Further to our report February 21, 2011, Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures have now confirmed that Oscar-nominated actor Kevin Costner ("Dances With Wolves") will play 'Jonathan Kent', the father who raised 'Clark Kent' as his own son, in "Superman: Man Of Steel", to be directed by Zack Snyder ("Watchmen"), in Vancouver starting May 2011.
"'Jonathan Kent' is the only father figure 'Clark' has ever had, the man who was there to help Clark understand what he was meant to do in the world as 'Superman', said Snyder. "Kevin will be able to communicate the quiet strength of this rural American man who raised the greatest super hero of all time."
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.