auditioning for Kyle or did they kind of free like a fake you know, I’ve heard of shows doing that, where they give you those sort of like a dummy scripts.
You don’t really know who you’re going for.
Erik Valdez: They well, sometimes they’ll change the name of the characters and whatnot more. It depends. It depends on who you’re going out for which studio or, you know, network or whatever. But a lot of the times they’ll change the character more. So for if the script gets leaked or something like that.
So, you know, press, press can say, oh, we got a copy of this. And so-and-so is reading for that. We, we oftentimes, I won’t say all the time, but oftentimes get enough info that nobody ever tells us everything right out of the box, but we get enough info to where we can, you know, really kind of at least develop this character with the four or five pages of dialogue, but we got very rarely.
Full scripts. I [00:24:00] think I may have gotten the full pilot for this, if I remember correctly, which which helped. But you know, a lot of the times we just we’d get whatever audition Matilda, they give us and go with it. But in this case, yeah, I, I knew enough about the character and I don’t even think his name changed if I can remember correctly.
I think it was always, I think it was always Kyle Cushing from day one. But yeah, nonetheless, I, I did have enough info to. I think I developed what I, what I considered this character to be. And, you know, and now having conversations with, with, with Todd and everyone after the fact, I apparently I kinda nailed it according to what they’ve said and what their idea of the character was too.
So that’s always a good thing.
Melissa: Yeah. Well, your character’s really interesting. I think one of the most interesting characters, because there is this. Th like different dichotomy. I feel like, you know, the, from the first scene, you know, I was like, oh, douchebag. Totally. You know, and I think that’s obviously what you were trying to, to [00:25:00] emulate for the role, but there also are these, like, as the story progresses, there are more of these like more human sort of like vulnerable, you know, he’s a husband, a dad.
And I mean, that’s interesting. Did you put that into the role? You know, is when the story started to evolve and you got closer to, you know, the acting.
Erik Valdez: Yeah. I mean, a lot of it I did in the, and again, this, this is the kind of the side conversations that we have internally with our writers and with our producers.
And, you know, it can be something as subtle as like, I get an idea and I shoot a text to Todd, Hey man, I, you know, I don’t know if this will work or not, but this is kind of what I was thinking about Kyle, blah, blah, blah. And then, you know, if it’s something that, that sparks interest in, in, in creativity in him, Then he was like, yeah, man, that sounds great.
Let’s talk more about it. And then it expands from there and it develops into something bigger. And then there are times where, you know, and that happens vice versa too. Oftentimes the writers will be like, Hey man, I was thinking about this [00:26:00] for this scene. What do you think? And so having that open dialogue really helps, but no one in this, in this regard, they, you know, the character always was always going to be the father, obviously from day one, they established that.
They established the fact that he was going to have some, you know, some, some, some issues, so to speak early on. But from that point, we, you know, I kind of went with it and developed early on a voice literally and figuratively for Kyle and kind of where, where I thought he would be in how, how he would handle certain things and where he would go with things.
And I think from that, that really opened the doors up for our writers to be even more creative with. Where he goes in throughout the arc of season one. And there were certain things that I, you know, that happened. And I think at this point, everybody who’s listening to your podcast is probably watched season one
yet later on in the season, there were, you know, when, when [00:27:00] Kyla does become a, a Kryptonian that, that kind of came out of left field. I don’t want to say left field. It’s just early on. We had. Yeah, ideas and certain things we’re going to go at a certain way. And certain characters were going to do things.
And then all of a sudden, you know, for one reason or another it’s in a situation like a normal situation, you’re always getting rewrites on shows. Anyway, and, and things changed. So if you, if you have an idea of what the season looks like, it’s inevitably going to change. And in this case, when we’re dealing with COVID related delays and all sorts of stuff last year, it just, that forced rewrites that were out of a lot of people’s control.
And. This, you know, this kind of was one of the things I’m like, oh, wow. Okay. That, that, I didn’t know that was going to happen, but let’s talk about it. And then as, as Todd was telling me a bit more about what he envisioned everything like, Hey, this is going to be a lot of fun to really, really just kind of get to let loose.
And almost play this, you know, completely different character for an episode or two and
Melissa: two [00:28:00] characters in one.
Erik Valdez: Yeah, I love, I loved it. It was, it was such a fun experience getting to do that and don’t get me wrong as much as I love playing Kyle. It’s always fun to, to go completely psychotic for a little bit and off the wall.
Melissa: That’s awesome. Well, how do you think, how do you think Kyle’s. With like Lorna and his kids are going to be affected by this sort of like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde thing,
Erik Valdez: you know, I will, I’m trying to think what I can and can’t say right. I think you know, I think most of that. The, you know, we’ll, we’re, we’re beyond a lot of the JAK, one hide elements of it.
We’ll see what remains and what doesn’t. But in general, you know, just in, in a quote unquote, normal life setting for Kyle and Laura and Sarah and Sophie you know, there’s still the family issues that any family in real life goes through and, and their inner demons and whatnot. So, you know, the show does a really great [00:29:00] job of balancing.
Superhero with family drama. I think I, you know, there’s not another show out there that really balances it as well as we do, in my opinion. And yeah. And so, you know, we’re, we’re definitely going to be exploring more of that in kind of seeing, you know, it’ll be a product of, of where Smallville as a whole is left off.
You know, Kyle is very proud of this town and, and as is Launa and, you know, it’s, it’s kind of been left. It went through the ringer and been left, not in shambles, kind of in a better place now. Victory ribs and all, but it’s you know, it still needs rebuilding and, and there’s still going to be issues.
And so how those affect the town and affects the individual characters is something we’re exploring and, and there’s there’ll be some surprises for sure. But yeah, it’s I like what we’re doing thus far. I think we’re up into. Up through four scripts for this season already. So, you know, we’re, we’re well on our way and you know, we’ve discussed what is [00:30:00] happening beyond that.
It’s a, it’s going to be a fun ride for sure.
Melissa: Awesome. That’s so cool that you guys got a second season and, you know, have like this huge fan. You know, cause it’s sometimes with new shows, it’s hard, you know, there’s so much out there so much content. So I mean, obviously being a Superman franchise doesn’t hurt and having some great actors attached to it.
But you know, for the fans that are listening I know you can’t give away too much, but what can we expect? The little bits from season two, just like bigger and better. Like everything just blown up, you know,
Erik Valdez: There there will be some, some bigger and better for sure. And a lot of ways. But you know, first, first thing I wanted to kind of talk about, cause you, you touched on it was the fact that, you know, we are super grateful for, for getting a season two and getting a season two.
So early on, I mean, we found out about it after the pilot. And you know, a big part of that is because of the fans. And yes, there is an advantage to a certain point of going into a franchise as, as well-known, as you know, Superman and with characters [00:31:00] as well-known, as Superman and Lois headlining, but there’s also some responsibility there.
And then it’s also a risk because if you go into it, A lot, like the soap opera fans, right? These comic book fans have been reading comic books and seeing different iterations of those comic books brought to life in some cases for years. And, and they they’ve seen multiple versions and some work really well, some not as good as others.
And so you’re going into this. Kind of a little, a little apprehensive of like, okay, you know, are we going to impress these folks? Are they going to be like, what are you doing? And thankfully, I think for the most part, we pretty much nailed it. You know, some of the best feedback I’ve gotten is. From, you know, the superhero fans, the fact that they love, what we’re doing is great.
And it means a ton to me because we don’t want to let them down because again, this is very precious to them and it has, for a lot of them, it’s been part of our lives since they were kids. Right. Some of the other feedback we’ve gotten though, is, is [00:32:00] people that, that, you know, literally have heard this multiple times, like, well, you know, I don’t, I don’t really watch superhero shows, but you know, we tuned into this and man it’s so good and blah, blah, blah.
And for, for me to kind of hear that feedback, or even from some of my friends who were like, yeah, you know, we’ll watch just to support Eric. And then they ended up watching the entire season and they’re really invested in it. That’s that’s really cool. Yeah. It’s a huge compliment. And so we’re really thankful for that.
And going into season two, you know, we’re, that’s part of it is, is we, we know that we’ve set the bar pretty high early on, and we want to continue to be able to meet that indoor inner beat it, you know, the, the ideas for, and the hope is for us to be around for, for quite a few seasons and to continue to.
To wow. And to shock into you know, make people laugh and smile and cry and all of those great things for years to come. And I think we’re off to a good start with season two. Like, like, like you said, and then I will [00:33:00] kind of talk about there’s a lot of bigger, better things happening. Something, you know, some of the cool stuff is with DC properties and comic books.
I mean, you never know which characters are going to pop up. We’ll just kind of leave it at that and
Melissa: very exciting.
Erik Valdez: Some are well-known and you know, you never know what’s going to pop up in Smallville in season two, but I would definitely tune in.
Melissa: I love that. I that’s, what I love about comic book shows and movies is, yeah, you don’t know who’s.
You know, they’re going to bring out of the vault essentially. And like, you know, put on, put on an episode of that’s I think really exciting about comic book adaptation.
Erik Valdez: Yeah, it really is. And I mean, just, you know, the other part of it too is I was, I was filming yesterday and totally unrelated to me. And this is still what’s.
What’s cool about it is I get to be on this superhero show. Kyle is not a, it’s not a superhero. He’s, he’s your small town hero, right. Is your fire, fire, chief and whatnot, which I love that kind of balance in that element of it. But part of me is like, oh man, I wish I had a super suit, [00:34:00] you know, but being around.
It’s really cool. It’s still, I was, it was in our wardrobe trailer yesterday and one of our wardrobe folks, Sonya who’s awesome. Shout out to Sonia our entire wardrobe team for that matter. They’re working on some stuff that I can’t talk about, but I’m just looking at their, like their. Attention to detail and how they craft things and stuff.
And it’s just, it’s really cool to be around that. You know, I walk on our stages and see what the, our set deck and our art department or our building. And it’s just, it’s really, really cool. My inner inner child is still just blown away. Every time I get to set foot on our S our stages or especially our backlog, which is completely built for our show.
It’s just a pinch me moments all the time. Just to be a part of all of this, you know?
Melissa: Yeah. Well, and I’m sure it helps you get into character too. Like just being aware where this whole, like, town basically exists around you for real. Yeah. [00:35:00] Yeah. That’s really cool. Now, do you do any of your own stunts or do you have people?
I know there’s like safety issues, so I’m just.
Erik Valdez: There’s. Yeah, I mean, look, safety is always a priority. In, in, we have a great team from our stunt coordinator, Rob, to, you know, everyone that’s involved in the safety element of it. There, they were super, you know, double and triple checking everything and making sure that everyone is comfortable at any given time and that, you know, stents there’s always risks involved in stunts.
Right. They’re always good about double and triple checking things to make sure that those risks are minimized as much as possible. In my situation I, you know, in, and there’s no good or bad about it, there are a lot of actors that would prefer not to do their own stunts. There are a lot of times that, you know, you really want to do your own stuff, but you can’t because of timing constraints or because you’ve got to go film something else.
And so they have to use a stunt double for that. So. Up to us a hundred percent. But in [00:36:00] my case, thus far, I’ve been able to do every single one of my own stunts, which is to me pretty awesome, because I am one of those, those guys I’m an adrenaline junkie again,
Melissa: you know?
Erik Valdez: Yeah. I, I, I rock climbed. I’ve boxed.
I’ve done. All sorts of stuff. And it’s just for me, I really, I have to remind myself at times that I’m 42 and not 24 and the body doesn’t recover the way it used to. Now, I always go up to Rob whenever he’s got something in him, he and I have this kind of unspoken language where, you know, he’ll smirk and I’ll smirk and I’ll be the guy which got pulled me, Rob.
Okay. Even let’s make sure you’re up or this. And you know, one of the examples was the at the, for our finale for season one, the the fire, you know, when, when Kyle goes into the fire and he, and he carries this, the slate up and big, awesome heroic moment for him, which was, you know, Sean, slow mode, everything was such a cool little, [00:37:00] little shot.
But that whole thing, you know, I show up on set and Ron was like, all right, man, look, we we got real fire here and they’re asking us to get pretty close to it. And so, you know, you let me know if you’re not up to it, let’s do it. And he’s like, okay, well let’s, let’s work our way up to it. And so he literally, they set like marks of how close they would like me to get to the fire from visually.
And where, you know, we kind of needed to be at least to get the shot. And so I did this test thing and I’m walking up to it and I’m walking. He’s like, you still good? I’m like, I’m still good. I’m still walking. And he’s like, all right, man, that’s that’s close enough. I don’t, you’re not going any farther. I was like, okay, cool.
So, you know, I was, I was ready to get even closer. It would probably would have been a dumb move on my part, but that’s where it made sure safety first and. You know, and and yeah, so we got to do that and it was, it was such a cool little moment. I mean, this, to be one of those you know, one of those cinematic moments walking out of fire as a kid, [00:38:00] like you always dream of doing something like that.
And I think I probably pretended I was doing that multiple times growing up, so it was awesome. Yeah. Fire
Melissa: starter. Yeah. That’s so cool. Yeah. I was gonna ask you what was one of your like memorable moments on set? It sounds like. Pretty high up there.
Erik Valdez: That was, that was definitely up there. You know, the other one, when, when Kyle there, there was a scene where call had Lois in in Jonathan Kent and he had him by the throat in the barn and there was about to just light them up.
And then all of a sudden it’s a very, you know, blink and you miss it moment in the, in the show. We’re Superman comes through and just kind of humbles Kyle and sends them through the back of the barn. Right. All that happens really quickly on screen. But when we were filming it, like there was a full rigging setup and everything, and they shot it literally, like they would kind of count down and I’m in this harness.
And it just like all of a sudden it just boom. And like shirks me up into the air, probably, you know, five, six feet [00:39:00] and pulls me back another 20, 30 feet and land on the ground. And it was like being on a, a ride at the, you know, the carnival or something. It was, it was cool. You know, I get to do it a few times.
That was another one. And then in general, just that I really I’ve never had a bad day on set even in for not doing anything crazy like that, just to get along so well with my cast mates and stuff, especially, you know, am an NBA who I work with all the time. Just we’re, we’re like a real life family at this point.
And so when we go to work, it’s just, we just get to play. That’s what it amounts to.
Melissa: That’s so cool. And now, you know, you mentioned racing, that’s something you like to do in your spare time, right? That’s or you do like professional or amateur, like how do you do do competitions or just for fun?
Erik Valdez: I have I’ve, I’ve competed at a professional level off and on for 25 years, I’ve done a little bit of everything.
I, you know, I’ve raced, I started off early on in, in carts shifter carts. And then [00:40:00] I did a little bit of road racing through SCCA and AMSA race Porsches at Daytona, and I’ve done some lower level. NASCAR’s. I did the Baja 1000 and the Baja 500. So yeah, I’ve done quite a bit in that world and a lot more I would like to do, but unfortunately, you know, Warner brothers frowns upon me doing anything like that while we’re filming.
So. As you get to watch it on the weekends. I don’t really get to compete at the moment, but you know, it’s fine. I’m not going to complain
Melissa: about it at all. It’s fine. I’m fine.
Erik Valdez: I’m fine. I do still, they can’t tell me what cars I can and can’t buy in the real world. So I do still have some, some toys, cause it is a bit of an addiction, but now I don’t get to compete at the level that I used to.
Melissa: What’s your favorite car to race?
Erik Valdez: It’s really tough to say. I mean, I, my I’ve always kind of gravitated towards what they call road racing, which is, you know, asphalt tracks where you’re not just turning left all day. Mind you having done that as [00:41:00] well? A lot more of. Having done it now than I did before.
It seemed so easy to just turn left all day. The, you know, the NASCAR style of racing, it’s really not easy at all. It’s a whole different kind of driving and solid driving, but I gravitate a lot more towards road racing, which is, you know, you’ll have your circuit. Anywhere from 10 to 20 turns and left and right.
And, you know, 200 mile, an hour streets and 40 mile an hour hairpins. And I’ve always liked that elements of, of racing. But I will say that the Baja 1000 was probably the craziest experience, not even in a car, just in life. Yeah. It’s, you know, in that, in that world, you’re, you’re in a truck in my case.
And you start in Ensonata Mexico, you’re, you know, right there done in Baja, Mexico. And, and you go, and you’re just going out into the open desert and you’re going through Hills and rocks where you’re really barely going, you know, 15, 20 miles an hour. Cause it’s so treacherous. And then you’re doing 95 miles an hour flat through [00:42:00] jumps and bumps that are probably, you know, the size of an average desk in an office.
Doing, you know, like I said, 90 or a hundred miles an hour over that. And these, the beating you takes in the, taking these trucks and stuff is crazy. And, and you’re, you know, you start off in the middle of the day and it’s hot and sunny. And then you’re down literally by the water at night midnight, and it’s, you know, super cold and foggy and Misty.
And so it’s a battle of elements. It’s a battle of time. I mean, my stint in the truck was. I think eight and a half, nine hours without, without stop. And you’re in the truck the entire time. And so mentally it’s yeah, it’s it’s, it is, it’s a full on road trip, but you’re in the middle of nowhere. You’re going through deserts and there’s cows and there’s trees and there’s cactus and it was.
It was a crazy experience that I’d love to do again, but unfortunately it doesn’t align with our shooting schedule. So [00:43:00] I don’t know that I’ll be able to do it
Melissa: anytime soon. Well, you know, it’s probably good to take like a break now and again, maybe like your wife can sleep better at night
Erik Valdez: too. Oh, she, she definitely sleeps better knowing that I’m not in a race car.
She understands that she grew up in a family, her brother races, she loves cars. It is much easier for her to, to know where I am. You know, I’m going to set them working instead of on a track and a race car. She’s much happier
Melissa: about that. Much more calm. Yeah. Well, before I let you go you know, aside from Superman and Louis, I know you’ve also done you did a character on fire crisis.
Erik Valdez: I did. Yeah, that just came out a couple of weeks ago, which was a, another, another great experience. I, you know, I I’ve been able to do some really cool stuff in this career. And, and I mentioned early on about being, you know, diverse and being curious and stuff as an artist. And for me to be able to do a little bit, you know, do soap operas, do video games, do movies to television, like having, having done a little bit of everything.
It’s it’s awesome. I mean, it’s, it was one of those things. Kind of an [00:44:00] opportunity came up and I had done voiceover in the past for a video game, but it wasn’t the full mo-cap and everything. And in this instance, yeah, I am the character, like every emotion that the character makes in the game. That was me.
Every thing that he says, every, you know, all of that was done in, in, on a stage in Toronto. And it was such a cool experience kind of working. With you know, all the technical elements of it, but also a lot of like childlike imagination, you know, you’re in this space and there’s nothing around you, but there’s really a tank right here, or there’s an explosion right there, you know, and having to play with all of that is, is really awesome.
And then getting to work with, you know, our entire cast was super cool, but I did get to work with John Carlos. We’ll see. I think I worked with him for probably, yeah. Three or four days on the shoot. And he he’s, he’s one of my favorite actors in the last, you know, 20 years and ridiculously talented and just such a gem of a human being that he’s, you know, [00:45:00] he, the knowledge and the experience gain was one thing.
But the conversations just from a human standpoint, we’re awesome. He’s a, he’s a really great person. And that was that. That’s always nice to see when you, you know, when you’re a fan of somebody. And having been in the industry long enough now to work with people that I work, I was fans of before working with.
It’s always good to have an experience like that. You know, you never want to be let down by somebody, you, you know, you looked up to for a long time and luckily I’ve never really had a really terrible experience, but his was one of those, those great ones that really stood out.
Melissa: That’s so good to hear.
Yeah. Cause you always, you know, that’s saying they don’t meet your heroes or whatever and, and you know, there are, there are a lot of egos, you know, in the, in that, in industry, unfortunately, but I, yeah, I can imagine that sometimes you’d be like, I don’t want to meet you cause I don’t want to be disappointed.
So that’s really cool to hear.
Erik Valdez: Yeah. You know, a lot of it, I think is just, it also comes down to who you are as an individual. And I I’ve always said before, like being recognized for what I do on, on [00:46:00] screen is, is amazing. But at the end of the day, if I’m not a nice person in real life and that’s what somebody takes away, then I felt right.
And so I I’d much rather be known for, you know, being a pretty decent actor, but being a really good human being. And so that’s, I think when you have that attitude, You do end up meeting people and you bring the best out of them, and then you don’t end up having terrible experiences. Not to say I haven’t had some interesting ones, but in general, I think if you bring that energy to the table you know, people feed off of it and it’s, it’s hard to make a lot of enemies when you’re a good person.
Melissa: Absolutely. I love that. Yeah, you are a nice guy. I can tell. Yeah, absolutely. Well, thank you for coming on the show. This has been awesome. And it’s just been fun chatting with you.
Erik Valdez: Yeah, I really appreciate it. Thank you for having me. And I look forward to hearing it. And yeah. Maybe talk with you guys again, down the road after sometime in season two.
Melissa: Absolutely. We’d love to have you back and for everyone listening, make sure to check out [00:47:00] season one of Superman and Lois. It is streaming now on the CW and HBO max as well. So, and then you can follow Eric on Twitter, right? Eric Valdez.
Erik Valdez: Yeah, Twitter, Instagram. Those are the only two I’m on at the moment at Eric Valdez.
Melissa: Cool. And that way they can kinda keep posted on Wednesdays and two is coming out because I’m sure people can’t wait to see what happens. Yeah.
Erik Valdez: Yeah. That’s that’s, that’s the best place to go. I’m not the best at social media, but I do tend to post some things here and there from, you know, from set as we lead up to when it’s going to premier.
Little teasers here and there. So I try to try to keep people entertained in that regard. Other than that, it’s going to be cars. And my son basically that’s, that’s pretty much what’s out there and on my Instagram.
Melissa: Perfect. Well, you heard it here, folks to go follow him on Twitter and yeah, go watch Superman and Lois.