Superman on Television

Exclusive Interview with Al Gough of Smallville

Becoming Something Rather Than Being Something...

[Date: September 10, 2004]

By Neal Bailey

Hi, all. Neal here.

I was lucky enough to be granted ten minutes of interview with Al Gough on the new, fourth season of Smallville, and I tried to put to rest all of the top rumors and ideas about the show you all have been throwing my way for the last few years.

The man was kind enough to answer my questions with great candor, and this time, I DIDN'T blow the tape! I believe the internet colloquialism is w00t, is it not?.

Enjoy! But don't say you weren't warned, spoilers abound!

Neal Bailey (Interviewer)


Q: I hear internet rumors of Mr. Mxyzptlk making an appearance on the show. Any truth to that?

A: Absolutely true.

Q: Any details on that?

A: He will not be an imp from the fourth dimension. He will be a very sexy Eastern European foreign exchange student. He'll be in episode seven of the show, which is called "Jinx".

Q: Why the decision to introduce Lois now in continuity, when in the comics there is a very palpable dynamic in the first meeting with rivalry in the Daily Planet between the two? What role will Lois have to play in the larger scheme of things?

A: (Laughs) You know how we feel about comics continuity.

Q: Oh yeah, I've gotta ask that though, otherwise my readers will flay me. (Laughs).

A: I mean, like Lex Luthor in Smallville is awesome. We just felt, we're in the fourth season of the show. We've always wanted to introduce Lois into the series and it seemed, with Chloe'sŠdemise, it seemed like the perfect spot to introduce Lois, in that she would come to town to investigate her cousin's death and we have a very fun sort of first meeting with Clark where Clark is released from the void we found him in at the end of season three, and she finds him in a field, too, buck naked (Laughs). It throws him. We've sort of seen over the course of three seasons the relationship with Lana, which ultimately, they aren't going to end up together. But what if we meet the girl that he ultimately will end up with, and he can't stand her? And she can't stand him? We don't have that character on the show, that calls Clark on his BS. Everybody likes Clark. Lex likes Clark, Chloe likes Clark, Pete likes Clark, you know what I mean?

Q: Yeah.

A: It's like everybody likes Clark, so it's always fun to have that one character to be like, dude, you know you're just not as cool as you think you are!

Q: That's a pretty cool dynamic, actuallyŠI never though of that.

A: And they really, Erica Durance, who plays Lois, really she and Tom have a great rapport, and it just sort of lightens the show up a little bit, makes it a little more fun.

Q: Oh yeah. It got really serious there with Lana, for a while.

A: And it gets a little tortured. After a while you're just like, okay, enough. I think it's funny how we also get back a little more to the high school stories, with Clark joining the football team this year, because he's old enough to make that decision, he believes he can control his powers, and quite frankly he's looking to potentially get a scholarship for college.

Q: That's kind of going back to Byrne a little bit, too, and that's kind of neat.

A: Yeah. So now we're really at a point in the series where we need to kind of reinvigorate these long-term angles and introduce a new force into Clark's life that can shake things up a bit.

Q: A lot of people wonder if the Jor-El is a disguised evil entity, because he's manipulative to the point of injuring Jonathan, but then the Jor-El portrayed in 1961 was a very friendly, loving entity. Is Jor-El really Zod or perhaps the Eradicator, or is there some other explanation for Jor-El's behavior?

A: You will have to wait and see. (laughs)

Q: With Lex and Clark now estranged, largely, any chance we'll see a full blown war, physical or ethical, between the two?

A: The wholeŠthere will be some detente, and then it will all start to go horrible awry.

Q: All right!

A: I think in this season you will see them really philosophically start to separate and also even when Clark and Lex have their detente, Clark doesn't view Lex with the same sort of naivety he did previously. He's definitely learned from, he's more aware of all the warnings that his father's given him and others have given him. He's definitely more aware of Lex's shortcomings and the fact that it's a more guarded friendship, more mature relationship.

Q: Are you going to show how Clark shaves and/or gets a haircut?

A: Funnily enough, we are, actually. You will get some glimpse of that in right around episode eight.

Q: With the breakup of Remy Zero, are you guys considering changing the opening theme music?

A: No. We will be changing the opening credits, obviously, because Pete's gone and we're adding Jensen Ackles and we just want to update it so we have more current images. We love the theme song.

Q: Cool. I do too. Why is there a trend in the show to name characters slightly off from their comic book counterpartsŠlike Dr. Tang rather than Teng, Dr. Hamilton not being Emil? Just curious, why the changes? Amalgamation? Or maybe legal purposes?

A: You know, I'll be honest with you, I didn't know those were characters from the comicŠwe just sort of named them...and that's interesting. Is there really a Teng in the comics?

Q: Yeah, Dr. Teng is basically Luthor's scientific assistant in his future.

A: Oh.

Q: He also kind of helps create Bizarro, in a way. And that's another thing...people were wondering if maybe Teng was coming in because you were bringing Bizarro in. Any plans for bringing Bizarro in?

A: No, because you know, with Red Clark, and when you see Clark when he comes out of this void as Kal-El, he's quite frankly a kind of Bizarro version of Clark.

Q: Sure.

A: We've sort of done doppelgangers a lot in this show. And those, to me, are kind of our version of Bizarro.

Q: Definitely.

A: Did you know Margot Kidder is gonna be in the season opener?

Q: YeahŠI read about that. Any details about that?

A: She's an emissary from Dr. Swann, Bridget Crosby, who I also believe is from the comics. Down the line she's at STAR Labs. She sort of brings a very important piece of information to Martha about how to get Clark back. It's the first time we see Lois and Lana from the movies together again.

Q: Nice!

A: We're gonna shoot that scene today, actually.

Q: What are your thoughts on the WB's "Jack & Bobby", a show that has clearly been inspired in large part by Smallville and co-created by DC Comics scribe Brad Meltzer?

A: Oh is he really? I didn't know about that! I mean, I know Greg Berlanti very well, who is writing the show. I think it's interesting. I think he's a fantastic writer. I think it always works when you have a fantastic drama; it helps bring viewers to the network. I think what's telling about an ideal like Jack and Bobby and what's interesting about Smallville is these are the years when people are formed as opposed to being fully formed as adults. So, I mean, it is always interesting to see a future president when he's a kid, what was he like, would you ever have any hint that they're going to be president? Or like, Clark Kent dealing with his powers and his abilities, and you can either go one way or the other with them.

Q: That's definitely what's going to get me to watch it, because it's going to be of that same vein, what would Jack Kennedy be like before he became president? That kind of thing.

A: High school is a very universal theme in television shows and movies because it's about the formation of a person, not what the person is when they're an adult. It's more interesting, becoming something rather than being something. That's always a compelling king of storytelling.

Q: It's been said that Lana is changing with her trip to France...what will change with her character?

A: We'll see, she'll have a new boyfriend, a new attitude; she's come much more into her own. You will see her play...her and Clark's relationship this year is more about putting their friendship back together and also she plays a bigger part in the season arc's mythology. Clark and Lana are inextricably linked, whether they're romantically involved or not.

Q: Thank you. Mr. Gough. We really love your show.

A: Thank you. Tell Steve I said hi.

Q: I definitely will.

Watch for the new season of Smallville premiering this September 22nd....and be sure to comment on the interview below!

This interview is Copyright © 2004 Steven Younis. It is not to be reproduced in part or as a whole without the express permission of the Superman Homepage.