Look in the sky. It's a bird. It's a plane.
No it's, er, Brandon Routh. Almost unheard of unless you happen to be an obsessive devotee of American soaps and sitcoms (he had a recurring role in the 01/02 series of the long-running One Life To Live), the strapping six foot 27-year-old native of Des Moines, Iowa, is about to become one of the most recognised names and faces on the planet - and all because of a blue lycra bodystocking with a red cape, matching Y fronts and a little 'S' curl in the hair, and a modest little superhero movie called Superman Returns.
N aturally, the publicity machine's unearthed those prescient coincidences that make it all seem like destiny; the fact he had Super-man pyjamas as a kid and that he went to a 2003 Halloween contest dressed as Clark Kent and the Man of Steel (presumably he changed in the phone booth midway).
There's also the luck and coincidence angle in that he worked with someone who worked for the writer, and so on and so on, but at the end of the day, it all boils down to auditions, screen tests and, aside from director Bryan Singer, wanting an unknown for the role, the not insignificant fact that he looks a lot like the young Christopher Reeve.
As he explains, it was a fairly lengthy and nerve-shredding process, beginning with an audition tape and then a rushed meeting (that almost never happened because of Routh's migraine) with Singer in a coffee shop before he left for Australia.
"It turned into an hour and 45 minutes and he talked a lot about what he planned to do with the film and asked a lot of questions and said would I come back and put a reading on tape with the casting director.
I didn't even get to do that until after Bryan got back from Sydney, then he came in half an hour after and we read some more scenes."
Three weeks later he was told to turn up for a haircut so they could film a secret screen test, but still his name wasn't being mentioned as a possible contender in order to maintain the element of surprise.
Two weeks after that, he got the final call. Brandon Routh was the new Superman. So, Reeve lookalike aside, what was it that Singer saw in him?
"He told me some-thing along the lines that it was very important to have somebody that embodied the character, that lived the character. Well, I'm from a small town and I had that mentality Clark had coming out of Smallville.
"I was involved in lots of activities like music and acting and sports at high school, but I wasn't a popular guy.
"I was a lot like how Clark may have been; a regular nice guy, a little awkward, athletic build, genuine, trustworthy, all those things.
"I think if I was this brash guy who was a big partier and trashed hotel rooms, even though I look the way I do and could play the character the way I do, he wouldn't have cast me."
A self-confessed Superman fan (remember the pyjamas!), Routh has fond memories of Richard Donner's original movie. Fond in a strange sort of way, that is.
"I made myself sick the first time I saw Superman," he laughs.
"I was probably five or six and it was going to be on TV. I had the Superman cape and pyjamas on and I was running round the apartment, jumping on the couch and I got so excited I gave myself a migraine.
"I remember watching the movie after I woke up after I'd been throwing up, watching the second half of the movie lying on the couch half-awake. That was my first experience of Superman."
So, bearing in mind the spooky resemblance, migraines and upchucking aside, what are the differences between Reeve's Superman and his?
"You can see from the late 70s to now just how much we've changed as far as style of clothing, the way we speak, and the style of how films are shot.
"Films are taken much more seriously today.
"In the original movie, the first time Superman gets into the suit,
there's this pimp saying 'It's a bad outfit'. There's that little bit of a cheese factor to the film, but that's how the 70s were.
"Our film is still comic, still funny, but there's a very real sense to it. I know, as Chris knew, that the character evolves with society, and 25 years later, things are very different in the world. The world is much more open - and so is Superman."