Move over, Lois Lane, if you think you’re the only one who’s got the goods on Superman.
I first met Gerard Sison in July of 2010 at the press screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. I had come dressed up as villainess Bellatrix LeStrange as I did the previous year. I had no idea I would see an Albus Dumbledore. “I thought you were killed!” I hissed in true villain fashion.
Soon, I was standing beside him doing photo ops, and the longer I stood by his side, the harder it was to channel Bellatrix. My sneers turned to half smiles, then to laughter. I
warmed up so much to the man beside me, I didn’t notice I had slipped out of character.
He was an amazing Dumbledore but if there’s one persona he is best known for, it is that of Superman. Maybe you’ve seen him on television, at a convention or charity event. He’s also been Superman in Singapore, Washington State, Las Vegas, Washington DC and Virginia.
I’ve one-upped Lois too; my Superman can sing a show tune with the best of them.
What makes you identify with Superman so much?
My five siblings are slim, I’m stocky. They’re all fair, I’m pale. I could do these amazing things as a child but I felt the other kids would think they were freaky and uncool so I became “Clark Kent”—a guy who looked ordinary but had extraordinary abilities.
When the first Superman movie came out, it became more real for me than the cartoons, comics and TV show. Now, there was this living, breathing Superman that was not this beefy-looking Superman of the past.
How did you start getting into costuming and cosplay?
For many Halloweens I was Clark Kent—a guy in a suit with his shirt torn open to reveal an S.
I went to the Green Lantern press screening in 2011 in a GL shirt and saw the Lantern Corps in various incarnations, I thought, “I wish I had the guts to wear spandex like these guys.”
A few days later you asked me to go to Toy Con 2011 again as Dumbledore. I couldn’t believe the attention I got. Here I was, people didn’t know me, they couldn’t see my real face and yet they wanted a picture with me! More than anything, I have never really done anything like that where total strangers were so excited to be with you!
I heard about some magical event happening around this time.
Just the night before, I was offered a collector’s replica of the Christopher Reeve Superman costume specially made in Argentina. There were only to be 10 in the world because the fabric was no longer being manufactured. I was offered no.2. I politely declined citing, “I didn’t have the body for it, the occasion to wear it, nor the money for it.”
But after one afternoon sweating it out as Dumbledore, I went ahead and ordered it that very same night.
Gerard, you are so full of good vibes and you really get into character that’s’ why people flocked to your Dumbledore. Not to mention you really love what you do. What’s it like being Superman?
Superman is universally loved and respected and is everyone’s “friend.” Who else can you portray and be sooo famous and yet be so very anonymous? Even among my friends, not a few are uneasy when approaching me as Superman. They’re giddy, shy and overwhelmed!
One friend even remarked, “Now I understand why Lois couldn’t tell the difference between Superman and Clark.” Now I do Superman very well. But it took nearly five decades to do that! It took confidence, a body to match, two hours of hair and make-up, a positive attitude, a perfect costume, and a heart attack.
You had that heart attack after being our singing Han Solo when we visited the kids at PGH that Christmas season. Did that change your perspective on things?
After my heart attack in 2010 (and as a former funeral celebrant) I learned not to take life too seriously and I learned to embrace it. Life is just too short. Only last January, my younger brother Simon passed away from the same condition. If I can now make people happy, be it as Superman, then so be it. All these talents I was given were meant to be shared. The collector’s costume was not meant to be hidden away, but enjoyed by others.
And when people are happy to see you, its tremendous healing energy is so hard to put in words.
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Watch out for Gerard in the future as Thranduil (The Hobbit) and Thor. Gerard Sison will be at Toycon 2013—Friday and Saturday as the Man of Steel and Sunday as Classic Superman with the Justice Ph team.
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The new Superman movie directed by Zack Snyder starring Henry Cavill, Man of Steel, was released on June 12th and is out on regular, 3D and IMAX 3D formats.