Dean Cain on his prolific TV movie career, including tonight's 'A Mile in His Shoes'

Dean-Cain

Image Credit: Noel Vasquez/Getty Images

You know, Dean Cain really doesn’t get enough credit. Not only is he one of the hardest working men in showbiz, with no fewer than a half-dozen TV movies every year, but his Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993-1997) anticipated pop culture’s current superhero obsession. Tonight, he plays a different kind of hero on GMC’s A Mile in His Shoes, an intimate drama about a minor league baseball manager who recruits and mentors a young man named Mickey Tussler (Luke Schroder), who has Asperger’s Syndrome—and a killer fastball. It’s the kind of heartfelt role that most appeals to Cain. After all, he still considers his most important job to be that of father to his eleven-year-old son. We caught up with the 45-year-old actor and discussed his incredibly prolific TV movie career, why he hasn’t taken a part as a series regular in years, and what he thinks of Hollywood’s caped-crusader craze. Check out our interview with Superman and a clip from tonight’s A Mile in His Shoes after the break.

EW: You’re a single father to an 11-year-old son. Was it the surrogate-father/son relationship that drew you to A Mile in His Shoes?
DC:  When the producer brought it to me he asked if I’d like to play the coach. And I said, “I’d like to play Mickey Tussler, but I guess I’m too old.” But I said yes, of course. How much time did I spend preparing for this role? My entire life. As an athlete, as a coach, as a father, I fit the bill, so it’s not like I had to do a lot of research to play the guy.

EW: Not only are you in A Mile in His Shoes, you’re also in Home Run Showdown (airing TBD). What’s up with all the baseball movies? Aren’t you a football guy?
DC: Well I played baseball for 12 years as well. I love sports. Anytime I can combine sports with a film I’m a happy guy. It’s such a natural fit, because sports always seems to be a metaphor for life. Always, always, always.

EW: What position did you play?
DC: I caught a little bit, but I was a second baseman and a centerfielder, then I ended up almost totally in the outfield. I can catch. I catch balls….that didn’t come out right. But centerfield is my favorite position. Jim Edmonds has been my favorite since forever. But I’m not really into baseball now that football season has started.

EW: In Home Run Showdown, though, it sounds like you’re Little League coach has a bit of an edge…
DC: Ah, yes. The sympathetic character in that is played by Matthew Lillard. I’m his rival. I play a former major leaguer who is coaching his son and other kids in a little league. And what happens is that the All Star Game is being held in our area, in Detroit, and the winning little league team would get to go to the Home Run Derby and catch the balls the sluggers don’t hit out of the park.

EW: From what I’m hearing your rivalry with Matthew Lillard continued off camera…
DC: So we’re at the Toledo Mudhens stadium recreating the Home Run Derby, and we’ve got some pros there like Gary Sheffield and all. But the first three pros couldn’t hit the ball out. Our director (Oz Scott) said to Matthew Lillard, I bet you $2500 you can’t hit it out. He comes out there and hits it out. Three pros just couldn’t do it, but he did. Then I got in there. Stepped up. First pitch, bang. It’s going, going…hit the fence. Just missed going out. I was so close. Maybe if it had been a little hotter, a little less humidity in the air.

EW: On A Mile in His Shoes, did you help Luke Schroder (Mickey Tussler) with his throwing arm?
DC: Luke was fantastic, even though he’s just a 17-year-old kid. His father’s Rick Schroder so he has that acting bloodline, I guess. I worked with him on pitching a little bit, but my shoulder was hurt at the time, and it’s just now getting better—amazing how long it takes to heal when you’re a little bit over 40! But Luke’s not a baseball player. He’s just a little bit off as a pitcher. Which works perfectly for his character! If he had perfect throwing mechanics, we’d just think, “Wow, he’s a great pitcher. What’s the big deal?” If you’re Randy Johnson, 6’10”, and a have a laser throwing arm, there isn’t much in the way of dramatic stakes….

EW: You have like 10 movies either soon to be released or in production. Nobody talks about it but, you’re one of the hardest working guys in showbiz…
DC: That’s perfect for me. You see, I’ll go make a bunch of movies but balance that time with the time I spend with my son. I’m a single father, I don’t like to be away from my son. So I’ll go out, make a film and come back. Repeat. And it’s worked out very well for the last 11 years. I don’t want to go back to a series full time, because you give up your life to a series. So I’ve made a gajillion TV films. Some of them have been great. Some of them not so great. My agent says that I’m a “repeat business guy.” If you hire me to come do a movie, I’ll be on time, know all my material, be ready to go, have a good attitude. I’m here to work, so I get hired over and over again by the same producers. If you just be a team player on set you can work so much more often.

EW: So does that mean you’ll think about returning to a series full-time when your son goes off to college?
DC: No, I’ll commit suicide. Suicide, or I’ll take up residence in his dorm room. No, no, in all seriousness, I’ll just start fathering more children randomly.

EW: I’m sure!
DC: (laughs) Your job as a parent is to raise your child to be able to exist without you, to be independent. So…yes, I am considering it a bit more. Especially when my son enters high school. He’s eleven now. He’s my favorite person in the world to be with. But I realize that I’m on the way out with him. He’ll have other things to occupy him as he grows up. So yeah, I’d be up for a series. I’d prefer to be in an ensemble, though, because I do like having a life.

EW: So let’s go through some of your other upcoming projects, like The Dog Who Saved Halloween (airing this October on Starz)…
DC: It’s the third installment in the franchise. Kids love it. It’s ridiculously low budget, silly.

EW: Are you going to end up in handcuffs again?
DC: Of course. But this time, I break out of prison and am running away. I’m trying to turn a new leaf, but then George Bannister brings me back in and we have to break in to a haunted house for him.

EW: Do you really want to keep making TV movies like this?
DC: Seriously, if I were nominated for an Academy Award—not that that’s happening right now—I’d still make my silly dog movies, even though everybody in the world would tell me not to. I love how James Franco still does General Hospital even after he’s nominated for an Academy Award—it’s work, and it’s fun to work in different mediums. As long as Franco doesn’t host….Just kidding, just kidding. I feel badly about that, hosting is such a thankless job. I’d never do that. I’m not a song and dance man, so you’re not going to see me on Glee anytime soon. If you want that show to continue, keep me far away from it.

EW: Next up in your holiday-themed movie lineup you’ve got The Case for Christmas (on the Hallmark Channel, Holiday 2011)?
DC: We shot in Toronto during their scorching hot heat wave, and of course we had to dress like it was winter, which sucked. I play a lawyer who has to defend Kris Kringle from a class-action lawsuit. My character takes the job, completely skeptical of who Kris is—but my daughter believes, of course. Some guy brings a class-action lawsuit against Kris Kringle because he wants to introduce a new gift-giving character, since he feels kids haven’t gotten exactly what they wanted from Santa Claus.

EW: But then you switch gears entirely and do a serious drama like Sweetwater (in theaters January 4, 2012)?
DC: I play an attorney again in Sweetwater—not defending Santa Claus this time. It’s a little sci-fi. It’s about the sinister forces that are preventing the discovery of a cure for cancer. Thugs are knocking off the people who have found the cure for cancer and we’re trying to bring it to light.

EW: I can’t let you go without asking you about a certain caped crusader. Obviously, you’re still best known for playing Superman, and I feel like Lois & Clark was ahead of the curve when it comes to pop culture’s current superhero obsession. Wish you could have ridden this wave a bit more?
DC: Lois & Clark was designed primarily to be fun. But I feel like whenever I see a big-budget epic like Green Lantern or Spider-Man, they all seem like episodes of Lois & Clark. They’re based on relationship dynamics that we tapped into all the time. I’m like, I did moments like this literally a hundred times, and now this movie is making $300 million? I guess it’s all about the special effects.

Did you guys watch A Mile in His Shoes tonight? And if Dean Cain isn’t your favorite TV movie actor, who is?

More from EW.com:
Lois Lane: 14 Takes on Superman Gal
The new Superman to be 28 to 32, maybe from TV, probably not Jon Hamm
EW’s Holiday-Movie-Cliche Checklist
The 2nd Annual Yulies: An absurd celebration of the holiday TV-movie genre


Comments (51 total) Add your comment
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  • Ashley

    I <3 Dean Cain.

    • cindy

      glad he’s not known for playing scott peterson anymore. i thought for sure that would be a career killer.

  • CJ

    Cool interview. I loved Dean in L&C. And he was always really cool with the fans after the game at the MTV Rock & Jocks (I saw him two or three times at the basketball version at UC Irvine). Glad to see he’s carved out a niche for himself.

  • Jackie

    Loved him on ‘Lois & Clark’! He does NOT look 45 at all.

    • René De Beaumarchais

      Must be his Asian genes helping.

  • Cordelia

    I was a huge fan of Lois and Clark and absolutely loved Dean Cain. However, I completely soured on him when he went on some talk show and went public with what should have been very private details about his relationship with Brooke Shields in college. Not classy, not a gentleman.

    • Elle

      I think Dean has changed quite a bit since the birth of his son. And I know that Dean and Brooke are still very close friends. He was very publicly supportive of her when she was going through her depression and was being criticized by Tom Cruise in that whole ordeal. Whatever Dean said back then…I imagine he regrets it.

    • Kath

      I didn’t see the interview, but my understanding is that he only talked about their relationship AFTER Brooke Shields had talked very publicly about it first. So the news was already out there – he just responded to further questions.
      Should they both have kept their mouths shut? Absolutely, IMO.

  • Jessica

    I LOVE Dean Cain. L& C was on when I was just hitting puberty I guess and he’s just IT for me. If he wants to randomly father more children–call me :) I enjoy these movies, family oriented, feel-good things. Keep it up Dean, nice to see you working so much. Thanks EW for recognizing his skills.

  • anne

    Glad to see Dean get some credit for his talent and career. I respect his decision to be there for his son. I miss him on regular tv. Loved Lois & Clark. I’m glad he has so many movies coming out so we can enjoy them and he has fun doing them.

  • chattypatra

    Christian Blauvelt, I am SO jealous of you right now! Thank you for the great interview. I love Dean Cain. Not only is he a nice guy and an underrated actor, but he is arguably the best kisser in the history of television. His romantic scenes on Lois and Clark – smoking hot! While I understand and admire the motivation behind his current choices at work, I do look forward to the day when he is back as a series regular on a quality television show.

    • Elle

      I do remember Dean and Teri being really sexy. Honestly, I think Lois and Clark as characters are just hot together period. There is such great push and pull there with the characters. Tom and Erica were really sexy together on Smallville too. I’m hoping Henry and Amy will be sexy together next year in Man of Steel. It’s just a very dynamic and sexy relationship and yet it’s two people who legitmately love each other and have a great friendship as well. It’s just such a great relationship dynamic. In some ways, I think DC Comics are absolute fools for rebooting the Superman comics and resetting the marriage in order to start over again with the Triangle. Yet, I do kind of get why they would want to start over and try and play the whole thing again for a new generation. Lois and Clark get married at the end of every comics age. But people want to see them get there again and again.

  • Rebecca

    I am so part of this Superman obsession!! I am watching all of Smallville and after that I will definitely be watching Lois and Clark too!!! So excited because I just decided earlier today that I would be watching that show and then EW writes and article about Dean Cain!!! Awesome!!!

    • Elle

      Rebecca, if you liked Lois/Clark on Smallville (and I agree they were fantasic) then you will love Dean and Teri together. Smallville was inspired by a lot of different comic ages. They borrowed from the Golden Age, Silver Age and Modern Age. “Lois and Clark” was primarily based on the John Bryne Superman era. But you will definately see when you watch Dean and Teri that Tom and Erica did borrow some things from them. You will love it. I’m jealous that you are watching it for the first time. With Smallville over and DC comics resetting to #1 thereby making Lois and Clark both young and single again for the time being (::tear::) I am seriously craving some good Lois/Clark action. Guess I have to wait for Man of Steel in 2013…

  • JL

    I met him at charity event years ago and he was super nice! I’m happy that he’s doing well.:)

  • one_love

    I’ve been in love with him for the past 18 years. Damn, nothing’s changed.

  • megan

    I loved him in Lois and Clarke!

  • Dianne

    I watched “A Mile in His Shoes” tonight and loved it! Dean Cain was great in his role as baseball manager. The story was compelling and heartfelt. I would recommend it to anyone. I think Dean Cain is sorely underappreciated as an actor. He always steps up to the plate (pun intended), and is such a natural in any role he plays. I am so happy to know that we have a number of Dean Cain movies to look forward to on TV this fall!

  • Teuta

    I hope that Dean Cain only does theatrically released films from now on. He is an underrated actor and shouldn’t be doing straight to DVD or TV films.

  • Liz

    I just LOVED him in L&C… Hil & Teri Hatcher has such great chemistry….
    I’m happy he’s working a lot, but I wouldn’t mind seeing him on a tv show!

    • Liz

      Oops! Meant “him & Teri” of course.

  • Kevin

    “No, no, in all seriousness, I’ll just start fathering more children randomly.”

    This was pretty funny.

    Dean Cain seems like a real stand-up guy.

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