Superman on Television

Interview with "Smallville" Executive Producer Alfred Gough

On Monday February 9th 2004, Warner Bros. held a press junket with various fan sites, enabling them to interview "Smallville" Executive Producer Al Gough. The Superman Homepage was one of these sites and what follows is a transcription from the telephone conversation/interview with Mr Gough.

Q: Firstly, congratulations on the birth of your new baby boy Jasper! How are mother and baby doing?

A: Thank you very much. Everybody's good.

[Note: Al's wife just gave birth to their second child on Wednesday February 4, 2004: Jasper Benjamin Gough, 8lbs 12oz, born at 1:12pm]

Hereafter Q: Fans got scared that you were about to kill off Jonathan Kent in a recent episode. Please tell me you're not planning to have Jonathan die while Clark is still in Smallville ala "Superman: The Movie"?

A: [Laughs] Well no, but certainly his heart attack is tied to the super powers he got in "Exile". So what we tried to do was tie his failing health into the mythology of our show, and the price he paid to bring Clark home.

Q: So this was the "grave consequences" Jor-El spoke of when he told Jonathan he could give him the power to stop Clark for a price?

A: Exactly. But I think it does definitely change up the Clark/Jonathan relationship which we definitely play with in the next couple of episodes.

Q: Jor-El clearly has a plan for his son? Will this be something that'll get resolved this season or will Jor-El's master plan slowly leak its way out as the series continues?

A: I think it is something that will continue throughout the series, but it will definitely take an interesting turn towards the end of the season. Details which I can't go into now. [Laughs]

Q: We've heard from Jor-El - what about his biological mother, Lara?

A: You know what, that is something that we could potentially be looking into.

Q: Any casting hints in that regard?

A: Ah, no. [Laughs]

Q: Will you be exploring Krypton at all? See what it looked like?

A: Not really, and there are two reasons for that. I think, one: Creatively for us, the show is called "Smallville", stay based here on Earth; and then on a bigger company level, they're doing this Superman movie which apparently deals a lot with Krypton, so we sort of struck a deal with DC Comics where you won't really see a lot of Kryptonian bits in "Smallville". Which is fair enough, it's not something creatively we were looking to do. We like to use the Jor-El relationship to further our own mythology.

Q: We've heard Lois Lane's name, will we be seeing her any time soon?

A: Not this season. But definitely potential for the future.

Q: Now Lois is definitely Chloe's cousin, there's some fans who still think that somehow Chloe will change her name and become Lois Lane?

A: [Laughs] No, she's definitely Chloe's cousin.

Q: There have been rumors of a super pet? Any chance we'll ever see Krypto the Superdog work his way into the show?

A: You know at some point it would be great, again it won't be this season. We toyed with the idea of introducing him in "Whisper" as Clark's seeing-eye-dog, but we scrapped that idea. But we'd love to see Krypto, again it's just a matter of, with all these characters, can we introduce them in a way that furthers our story telling, and done in a unique way.

Q: How do you prevent Smallville from having the most anticlimactic series finale†in television history when the end is the beginning of a whole new story,†a story everybody knows?

A: The question is though, how does it end? Again, it's not in the comics, what causes Clark and Lex to have this insurmountable rift? What is the thing that happens that neither can overcome so that they become sworn enemies? That's sort of the fun of the show. Again that's not something that's really in the comics... You know, Superboy making Lex lose his hair doesn't count. So I think that's the story that's fun, and I think going down that path is a little interesting. But you're right, you know people say to me "Al how is 'Smallville' going to end?", and I say, "Badly". Why not. Clark doesn't end up with Lana, and he and Lex are complete enemies. So how is that good? But what in that journey forges him into that hero that we all know?

Q: What's interesting that Lex doesn't necessarily hate Clark when he leaves Smallville, it's Superman he hates later on.

A: Exactly, so there's that level of it as well. So we think it's more the trials of Clark and the trials of Lex. This year what I think is interesting is Lex trying to move towards the light and in a way getting darker because of being worried about his father. But with Clark I think he's definitely been a little darker, especially when we opened the season. And when Dr. Swann returns we call him on the carpet about his actions this past year. I think that's something really important to point out, I mean here's a kid who has found out a lot of information at a very young age, and quite frankly isn't sure how to deal with it. And how it affects the relationships with people around him... In "Velocity" we see Clark and Pete's friendship tested. Then in "Obsession", which is the one following it, it's a little interesting because he meets a girl who ends up saving him, she has a power. And then Clark thinks, "Well is the right girl for me someone who is different like me, not Lana, but someone who also has a secret they have to hide, is that the type of person I should be with?" I think it's always trying to pose interesting questions for Clark that, when you look down the line with Superman, you'll see this formation of the persona and the person.

Q: Can we expect to see any further glimpses of the costume as we were treated with in the recent "Hereafter" episode?

A: Probably not. We wanted to show the cape and that was a fun thing to do.

Q: I guess technically the cape isn't "tights", so you're keeping to your motto of "No flight, no tights".

A: Exactly! See. It's a cape.

Christopher Reeve Q: Considering the wild success of Christopher Reeve and Terence Stamp's guest starring roles in Smallville, is there any chance that you might consider having other members of the Superman family guest star in future episodes? I know you and I have spoken about getting Noel Neill a role.

A: Yeah, absolutely. We're always open to it, it really becomes a question of wanting an interesting character for them to play, and also what's their availability, and also what sort of story are they telling at that moment. But it's something we're always interested in. I think it's a fun way to tie all forms of Superman mythology together.

Q: The inclusion of the name "Brainwave" in the "Delete" episode, was a nice bit of fan service for the comic fans. Is there a chance that other known villians could find their beginnings in Smallville?

A: Potentially. When you're dealing with supervillains you need to think how do you intergrate them in a way that feels natural for the show. Like with Morgan Edge, that was a fun character. Once we knew we were going to be in Metropolis we looked through the mythology and there was Morgan Edge, and we thought "what a great way to get a different type of villain into Clark's life".

Q: Any release date for a Season 2 DVD box set?

A: That will be out in the U.S. and Canada this Spring. It'll be a Warner Home Video release.

Q: What bonus features can we expect to see on the second season boxed set?

A: It'll have a tonne of extras on it. There's a Christopher Reeve featurette, the entire Chloe Chronicals will be on there, there'll be DVD commentary from the actors, Miles, myself, and the production staff. This collection I think will be more satisfying than the Season 1.

Q: Which episodes are your personal favorites?

A: My favorite episodes so far this season -- Exile, Perry, Shattered, Asylum.

Q: Thank you very much for you time. It was great talking to you, and good luck with the new baby.

A: Thanks Steve. Thank you. Bye!