Leading up to the Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice premier, my facebook feed was (and still is) littered with lists ranking the best Batman films and actors to portray Batman, as well as the best Superman films and actors. But believe it or not, there are other characters in BvS besides B & S, including Wonder Woman, Lex Luthor, and my favorite love interest in both the DC and Marvel Universes- Lois Lane. This time around, Lois is played by Oscar nominated actress Amy Adams, but Adams is not the first woman to be lifted off the ground by the man of steel, and she (in all likelihood) won't be the last.
8. Kate Bosworth, Superman Returns
I'd like to give Ms. Bosworth the benefit of the doubt here, she tried her best. But, did she? Did she really? Her Lois was a stock character- utterly disinterested and void of any believable emotion. Her chemistry with Brandon Routh is adequate, but when the lead and the main supporting character are both so horribly miscast, it makes it difficult to focus on the real star of Superman Returns- Kevin Spacey, playing Gene Hackman, playing Lex Luthor.
7. Amy Adams, Man of Steel
I am a big Amy Adams fan. Have been since...I don't know...Talladega Nights? But there's something about her that just isn't Lois. She's doing a great job playing whatever character she's playing, but it's not Lois. It stems from her voice and affect for me. Lois is witty, sarcastic, and self-assured. She's supposed to sound confident, even "brassy". Although Adams successfully captured the curiosity and ambition of the character, the almost Yin and Yang relationship between Lois and Superman was lost in Man of Steel. Yes, it's true that the writing didn't exactly lend itself to Lois Lane's trademark humor, but there were a few places were Adams could have asserted herself better. For example, one of her first lines in the movie is "Can we stop measuring dicks and get started?" but the slight fails to land due to the delivery and inconsequential tone of her voice. I think it's entirely possible that Snyder simply melded Superman's two (human) love interests, Lois Lane and Lana Lang (hence the red hair), to create Adams' Lois.
My choice for the new Lois would have probably been...No, don't worry, I'm not going to say Jessica Chastain. I promise. Although, come to think of it...NO! MUST...RESIST...My choice would have been Rachel McAdams. She plays the smart/sassy reporter well. Watch State of Play or even Spotlight for proof. McAdams is also regarded as the queen of romance after The Notebook, The Vow and About Time. I think she would have been able to marry the two versions of Lois (Baddass reporter and love-struck object of Superman's affection) perfectly. Ah well. Maybe next time.
6. Noel Neill, The Adventures of Superman (Seasons 2-6)
You less hardcore fans (or sane people) might not even realize there was a Lois Lane before Margot Kidder, but there was! Two, in fact. The original being Noel Neill. In many ways, Neill set a precedent for the actresses that would come after her. She was quirky, but with a unique/matter-of-fact, no-nonsense delivery. She took Lois from the two dimensional pages of a comic book and helped to establish the three-dimensional character that people recognize today.
5. Margot Kidder, Superman, Superman II, III and IV
In my opinion, Adams and Kidder play Lois on two sides of the same coin. Adams' was of course updated and augmented to fit the post 9/11 narrative that Zack Snyder was pushing in Man of Steel. Like Adams, Kidder was ambitious, inquisitive, and altogether likable. The difference between she and Adams is that Kidder's Lois was a lot of fun. Sometimes veering into klutzy and ridiculous. She served as the perfect foil to Reeve's iconic Superman.
4. Phyllis Coates, Adventures of Superman (Season 1), Superman and The Mole Men
I say, Phyllis Coates had spunk, kid! She was probably the toughest and most "capable" Lois we've seen on screen. Adams is up there, but again, I'm not 100% sure she's even playing Lois Lane...but I digress.
My theory is that Lois was originally written as the classic "Gal Friday" archetype. These characters were especially popular in the noir genre. They were often secretaries or women who worked in the detective's office. The gal friday is a good friend of her boss', she answers the phones and offers witty retorts when she has an audience. The gal friday is not the love interest. Think Donna in The West Wing. Lois certainly broke that mold, making the "capable gal" desirable. Even in the 1950's, Coates' Lois was her own woman. She was smart and quick-witted, but also didn't take sh*t from anyone, even Superman himself. She may not have had superpowers, but was a superhero in her own right for contributing so eloquently to the women's movement without apologizing for it.
3. Teri Hatcher, Lois & Clark
What Hatcher's portrayal lacked in "toughness" it made up for in character. Lois & Clark put an emphasis on the love triangle between Lois, Clark and Superman. Of course, she didn't know the two men in her life were one and the same, and actually, a simple "I'm Superman" would have saved everyone a lot of time. In any case, the creators of the show offered a more complex look into the famous relatinship. They weren't just a hero and a damsel in distress, the focus on their civilian jobs allowed for a more natural relationship to foster between them. No matter the ridiculousness of the story lines, Hatcher's Lois was always likable and always someone to root for.
2. Erica Durance, Smallville
Durance had a unique opportunity with Lois in that she was playing a younger version of the character. Her sarcasm is more innocent than the constant coping mechanism is becomes in the comics and certain animated features. That's not to say this Lois Lane is uncomplicated. Durance handles her character's emotions carefully, still playing the tough, determined and resourceful Lois we know while consistently displaying her acumen for humor.
All of these women did the character justice, but when I think of Lois Lane, there's only one person...or "voice", rather...that comes to mind
1. Dana Delany
I was absolutely obsessed with DC superheroes as a kid. Like, only went to school dressed as either Batgirl or Supergirl obsessed. However, there weren't really any prominent incarnations of either of them on screen, so instead, I watched the VHS tapes of Superman: The Last Son of Krypton, The Batman vs. Superman Movie: World's Finest, and Justice League: Secret Origins. Before seeing Justice League, Lois Lane was about the closest thing I had to a a female superhero on screen. She may not have been able to bend steel with her bare hands, but she called Clark and Bruce on their sh*t. She was absolutely fearless, brilliant, and funny. Actually, Lois would make a pretty great superhero. My point is, when I think of Lois Lane, I think of Dana Delany's confident and even toned voice. Her character was the most perfect marriage of the attributes established in the comics and the best of what the women before her brought to the screen.