According to reports, director Zack Snyder has cast actor Kevin Costner ("Dances With Wolves") as 'Jonathan Kent' in the upcoming Vancouver-lensed, Warners/Legendary feature "Superman: Man Of Steel".
Created by writer Jerry Siegel and illustrator Joe Shuster, the Pa Kent character debuted in the comic book "Superman" #1, (1939).
Both Jonathan and 'Martha Kent' (née Clark), referred to as 'Ma' and 'Pa' Kent, are the adoptive parents of 'Kal-El' aka 'Superman', living in the rural town of Smallville, Kansas.
In most versions of Superman's origin story, Jonathan and Martha were the first to find the rocket that brought infant Kal-El to Earth, with their adopting him shortly thereafter, renaming him 'Clark Kent' — 'Clark' being Martha's maiden name.
The Kents are usually portrayed as caring parents who instill within Clark a strong sense of morals, and they encourage Clark to use his powers for the betterment of humanity. In most continuities Martha is also the one who creates Clark's superhero costume.
In DC Comics continuity before John Byrne's 1986 reboot of the 'Superman' story, the Kents die shortly after Clark's high school graduation. In the current comics' continuity, they both remain alive even after Clark becomes an adult. As a couple, the Kents were important supporting characters until Pa Kent's recent death during an attack by the supervillain 'Brainiac'.
In film, the 'Pa Kent' character was portrayed by actor Ed Cassidy in the 1948 "Superman" movie serial, by Canadian actor Glenn Ford in 1978's "Superman", by Tom Fadden in the pilot for the 1950's "Adventures of Superman" TV series, by Stuart Whitman in the 1988 TV series "Superboy", by Eddie Jones in the 1993 "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" TV series and by John Schneider in the current "Smallville" TV series.