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David Lyons: From Skinny-Dipping in 'Eat, Pray Love' to Fighting Crime in 'The Cape'

Wonderwall, Friday, January 7, 2011, 12:49pm (PST)

On Sunday, audiences will see actor David Lyons attempt something brave: He will introduce the world to a new kind of superhero. While audiences have flocked to movie theaters to see new interpretations of Batman, Spider-Man and other heroes they've known since childhood, Lyons (along with creators, writers and directors of "The Cape") is building the character from the ground-up -- from the tip of the cape itself to the top of the cowl. In fact, series premiere for "The Cape" (airing 9 p.m. on Jan. 9 on NBC) will show the transformation of honest cop Vince Faraday into a masked avenger who tackles bad guys not with superpowers or sci-fi abilities, but with guts, muscle and one especially handy cape. Wonderwall spoke with Lyons about his new role, his take on superheroes and his revealing scene in "Eat Pray Love."

(Wonderwall publisher BermanBraun also produces the NBC series "The Cape.")

WONDERWALL: "The Cape" is a crime thriller with superhero elements, but there's a lot of physical work on your part. How much of the stunt work do you do yourself?

DAVID LYONS: I'm doing most of them myself. Before or after a scene in which there's fighting, there's dialogue, there's movement and there's character. And so, you know, you can either be in the fight yourself or do 50 push-ups and feel like you've done it. I'd rather be in there, and ground the character and ground the performance.

RELATED VIDEO: See Lyons interviewed about 'The Cape'

WW: What about the cape itself? Did you have to learn how to fight with it?

DL: Working with the cape itself is a lot of trial and error. We're learning about the cape not only through [creator Tom Wheeler] and his imagination but also my abilities to use the cape in a way that makes practical sense. So we work with stunt choreographers to get different methods in which we can use the cape as a weapon. It's not a featured piece to make me look good, it's not about looking like a superhero; it's about using the cape itself as a means to get what he wants ... You can't do needlework if you're using a cape. You can if you've got a great CGI guy though. But you won't see me doing any needlework.

RELATED: Read our interview with Lyons's costar, Summer Glau

WW: We heard you say in an interview that you didn't grow up wanting to be a superhero. Why not?

DL: I never really knew what I wanted to be. At one stage I thought I wanted to be a lawyer. I know that's ridiculous now, but I had an idea that I wanted to help the world ... I played war as a kid. I was running around the forest with sticks and stuff -- bows and arrows and dressing up as anything. But superheroes never really came into it.

WW: Being an Australian, did you have to do research into all the American superheroes?

DL: I did some research on my own. I was careful not to do too much research. I wanted to delve into the mythologies of certain [superheroes] but not the performances. If you get into the performances, that's when you get to borrow, and that's when you start to cheat. And you'd rather have it grow organically from yourself. What I really appreciate about Tom's world is the mythology he's created.

RELATED: See celebs with superhero doppelgangers

WW: Do people recognize you as the guy who tries to get Julia Roberts to skinny-dip in "Eat Pray Love"?

DL: Only if they see me from behind! No, I got away relatively unscathed from that whole episode. It's quite possible people won't put two and two together. One character is a bongo-playing Australian guy, and on ["The Cape"] I'm a family man with an American accent. And I can tell you now that you won't be seeing my butt in this one.

WW: So you have a lot of scenes with the character named Orwell, played by Summer Glau. Tell us about The Cape's relationship with her.

DL: With Orwell, there's a lot of care. There's definitely a tenderness there. The way I put it is that Orwell and Vince are two people in an extraordinary environment. As we all know, those kinds of environments tend to bond people in a very particular way. They've been bonded in a very hot fire. There's nothing sexual there, but there's a deep admiration. And yet still, his wife is the love of his life.

RELATED: Trend report: Celebs in Capes

WW: So has your take on superheroes changed?

DL: What's interesting about superheroes is the mythology and symbolism. I didn't realize [it before]. I never put two and two together in the way I have now. Getting this role and already being a fan of [writer] Joseph Campbell, I can see now that superheroes and comics are big because it's a way we define ourselves and define life.

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