Wednesday, August 31, 2016

SUPERGIRL Casts Frederick Schmidt as Metallo

The Man with the Kryptonite Heart has been found.

Entertainment Weekly revealed yesterday that the CW series Supergirl has cast Frederick Schmidt as John Corben, better known to DC Comics fans as the supervillain Metallo. Metallo will appear in at least two episodes, starting with the Season 2 premiere.

According to the article, Metallo is described as "When international assassin John Corben is badly injured after taking on both Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) and Superman (Tyler Hoechlin), he is reborn by a shadow organization into the Kryptonite-powered supervillain Metallo."

Schmidt is a little-known actor who has appeared in the films Starred Up, Snow in Paradise, Second Coming, Alleycats, Patient Zero, Brimstone, The Marker, and Kaleidoscope.

Created in 1959 by Robert Bernstein and Al Plastino, Metallo first appeared in Action Comics (vol.1) #252 as a journalist (and secretly a thief and murderer) who had just committed what he thought was the perfect murder.  While fleeing from the scene of the crime, Corben suffered a near-fatal accident that mangled his body beyond repair.  An elderly scientist, Professor Vale, happened to come upon Corben, and used his scientific skill to transfer Corben's brain into a robotic body covered by a fleshlike artificial skin.  Corben discovered that his power source, a capsule of uranium, would only last a day, but was told by Vale that kryptonite would provide him an indefinite power supply

After obtaining a job with the Daily Planet, Corben briefly tried to romance Lois Lane, while deciding that he would use his powers to eliminate Superman, the one person who might expose his criminal deeds.  After setting a kryptonite death-trap for Superman, Corben stole what he thought was another sample of kryptonite from a museum as a new power supply, not knowing it was in reality a fake prop.  This mistake caused him to die, just as he was about to kill Lois Lane for discovering that he was not Superman (after pretending to be him, using his super-strength and invulnerability as a cyborg).  Superman eventually escaped from the kryptonite trap, and arrived just after Metallo (John Corben) died.

In 1987, the character was revamped by John Byrne in Superman (vol.2) #1 as a small-time con man who was fatally injured in a car crash, but to his luck, Professor Emmet Vale happened to pass by.  Professor Vale was a pioneer in robotics and erroneously believed that Superman was the first in a wave of superpowered Kryptonian invaders after recovering Superman's ship and mistranslating Jor-El's message to his son.  Vale transplanted Corben's brain into a robotic alloy body, which was powered by a two-pound chunk of kryptonite, and instructed him to kill Superman.  Metallo, now Corben's new moniker, thanked Vale by snapping his neck and killing him.  Despite ignoring Vale's commands, Metallo came into conflict with Superman on various occasions, largely due to his continued activities as a petty thug.  Metallo later lost his kryptonite heart to Lex Luthor, though back-up life support systems allowed Metallo to reactivate himself and escape.

The character was revamped again by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank in 2009's Superman: Secret Origin, as Sgt. John Corben, a soldier who served under Lois Lane's father, General Sam Lane.  General Lane attempted to push his daughter, Lois into a relationship with Corben, but after one date, she did not return his feelings for her.  Corben signed up for a military option to neutralize Superman, with the help of a powersuit built by LexCorp. However, in his first encounter with Superman, a stray bullet hit the kryptonite rock inside the suit, leading to a disastrous energy cascade within the battlesuit which almost killed Corben.  But through the efforts of Lex Luthor and a crack team of scientists, Corben survived, part-man, part-machine, with the kryptonite rock functioning as his new heart. Driven by a hatred for this alien invader, he became the villain known as Metallo.  Metallo subsequently attacked Superman again, now wearing a green, orange and red armor in a rampage which endangered not only the citizens of Metropolis, but his own fellow soldiers. He was defeated by Superman once more.

As part of the rebooted The New 52 continuity, Grant Morrison and Rags Morales revamped Metallo yet again, placing John Corben is under the command of General Lane and implied that Corben and Lois once had a relationship.  When Superman escaped from the military's custody, Corben enlisted in a military project (co-opted by Lex Luthor, General Lane, and young scientist Doctor John Henry Irons to go against Superman) called "Project Steel Soldier"  Corben donned the "Metal 0" suit with scientists, mostly Irons, trying to help him, and when robotic needles were inserted into his head, Metallo took control and Corben's heart burst.  Although the attack on Superman succeeded, Metallo was revealed to have been subverted by Brainiac as part of his own plans, and his rampage was defeated when Doctor Irons used an armored suit of his own to fight Corben and upload a computer virus that he designed in the event of such a situation.  After escaping and still under Brainiac's control, Corben continued to fight Superman until Superman was able to reason with Metallo to fight Brainiac's influence due to his feelings for Lois Lane.  He was later given a Kryptonite heart to keep him alive since it was the only energy compatible with his cybernetics.

Schmidt will be the fourth actor to portray Metallo in live-action, after Michael Callan on Superboy, Scott Valentine on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, and Brian Austin Green on Smallville.  The character has also appeared in various animated projects, including Superman: The Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited (voiced by Malcolm McDowell), Justice League (voiced by Corey Burton), The Batman (voiced by Lex Lang), Superman/Batman: Public Enemies (voiced by John C. McGinley), and Justice League: Doom (voiced by Paul Blackthorne).

Supergirl returns for Season 2 on The CW Monday, October 10th at 8:00 p.m. EST.

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