Alex Garfin started out acting with guest appearances in such series as “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “New Amsterdam” and even voiced the character Linus in 2015’s “The Peanuts Movie.”
One day, while walking down the hall in the drama department of LaGuardia High School, he noticed a flyer on the bulletin board for auditions for an “Unnamed Superman Series.” Then his agent called him with the same audition info as well.
When he arrived at the auditions, he was given a script for a character called “Matthew.”
“For auditions they do fake names for scripts, so Matthew was actually Jonathan [Kent] and Ethan was Jordan [Kent],” Alex stated. “So, I go into this Matthew audition and it’s this kid telling a coach that he should let one of the seniors be the main guy on the football team. That he shouldn’t give it to a freshman. That I know I’m too good.”
Alex said that he put down the script about halfway through and apologized for wasting their time because he sincerely felt that he had nothing to do with this character.
“I don’t look like I can play football, I’ve never held a football and it’s just not me,” Alex said. “So she goes ‘alright, come in the back I have another one for you.’ She gave me the script for ‘Ethan’ which was a code name for ‘Jordan’ and I immediately connected with it.”
According to the actor, the read featured a kid telling his principal that a teacher wasn’t doing their job adequately, resulting in classmates who weren’t going to do well in academics.
“I think this was a conversation I’ve actually had with principals before, which is kind of funny because, in school, I was never the good kid and I would speak out about things that were pointless,” Alex admitted. “I just immediately connected with it.”
They decided to have him read a second scene for the character of “Jordan” and Alex connected with this scene as well.
“This was a scene that actually ended up in the pilot [episode].” he stated. “I was climbing up a ladder and reaching for the router and, in order to climb on the ladder, they had an arm chair sitting there.
Alex climbed onto the arm rest of the chair and started rocking it on two legs.
“I think the woman thought she was about to have a lawsuit on her hands and that’s why she gave me a callback, so I don’t really know why I’m here to be honest,” he jokingly stated.
Alex was familiar with the Superman mythos when landing the role of “Jordan Kent” for “Superman and Lois.”
“I don’t think you could ever grow up as an American and not know Superman!” he expressed. “I think really growing up anywhere in the world, since America has such a giant influence, so there’s no way to ever really escape it.”
However, was Alex a giant Superman fan?
“I couldn’t really say I was,” the super-son said. “As a kid I was a big ‘Star Trek’ fan, so I do understand that geeky kind of culture and the obsession because I have it but just in a different field.”
That’s not to imply he didn’t see iterations of Superman growing up. “Smallville” was a series on the WB/CW Network that followed a teenage Clark Kent before he became Superman.
“I watched season 1 of ‘Smallville,’” he admitted. “Jordan [Elsass], who plays Jonathan on the show, was a big ‘Smallville’ fan. He grew up on it. You know ‘Smallville’ is one of those shows I think you did have to grow up on. It borrowed its way into people’s hearts because they grew up with it and that was the show they were raised on. That wasn’t that show for me, but I did watch the first season.”
“Superman and Lois” follows the story of Clark Kent and Lois Lane moving back to Clark’s hometown of Smallville to raise their two twin sons.
Most of the main characters on “Superman and Lois” are canonical characters from the comic books, with the exception of Alex’s character Jordan. This gives the series writers a lot of freedom in the development of the character.
“I absolutely think my character not being in the comics gives me creative freedom,” he explained. “It’s also a big task in order to contribute a character to a canon that’s stood for 90 years. So there’s a lot of weight to this as well. I want to make sure I do it right and the writers are going to write it right. We really want to see the character grow over a couple of seasons, which I think is really going to be the exciting part.”
His character is already taking on some serious issues in season 1. Statistics show that one in five children and teens between the ages of 13 and 18 have, or will have, a serious mental illness. Only 36 to 44 percent of these children and adolescents receive treatment. In the series, Alex’s character, Jordan, deals with this issue.
“I thought this was a great opportunity to try and express [bringing attention to mental disorders],” Alex said. “I wanted to be able to show that this character was not the mental illness. That it was a color used on the painting and not the entire field and I think that is why people somehow identify with him in a lot of ways. We see him start out at one of the lowest points of his life.”
In the series, Jordan’s mom, Lois (Elizabeth Tulloch), is there for him but he has no friends.
“He’s in a place where he doesn’t understand things and then they move to Smallville, which is a smaller town,” Alex continued. “There he really starts to find his home. A big trend in recent years, and in recent decades, is people moving from smaller towns into bigger cities. We see that affect the mental health of younger kids and that being in reverse, I think, was an interesting aspect to show how people can grow and how people can evolve and start to overcome the things that normally would bog them down.”
When Jordan is understood by Sarah Cushing (Inde Navarrette), it’s a big milestone for him.
“He feels now as if he’s not alone and as he’s growing into his powers, he starts to feel validated and now he’s feeling understood,” Alex explained.
The character of Jordan Kent has begun developing superpowers like his dad on the series. From extraordinary strength to heat vision, and now super hearing, but his powers have developed differently than Clark’s (Tyler Hoechlin) and that brings challenges.
“We have to remember he’s half human and half Kryptonian in his DNA,” Alex explained. “This is the reason for his powers manifesting differently. We do go more and more into him developing his powers, that’s a theme throughout season 1. We will get to see him becoming and attempting to become a better person which is another big theme in season 1. Him trying to grow up.”
Alex is particularly looking forward to seeing his character’s growth.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what he does with these powers,” he stated. “I’m looking forward to seeing if he gets more of them and when they start to develop more fully. I’m also just looking forward to seeing him grow. If you had asked me two years ago what my biggest fear would be it would be being a series regular on a TV show. That’s because if a show goes on for eight years and you’re watching it from when you’re 8 years old to when you’re 16, then you grew up with these characters. You would see these characters and be a part of them and through time you can actually grow with them. I always believed that was magical. We see people grow and develop in real time and I felt very blessed to have a character that I can attempt to have some nuance and to have growth. Even though growth is linear and goes up and down, it does begin to change and my character begins to grow into himself and that’s probably one of the greatest things I ever could have been offered to do.”
Alex has balanced his real life with his work schedule on the show.
“I’m actually still taking classes for high school,” Alex admitted. “When I started this I had the bright idea of taking AP calculus [advanced placement] and AP Japanese at my school. They offer that. So doing that while shooting the first four months of this series was pretty tough. Due to COVID, the school truncated these classes into a half a year so what was already hard became doubly hard. I really don’t know why I was shooting a television pilot, but I’m the kind of guy who goes to Golden Corral and puts half of everything on his plate so that’s pretty much what I ended up doing here.”
According to Alex, his experience has been “really awesome.”
“I think I’m the only person on a CW show who is in high school in real life and also in high school on his show,” he said. “I thought it was a great experience to try and breathe life into a teenage character while I’m still a teenager. Jordan [Elsass] isn’t too far off, he’s 19. But I could theoretically be in high school with Jordan Kent. We could know each other.
When Alex booked this role he had just turned 16.
“I know kids who are 15 and in the same school with kids who are 14,” he stated. “We could seriously be in the same school year. I think that’s awesome!”
“Superman and Lois” has started off doing very well in the ratings and having the excellent acting from a young man named Alex Garfin has contributed greatly to that success. Balancing advanced school work, and still displaying excellent performances in his job this season, has made him worthy of being called a superboy.