Shaun Sipos is living proof — it pays to go to the dentist.
Back when he was just a scruffy, hockey-loving 18-year-old growing up in Victoria, British Columbia, the receptionist at his dentist’s office asked if he’d ever considered acting. He hadn’t. The receptionist had a connection to an agent, who sent Sipos on an audition — he got the part, which led to gigs as a series regular on shows like ABC’s “Complete Savages” and CW’s “Melrose Place.”
Now he and British up-and-comer Cameron Cuffe are at the helm of SyFy’s new series “Krypton,” a dramatic prequel to the Superman saga that debuts Wednesday, March 21. Sipos plays DC Comics hero Adam Strange, a human who time-travels to the planet Krypton and winds up as mentor to the Man of Steel’s grandfather, Seg-El (Cuffe).
Sipos, 36, spoke with Newsday contributor Joseph V. Amodio.
Are you a comic-book reader or is this world new to you?
I read comics as a kid. Not as much as [co-star] Cameron Cuffe. But I was a big Superman fan, mainly from the movies. I think he’s the greatest superhero ever constructed.
Who’s your favorite Superman?
Ohhh, Christopher Reeve. His version — that’s what everybody looks to. Even now the comics seem modeled after his take on it. He had such a special quality, a vulnerability, wanting to fit in even though there’s no possible way he can. There’s that lesson — he’s different, and that’s OK. It’s OK to stand out.
I guess that’s a bit like your character, Adam Strange, a human who lands on planet Krypton.
Yeah, and he’s confused. Adam knew Superman. When Adam meets Seg for the first time, Seg is hustling guys for money. Adam goes, this can’t be Superman’s grandfather. This isn’t in line with Superman at all.
How’d you research your role?
DC Comics sent a big box of Adam Strange comics, which was fantastic. He was quite a big character. And he’s similar to Superman. He can fly, not because of super strength but because of a rocket pack. He has a fantastic device, a zeta beam, which teleports him light years in an instant. And he has a similar un-corruptible morality and goodness to him.
Ever been to Comic-Con or Wonder-Con?
You’re headed to Wonder-Con later this month. Do you worry about all those fans who may have very specific expectations about your character?
Nooo. [He pauses.] I can’t say I really thought of it. I just tried to find the depth of his wounds and joys, what he wants. If you get down to people’s base natures, we’re all essentially the same. That’s what makes comics so powerful. We’re meeting Adam at the beginning — he’s not a superhero yet. He’s stumbled into this position. He’s an archaeologist looking for something, and then he’s beamed away. Many of us stumble into things . . . into careers we didn’t expect. We wonder, can we be a master at this and do something with it? There’s a voice saying you can’t. And another urging you forward. Adam is grappling with those voices.
Are you grappling with them, too? That description of stumbling into a career sounds like you.
I did stumble into this. And I struggled with that. Am I gonna be good? Am I gonna suck? So, yeah . . . I feel like Adam, and Adam feels like me. It’s a bit of therapy session.
Hey — one last thing — you worked on the series “Insomnia.” That looks intriguing.
Starz picked it up. I’m not sure when they plan to air it. We shot it in Moscow. It’s like “Hunger Games” meets “Death Race.” I play a young man who — how can I say without giving anything away — who’s killed someone, but accidentally. They take these criminals, people with no options left, and force them into this game — they inject them with a serum that will cause their heart to stop beating if they fall asleep. They’re set loose in Moscow and the rules are they can kill each other but they can’t get caught, and they can’t go to sleep or they’ll die. The last man standing wins 10 million euro in Bitcoin and a million cash to start a new life. All the contestants are fitted with watches that track them, and a contact lens that allows each to observe what’s going on, like a camera, and these oligarchs lay bets on who’ll survive. It’s intense.
Yeah — I think I might do OK in that scenario. At least the staying up part. You know how people often imagine themselves in movie plots? Could I survive? I thought, “I can go without sleep, no problem.” What about you?
When I was younger I could. Now I need my eight hours. I get pretty zonked.