Over the past two months, Dean Cain has traveled to Nashville; Austin, Texas; the Republic of Georgia and Vietnam. This might be exhausting, even for the man who once donned Superman's cape. But for Cain, it's all in a day's work. "I only missed two football games during that whole entire time as a coach," Cain says with a laugh.
On the small screen, Cain, 43, may be known as the star of Lois and Clark and Ripley's Believe It or Not. On the field, he's simply Coach Dean to his 9-year-old son's football team. Cain's close relationship with his son Christopher also helps explain his latest film, Hallmark Channel's Three Gifts. "I thought this is a great, wonderful story with a lot of heart," Cain says. "It's the kind of project my 9-year-old son would enjoy watching ... I want him to enjoy the projects that I'm in and be able to see some of the work Dad does."
Premiering Saturday at 8/7c, the film follows Jack Green (Cain) and his wife when they take in three orphans for the holidays. Despite his experience with children, his underage co-stars still surprised him. "As an actor, when I was their age, I couldn't have done it. Even though I was growing up around my dad directing, I didn't get it," he says. "These kids and their dialogue, and feeling the right emotions, and doing their stuff, is pretty amazing at their age."
Cain, who also starred in another holiday film, The Dog Who Saved Christmas, points to his son for his high dose of seasonal cheer. "Having a young guy in the house, it reinvigorates the spirit of Christmas," he says. "It really is wonderful to watch him experience all these things. I get to relive it through him again."
The big question remains if Christopher will someday follow his dad's footsteps into acting as well. His less-than-positive experience on Three Gifts might delay that decision. "He got cut out!" Cain says. "I said, 'There you go, buddy; there's your first lesson in being an actor."'
Between his frequent-flier miles and his long list of upcoming projects — which includes everything from horror and action to drama and documentary work — it's hard to figure out when the NFL hopeful-turned-actor finds time to coach. Yet that seems to be the last worry on his mind. "I love working with kids. I like to think of myself as the cool dad who can interact with these kids and teach them sports and still be able to run around with them and have a lot of fun," Cain says. "I'm just Coach Dean who was Superman and who can still run faster than those little punks."