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Necessary Evil: Super-Villains of DC Comics [Blu-ray]
THE JOKER, LEX LUTHOR, CATWOMAN, DOOMSDAY, BANE. What makes them so thrillingly watchable? So terribly wonderful? So extremely vital to our super heroes and their worlds? This new feature-length documentary explores these questions across seven decades of DC Comics' hallowed Rogues' Gallery of infamous evildoers.
Interview Questions by Barry Freiman and Sam Rizzo
Lois Lane may have spent a night with Superman and admittedly gotten a terrific story out of it, but Ms. Lane's not the only reporter to get face-time with one of Smallville, Kansas's two most famous denizens. On Wednesday, August 18, 2010, I spent the afternoon at The Art Institute of Chicago with the actress who played the girl destined to go down in history as almost ending up with Superman, if it weren't for that pesky Lois Lane. Lana Lang, the red-headed girl next door to the Boy of Steel, in almost every version of continuity always a bridesmaid and never a bride. A reunion with Lana Lang, now that's a terrific story.
From 1988 to 1992, Stacy Haiduk, 42, played Lana for four seasons and 100 episodes of "Superboy: The TV Series" (aka "The Adventures of Superboy"). Haiduk has everything someone who used to grab the Boy of Steel's attention should have - she's gorgeous, funny, talented, smart, sensitive, and, as hinted by the red hair, a bit quirky. Wig and no wig, she was Ron Weasley before Ron Weasley - or perhaps with just enough Hermione to counteract the weirds.
As the only original cast member to remain with the show for its entire run, audiences saw Lana's complete arc from college co-ed to investigator. That's why, to compare Haiduk's Lana to the Lanas played since by actress Kristin Kreuk, who played Lana Lang on "Smallville", and before by Annette O'Toole, who played a single Mom Lana in "Superman III", it's much easier to see not only what attracted Superboy to her but why audiences never felt sorry for Haiduk's Lana. It was always pretty clear in Haiduk's performance that this Lana Lang would survive, even thrive, sans Boy of Steel.
On "Smallville": "I saw a few minutes of "Smallville". But it's so hard because it's very different than what we were shooting back then. I think the youth market today feels younger. It's not sweet like we were, just different."
About 24 hours before I got the assignment to interview Haiduk, I was showing a friend of mine a YouTube video of John Haymes Newton as the first Superboy. My friend had been a "Melrose Place" fan and Haymes Newton starred on later "Melrose" episodes (as did Haiduk for an earlier stint) as Ryan McBride. I mentioned to my friend that Haymes Newton began his career in a cape and tights and pulled up an online video to prove it. When I showed my friend Haymes Newton's first role, the first words out of his mouth were about the curvy red-head at Superboy's side: "That's Stacy Haiduk!," he yelled.
On the Red Hair: "The first two seasons it was dyed. The third season they fried the crap out of it. The guy who did my hair literally dyed and permed it the same day and oh my god it fell off. You saw how cut it got in season three. I finally had said 'My hair is fried, we either have to get wigs or let me cut my hair all off'. As soon as we got the wigs I cut my hair off - it was literally a little boy cut."
As it turns out, Haiduk recently finished a very successful stint on the CBS soap opera "The Young & The Restless" ("Y&R"), playing two different characters Patty and Emily (shades of Clark Kent and Superboy). When asked if she drew motivation for playing two characters from watching it be done on "Superboy", Haiduk said, "You know what, I never even thought about that. Isn't that funny? Because I was playing one character who's another character, the personalities of each, I didn't even think about Clark Kent and Superboy".
The actress and the characters were wildly successful on "Y&R" but, as often happens with the soaps, the storyline went on too long and became too broad and ultimately the Producers became frustrated with the story and released Haiduk. In turn the fans have taken to Facebook to get her re-hired by "Y&R". "It's quite flattering that the fans want me back," she said.
On Patty's Last Scene and a Familiar Prop: "I wore the 'Lana' wig on 'Y&R' which was hilarious. It was my last scene as Patty. They mentioned she was going to have red hair and I said 'Y'know what, we're going to wear this wig' and I brought it in from home."
"Being on Y&R opened my eyes to the people out there," she said. "Soaps, because they're on every day, you start to realize the fans are there and they really get the work you do." After "Y&R", Haiduk did a brief stint on NBC's "Days of Our Lives". As a result of her increasing awareness of her fans, Haiduk recently rediscovered the loyal "Superboy" fan base. "I really need to start doing [comic book] conventions," she said.
On the Superman Legacy: "I feel really blessed to be a part of that, I mean I really do. That's why, when I got on Facebook and there are all these Superman and Superboy fans and I'm like 'Wow that still is going on and that was 20 years ago.
I actually worked on an episode of "Cold Case" and the director of that, he kept it quiet but he looked at me one day and said 'I'm a huge fan of yours from 'Superboy''; and I'm like 'What?'' He didn't want to let on at first.
We just watched "Superman: The Movie" with my daughter. The sets were amazing, the actors were amazing. Valerie Perrine. Just the whole set up. I liked "II". I did see "Superman III" but it wasn't as good as the first two. I think, as you keep building, and you don't stick with the same format, it changes. I like the first two, they were my favorites. Annette was great [in "Superman III"]; I bet she was great on "Smallville".
Haiduk was in Chicago filming a guest shot on location for FOX series "Ride-Along". As I waited for Haiduk to arrive from the location shoot, I nervously began to worry that I wouldn't recognize her - really! - without the bright red hair and Superboy at her side. When she walked in it became ironically apt for our sit down to take place at the Art Institute - Haiduk was unmistakable (silly me) and she had both an aesthetic and emotional presence that drew attention. The dress helped too.
During our sit-down, Haiduk explained that she's learned to appreciate her career's versatility and endurance. After "Superboy", she appeared on other cult-successful series including "SeaQuest, DSV" and "Kindred: The Embraced" and has done guest shots on long-running hits like "The X-Files", "Melrose Place", "CSI: NY", "CSI: Miami", "ER", "Cold Case", and "Heroes".
Haiduk was born and raised in and around Grand Rapids, Michigan. She'd been to Chicago a few times as a kid though this was her first trip back as an adult. "This is one of my favorite cities because it's so open," she said. "It doesn't have that tight feeling that New York does."
Her Mom drove to Chicago from Grand Rapids where she still lives to spend a few days with her daughter. In fact, Haiduk's Mom drove her from the filming location to the Art Institute - and here I'd expected FOX to have sent her in a limo. There was no hint of an adulthood spent in front of cameras, perhaps because her first series, "Superboy", shot away from Hollywood trappings.
"Superboy" was the first series to shoot at Disney/MGM Studios in Orlando, Florida where the first season shot. Beginning with season two, the show moved to a new soundstage at Universal Orlando for the duration of its run. "No one else was filming in Florida then," Haiduk recalled.
On Disney/MGM and Universal: "We were the first people at MGM. Disney of course likes to do tours so they'd started doing these tours when we were filming and you'd look up during a scene and there's tourists. It didn't make sense to me because they couldn't hear what was going on - you're just watching actors talk behind glass.
I liked Universal better because it was brand new. We brought over the same crew - they were all from North Carolina. I loved that crew."
Haiduk was only 19 years old when she began the "Superboy" audition process. Like "Superman: The Movie", "Superman II", "Superman III", and "Supergirl" before it, "Superboy" was produced by the father and son team of Alexander and Ilya Salkind. Casting director Lynn Stalmaster, who cast Chris Reeve as Superman and Helen Slater as Supergirl, and Margot Kidder as Lois Lane, found Haiduk and her season one co-stars.
On Christopher Reeve and Helen Slater: I wish I would've met Chris because I would've gotten the whole perspective on the voice of the man. I almost got to meet him. They asked us to do a sci-fi convention in Atlanta and, see, I didn't understand that whole thing, but I would've worked with him there. I was too naÔve to do it. I was so caught up in my own crap.
You know Helen Slater read for the same part I did on "Y&R". We tested together, that was what was so funny and I wanted to go up to her and have a conversation but it's so nerve-wracking when you do these tests. I wanted to say 'We both worked for Ilya, I was Lana, you were Supergirl' [Laughs]. But it was funny because we just sat across looking nervous at each other."
For the first season, John Haymes Newton played Clark Kent and Superboy, and Jim Calvert played Perry White's son T.J. White. In addition, actor Scott Wells appeared in four season one episodes as Lex Luthor. Ironically, Haiduk as the female lead, was cast first.
On the audition: "The first audition for Lana - it was at a hotel in New York City. Lynn Stalmaster was there who cast so many amazing movies. I remember Jennifer Aniston was there to audition for Lana. I guess my husband was there too and I didn't know at the time, and Lynn told him 'You're a good actor but you're no Superboy.' The writers' strike was coming up so this was seen as a real opportunity. I went back and they started reading me with different Superboys and I thought 'I don't get this'. I thought they were just using me to test Superboys and I thought 'This sucks'. But I kept thinking 'Oh well it's good for me to learn this process.
We were on the west side of Manhattan. It was the same scene John did that's on the DVD. I got the call after that they hadn't found their Superboy. I was told they'd make the deal with me and then find their Superboy and I was like 'What does that mean?' I was told I always had the part but they were looking for Superboy before they made the deal because I guess they wanted him first, but that didn't happen. I was really excited because usually nowadays they hire the male lead first and then they cast the female lead. So that was my process."
The pilot episode, "Countdown to Nowhere", was an origin story which showed Lana meeting Superboy for the first time. She already had been a childhood friend of Clark's from Smallville. "The best friends thing, ya that was there from the beginning," Haiduk recounted.
The conceit of the show was that the characters were now in college at Shuster University (which had a Siegel Center - get it?). Lana was working with the football team to protest the presence of nuclear materials on campus. When Lana ended up kidnapped by the bad guys and taken off in a helicopter, Clark turned into Superboy and saved the day. "Now I could barely get on a helicopter and do all that I have vertigo so badly," Haiduk joked.
On Lana's Passion: I think it's because I'm passionate. They even said that she's the girl next door. I came from Michigan so I was kind of that naÔve girl who wanted to be taken seriously. Even on 'Y&R' both characters are full on emotionally involved and love everything they do. It may be a part of what I put into it."
When "Superboy" premiered, the first episode to air was "The Jewel of the Techacal". A new framing sequence was filmed and added to "Countdown to Nowhere" (which aired as the fifth episode) so that the cast would be remembering in flashback when they first met the Boy of Steel. Haiduk didn't recall why the Pilot didn't air first.
The show premiered to blockbuster ratings. It consistently ranked second in syndicated ratings to "Star Trek: The Next Generation". Its initial 13-episode commitment was extended for another 13 ultimately producing a 26 episode first season (released in 2006 on DVD, the only season released to date).
On Producer Ilya Salkind and the premiere: "I remember being at Ilya's to watch the first episode; that's what I loved about doing this show was it was such a cool family. I liked working with Ilya, he was crazy. Every Friday Ilya would have dinner with the directors, and all the cast members. We'd go out and party at a couple of different nightclubs. It was just a real bonding experience, and when I look back on it, I've not had that since."
After the first few shows aired, syndicators started writing and calling Ilya to complain about the quality of the show. Salkind had participated in casting but had delegated authority for the first few episodes to the Line Producers. The shows were pleasant and the special effects were good but the program lacked an identity and the cast needed bigger, more super, bad guys.
On the Series Tone: "It was fun. It was campy. What I love was the campiness of it. You look back and you go it had its own style. It was popular, campy, innocent, and charming. And well-written. There's nothing like it today."
Salkind resolved to become more of a hands-on Producer. He wanted better stories that were more like the comic books so he went to a comic book writer, Cary Bates, who he met when Bates was assigned to the "Superman III" set by DC Comics. Bates and Mark Jones ultimately became Executive Story Consultants for the second season.
On Cary Bates: "Cary. Have you seen Cary? Oh my God, I love that man. We would go out and talk about stories. He was kind of my ally. He would come up with storylines for me. And he was the one who came up with the storyline for the dual Lanas. I kept saying I wanted something more challenging than being 'Oh Superboy'".
When the latter end of the first season began coming together, Bates and Jones wondered if the stories themselves could be bigger. They looked to the source material and the source material's writers several times. Comic book writers became regular writers for the series including Mike Carlin, Andrew Helfer, J.M. DeMatteis, and Mark Evanier. Denny O'Neal wrote the first of two episodes featuring Mr. Mxyzptlk, played by Michael J. Pollard ("Bonnie & Clyde").
On Michael J. Pollard as Mr. Mxyzpltlk: "I loved him. That's who he is what you see on screen. You can tell he's laughing at himself. He would come up and grab me and rub his face on me and say 'I wanna marry you' and he'd give me big hugs. I told the makeup people he was wiping off my makeup. (Laughs) He used to call his Mom on the set and it was like 4 AM and he'd give us the phone."
As in the "Superman" films, "Superboy" rounded out its main cast of relative unknowns with a strong guest cast which, for the first season included Ed Campanella (Barbara and Julie's Dad on "One Day at a Time"), Abe Vigoda (Fish on "Barney Miller"), Leif Garret (70s pop idol), James MacArthur ("Hawaii 5-0"), and Skye Aubrey (already an ex-Mrs. Ilya Salkind and mother of two of their children; her mother Phyllis Thaxter played Ma Kent in "Superman").
One guest cast member was at that time known more for who his brother was - Leaf Phoenix appeared in the first season episode "Little Hercules". "I remember Leaf coming in and he was River Phoenix's brother," she said. Leaf eventually changed his name to Joaquin and was nominated for Best Actor Oscar for "Walk the Line", and Best Supporting Actor for "Gladiator". Haiduk relates "I wasn't in that episode very much. I do recall he got to take a little flight in the suit."
On Flying: "If you'd had a bigger budget I'm sure it probably would have been a different show. But we had all the same guys who did the wires on the 'Superman' movies. The guys who did the wires - Zoran Perisic - they were funny; you could barely understand anything they said."
Haiduk appreciates more now than she did then the opportunity to work with such a well known guest cast. "As you get older you can look back on it and there are all these people you've gotten a chance to work with," she said. "When I was young I didn't have the knowledge; I knew who they were but I didn't get to see most of their prior work."
One actor she did have a special appreciation for during the first season was her co-star Haymes Newton. "I dated John that first year," she said. "I had a crush on John. I think we both had crushes but you just don't date your co-star ever. From then on, I realized you never get involved with your co-star because it affects your acting."
Haymes Newton had never headlined his own series before and he naively asked for a big raise at the end of the first season. Haiduk recalls that Haymes Newton asked her to stand with him in renegotiating their contracts. Haiduk refused and remained loyal to the Producers. Salkind ended up excusing Haymes Newton from the series by exercising the morals clause in his contract, a clause that Reeve and Slater signed as well. "I had no idea that's how that all went down," Haiduk said. Haymes Newton had been partying a lot in Orlando and the local press had gotten wind of it. In addition, he had accumulated a large number of unpaid parking tickets and moving violations.
Once Salkind resigned himself to picking up a new Superboy, he decided to re-cast other roles as well. Calvert's T.J. was out and replaced by Ilan Mitchell-Smith ("Weird Science") as Clark's new roommate Andy McAllister. Salkind also released Wells and replaced him with actor Sherman Howard as Lex Luthor. Haiduk remained with the show as the only original cast member for the entire series run.
Other than Haiduk, the only other characters played by the same actors for all four seasons were Clark's parents Jonathan and Martha Kent, played by veteran actors Stuart Whitman and Salome Jens. "They were lovely people," she remembered. "Stuart actually took me to dinner when I first moved to LA."
With the decision to recast Clark and Superboy, Salkind went with the slightly more experienced Gerard Christopher. Haiduk was both relieved and sad that Haymes Newton wouldn't be joining her back in Orlando for season two.
On Season Two, Day One: That's when Gerard walked onto the set. At that time it was really weird. John and I were in New York together that summer. It was all just crumbling. You can feel it when that happens. And he wasn't going back and I was. So there was a part of me that was relieved and a part of me that was sad. And I walked on the set and I remembered seeing Gerard in the costume and just went 'John!' and no, this feeling of 'that's not John'. And I literally had to catch my breath. Then he [Gerard] introduced himself I remember. He was walking in the costume - I think he wore Christopher Reeve's costume but with some differences. It was scary, it was a new show. A new Superboy, a new set. Everything changed. It was exciting and it was also letting go. It took time to warm up to Gerard because I'd dated John. It was that feeling of it can all work out and you take it one step at a time. I was honestly relieved because there was always this tension [between John and me]. I felt I could start over again without the baggage."
Haiduk recalls precisely the moment she did warm up to Christopher. "When we started acting and I saw him doing Clark Kent," she said. Christopher played Clark Kent much more like the bumbling, clumsy, soft-spoken Clark that Reeve played in the Salkinds' film franchise. "I literally fell in love with him - in an actor way. There wasn't that tension and I could play. I felt really good. It freed up a lot of what I was feeling at that time." Many felt Christopher's Boy of Steel seemed more Superman than Superboy. Haiduk agreed with a caveat: "Gerard felt like Superman, he did, when he walked around. But he's such a goofball."
On Comparing Haymes Newton and Christopher: "Both were great at what they did and brought something different. Gerard's Clark Kent was just so goofy. John kept it more straight and I think Gerard just sort of went with it. I fell in love with the Superboy of John and the Clark Kent of Gerard."
The most powerful new presence in season two, however, belonged to veteran stage actor Sherman Howard who became a semi-regular as a middle-aged Lex Luthor, something the prior season's Lex brought about through the magic of plastic surgery. Haiduk said Howard lent "gravitas" to his episodes. Along the way he got a foil in actress Tracy Roberts (now Tracy Lewis) as Darla who was equal parts Harley Quinn (three years before "Batman: The Animated Series"), Ms. Teschmacher from "Superman" and "Superman II", and even the hidden genius of Lorelai Ambrosia (Pamela Stephenson role in "Superman III").
On Sherman Howard as Lex Luthor: "I love Sherman Howard. Before that he was Howard Sherman when he was growing up. I loved working with him. He's such a good actor. The older the actor the better. Sherman brought gravitas as a stage actor; any time I got to work with him, OK, great."
Season two of "Superboy" also scored great ratings for the show. The episodes felt like 22-minute comic books come to life. The errant environmental polluters of the first season were replaced for the rest of the series with bigger adversaries including guest villains from the comics. Luthor and Mxyzptlk both returned and were joined by the likes of Bizarro (Barry Meyers), Metallo (Michael Callen), the Yellow Peri, the Kryptonite Kid, and others.
On Barry Meyers as Bizarro: "I love Barry. I had a crush on Bizarro. There was something about the mystique of something behind a mask. He was great. Later my stunt double did Bizarro Lana."
The show changed again in its third season but, this time, more from the production side. The series shifted from its Shuster University college base to Lana's and Clark's internships at the Bureau for Extranormal Matters. There, they worked with Bureau Chief C. Dennis Jackson (Robert Levine) and Agent Matt Ritter (Peter Jay Fernandez).
On Levine and Fernandez: "Both of them were professionals. Every day, I mean every day. We started out on the show very young and over time these actors came in with a little gravitas. Because the show was only a half hour, it was really hard and it was called 'Superboy'. You have a hard time giving enough screen time to other characters. [Fernandez] was a a sexy man I gotta tell you."
Once the show was on course, and Salkind, Bates, and Jones set sail for "Christopher Columbus: The Discovery", Julia Pistor took over the day to day production of the show from Salkind. The new formula gave Lana and Clark an excuse for all this strange stuff to keep happening around them.
The Bureau pre-dated both "Mythbusters" and Fox series "The X-Files" and its progeny of films. In fact, Haiduk later appeared on a 1997 episode of "The X-Files". "Sure I thought about the similarities on "X-Files" to the Bureau," she said. "At the time you leave a show and want to put yourself into another genre but there's always crossover." In fact, "Superboy" director David Nutter, who directed 21 "Superboy" episodes, went on to direct 17 episodes of "X-Files" and later the pilot to "Smallville".
Clark still acted very much like an intern at the Bureau but Lana ultimately settled naturally into the investigator role. It was a perfect fit for Haiduk's character who, as early as the Pilot had shown Lana to be inquisitive, passionate, and ready to get behind a cause.
On Lana as a Damsel in Distress: "At first I did see her that way. And I started going I don't want to play that. And I don't think I did play that. I think there's a fine line between being the damsel in distress and I remembered Margot Kidder's work on Lois Lane and I kept thinking that I never thought of her as a victim so I needed to find that within Lana. She was this awe like Lois did. But she had a vision in life and she went for it. Even though there were a lot of detours she had to take, she was always on that mission. She needed a man. She needed someone who could handle her own strength. She was always striving to be the best she could. At the time it was felt women have their place. And she was always striving for Superboy but she found herself and a knowing that it was all going to be OK."
Lana had evolved from just the girl to be saved by Superboy - though she still did that pretty well. By the series end, Lana had actually saved Superboy several times. "I wish she'd done that more," Haiduk said. And she even passed on the opportunity to find out once and for all if Clark and Superboy were one and the same out of deference to what she perceived as Superboy's always knowing what was best for them. "I think the Superboy and Lana characters were ultimately on equal footing except he had powers and she didn't," she concluded on their relationship.
For the record, Haiduk believes Lana knew Clark's secret and needed him to be the one to say it out loud for their relationship to evolve. Because he couldn't do that, he lost her and probably learned the lesson that would later allow him to open up to Lois Lane. Haiduk thinks the relationship could have worked if Clark had told - she'd have ended up with both her best friend (Clark) and her ideal (Superboy). "Isn't that what every girl wants?," Haiduk remarked.
Yes, Lana was still trying to catch Clark in the act as the show faded to black for the last time, but Haiduk actually hadn't seen the two-part series closer until a few days after the interview. "I have every episode but that one," she said. "I remember being in the woods filming but no I'd never seen it."
By the finale, the series had wrapped and Haiduk had moved onto other opportunities. She was both sad and excited for the change. "I was ready to move on and get out of Florida and do something different," she said. "But I have to say it was one of the best times I ever had."
She did seven episodes of a series that filmed in Canada ("The Round Table") and then worked for Steven Spielberg (once considered and passed on to direct "Superman") on his NBC series "SeaQuest, DSV". She'd met Spielberg when she was called in to audition for the first "Jurassic Park" film.
On Steven Spielberg: "I auditioned for "Jurassic Park" and I got a call for the Laura Dern part. This is where you go 'Ahhhhhhh'. I remember going up on that audition, I got a call from my agent saying 'Spielberg wants to meet you'. Come on, that's every girl's dream. I remember going to his office with those 'Seer's Candies', those butterscotch suckers. It wasn't to read for him, he wanted to talk to me about the character so I remember sucking on the sucker and offered him one. We just started talking. He said 'I want you to do this character exactly who you are And I want you to try different looks.' With wet hair, in a baseball cap. I don't know if it was for "SeaQuest", I had no idea. Of course it was exciting to meet him.
I went up to Canada to do "The Round Table" which was like seven episodes. I got a call from my agent - I'll never forget - three or four shows into "Round Table". He said 'oh by the way I just want you to know Spielberg actually called and wanted to know your availability, and I went 'What??' He said "Ya, ya, ya, he was seeing if you were available and I told him you were doing a series". I was just like 'What??' I was like 'you've got to be kidding me. You couldn't have said 'Oh no, she'll be available for whatever for you.''
I went back and auditioned for 'SeaQuest' which I think was eight months later. He was out there and everyone was leaving and he goes 'Oh hey Stacy how are you? Nice to see you again.' I was like 'Wow, Steven Spielberg remembers my name.'"
Haiduk had no idea that it was "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" that in effect bucked "Superboy" off the air. Because Warners shared profits with the Salkinds and Viacom, and they'd had huge success with "Batman" by that point, they wanted to get into the business of exploiting their own characters for profit. "I had no idea the story behind the end of the series," she said. "I went on to do other things." Haiduk laughed when she realized that "Lois & Clark" essentially ended "Superboy" and that the big story during the summer of 1992 was who'd win the time slot - ABC's Superman show or NBC's Steven Spielberg show. Initially, Spielberg won the time slot. She did one season on "SeaQuest".
Haiduk did recall the publicity campaign for "Lois & Clark". "I remember seeing the ads on the sides of the busses and thinking 'that b*tch', I'm kidding [Laughs]. But y'know they got bigger publicity on Lois & Clark than we did with 'Superboy'." Regarding the more overtly sexual nature of the ads for "Lois & Clark", Haiduk admired the campaign's boldness. "I like how they take chances on some of that stuff, it makes for good publicity."
Haiduk became a hard-working supporting player in the years since "Superboy". She played Colleen on "Melrose Place", the mother of the child that Grant Show's Jake didn't know he had and ultimately became the means for Show's "Melrose" exit. She joined other "Superboy" cast who all appeared at one time or another on "Melrose" -- Salome Jens, Sherman Howard, Gerard Christopher, and John Haymes Newton. "I guess Spelling liked Superboy," she laughed.
Her career went full-circle when she re-visited the super-hero genre in several notable appearances on NBC's "Heroes". She played an FBI agent who looked like she'd be butting heads with regular Matt Parkman but the story seemed to fizzle before it began. "I would've loved to have done more with the part on "Heroes"", she said. "I think they intended to. I was hoping I would have more of a powerhouse play with the cop and rarely do you see an older woman with a younger guy."
Haiduk has maintained relationships with many in the "Superboy" cast over the years. Haymes Newton, she said, "helped me through a little bit of a time when my Dad passed away." She remarked that Haymes Newton kept a career going after losing a job as Superboy by keeping at it. "John just didn't stop the acting; he kept doing it. And he doesn't age. He didn't look any different on 'Desperate Housewives'." She's recently reunited on Facebook with Barry Meyers (Bizarro) and Tracy Lewis (Darla). Haiduk says, when she does start doing conventions, she'd love to have a panel with herself and both Superboys Haymes Newton and Christopher on the same stage.
Since airing as a first-run series, "Superboy" has only seen sporadic airings throughout the country. It remains a mostly hidden treasure from the DC Entertainment vaults and one of the most requested TV show DVDs of all time according to TVShowsonDVD.com. When asked if that's been a source of frustration, she explained: "I don't know if I was frustrated or disappointed. I would have gotten royalties. I got some when it went through overseas. I think it aired throughout the years in different places. I wonder if it was all the press that was happening between Ilya and Warner Brothers. I do hope they will eventually come out on DVD."
Today Haiduk lives in Los Angeles with her husband, actor Brad Tatum, married since 1997, and their nine-year old daughter. "My daughter just recently watched the whole first season [of "Superboy"] because a friend of hers took it home and watched it. She said 'Mommy you were good'."
In 2006, Haiduk and husband Tatum co-produced a film titled "Salt". Haiduk says she'd like to do more behind the camera. "I realized being in the business for so long I do want to get behind the camera. I'm not finished being in front of the camera yet. But after the experience producing with my husband, and seeing what's possible, I would want to do that again."
On "Superman Returns": "Lois Lane didn't have that feistiness that Margot Kidder had. I don't mind dark - "Watchmen", I loved that -- but Superman never was dark to me. I felt safe and everything was going to be taken care of. I would love to see a Superman movie in tone like "The Incredibles"."
When asked if she'd like to do a cameo on "Smallville" - and she had no idea Chris Reeve, Helen Slater, Marc McClure, Margot Kidder, Dean Cain, and Lynda Carter had all appeared over the years - she said "I'd love to do it. One of the press people from the soap magazines went to Comic-Con and mentioned it to one of the executives there and they were like 'ya we'd be interested but we just have to figure it out.' So we'll see what happens. I guess if enough fans plug in."
For more on Stacy Haiduk, visit her fansite here. The campaign to get "Superboy" Seasons Two through Four on DVD continues. Look for Rennie Cowans's interview with Tracy Lewis, who played Lex's moll Darla coming soon to the Superman Homepage, the Superboy Homepage, and Superboy TV Theater.
Thanks to Superman Homepage staff reporter Adam Dechanel for his help preparing for the interview.
A very special thanks to actress Stacy Haiduk for taking the time from a very busy location shoot for this interview. We'd scheduled one hour for the interview and ended up together for five hours.