Erica Durance Readies for Smallville’s End

by Eric Goldman (Jan 24, 2011 – IGN)

We’re getting ever closer to the end of Smallville, as the series returns for a run of new episodes beginning Friday, February 4th. I recently spoke to Erica Durance, to get an update on what to expect next for Lois and Clark, her thoughts on both characters’ destiny and more.


IGN TV: So, we last left Lois, Clark and a whole bunch of superheroes in a very strange situation, where, presumably, they may be in big trouble. Anything you can say about what happens next?
Erica Durance: They did a really great job of finding a way to bring Chloe [Allison Mack] back in. All all our heroes have been knocked out and I don’t want to give away too much, but we find out there’s a whole interplay where Chloe gets to step into the role of the hero. And there’s a whole scenario of what’s real, what’s not real and then Lois gets to actually step into her role of being the person that Clark starts to really trust with who he is and what he can do and really becomes quite a central figure.

IGN: Things are really moving quickly on the show now. I remember asking you at the start of the season how long Lois would keep it from Clark that she knew his secret. Not only did that come out pretty early on, but now they’re engaged.
Durance: You know what, they’ve been really good to Lois over the years and I think this year, whether they wanted to keep the secret longer… I could have played with that for awhile, but having that come out and having her know and then how they’ve interwoven her into the group… She gets invited into the Justice League and becomes part of that and tries to figure out how she is going to be part of that. And they do, in my mind, such a great job of balancing what’s going on with Clark’s world and then showcasing a little bit of their relationship. So you’ll see a little bit of a bridal party and you see a bachelorette party that’s gone awry. There’s one episode that’s really a lot fun and all of us get to play something totally wacky and different. And of course Lois is in another costume! She’s finding herself in trouble. She wakes up with the wrong person in the wrong place and everyone’s trying to figure out what happened the night before. They’ve done a really great job with just keeping all of that balanced.

Lois in the appropriately named Season 5 episode, “Exposed”

IGN: I have to ask: What is this next costume?
Durance: Hmm… Well, it’s a similar idea of “Exposed,” but I’d say it’s from a different era.

IGN: There was a fun scene last year, where you went through the closet and we saw most of those crazy costumes you’ve worn again.
Durance: Oh, I had forgotten all the things I had worn! And people have asked me, “What’s your favorite costume?” It’s been lots of leather, lots of pleather and I’ve done the French maid outfit – and then of course this year, this will be a new one. This one was really new for me and it was awesome. They pulled out all the stops for it and there’s some good surprises in there. People need to tune in. They’ll have a good laugh.

IGN: You mentioned being integrated into the Justice League more and it was notable that Lois now was at Hawkman’s funeral as a result. Is it great for you that after all these years of Lois being kept out of this huge secret, so many doors have been opened – even as far as being able to have scenes with a lot of different characters you might not have been able to before?
Durance: I think that’s true. From an actor’s point of view it becomes more interesting, because you do get to play with many of the different characters, instead of being on the periphery. But there’s only, I think, so long that you can be just outside a secret and play with not ever finding out, you know? And it was really dependent on how long they wanted to take on whether Clark decided to trust her or not. That was a huge thing and they had to build that up and so the whole, “I will trust you. I do love you and want you to marry me…” All those kinds of things are an invitation to that other part of his word. And that’s been really great, to be a part of it. And then find out, “How does Lois Lane do this?” – and start to slowly weave that line from the Smallville Lois, in our incarnation of it, to the one that is the Lois Lane [in the comics] and how she does support him — we call him The Blur right now — but what role does she play with Superman? So we’re kind of progressing that way and it’s great.

IGN: Martha Kent [Annette O’Toole] is coming back soon. Now that Lois is going to officially be her daughter-in-law, what’s it like seeing them together?
Durance: That is a really great role for Lois to get to play – to have this moment. Martha’s unique. Lois has no one else in her life that is like a mother figure and she’s been searching for that everywhere. She gets this absolute acceptance of who she is from Martha, the same way she gets it from Clark. And she does get the go ahead and they have this really wonderful moment. She gets this wonderful gift from Martha. And Martha opens up about what it was like to be married to someone like Jonathan. So it was a really great scene and good for Lois.

IGN: At this point, do you have a pretty good idea how it’s all going to wrap up or are you still waiting to see?
Durance: They’re dangling the carrot in front of all of us. I think that we all want to do something that will do justice to having a show that’s been around for ten years and I think that’s what we’re looking to do. Right now I’m at the point where I think we have seven episodes left, so that’s all I can say. Honestly, the one that is the next one up has just come hot off the presses.
[Editor’s Note: For those curious, this interview was conducted on January 14th.]

IGN: You have a couple of months of production left now. Is it changing the vibe on set, knowing the end is almost here?
Durance: I believe everyone has a different way of dealing with it. I know for myself it’s just a little surreal and strange, because I still have to stay so focused on what’s happening, because there’s still so much work left. But then you also know that… I feel a little sentimental. You go by and they’ll be a set that’s already gone and some of those kinds of things. But it really teaches you to enjoy the moment and the people that you’re with. And try to make every scene as wonderful as you can make it and enjoy it and that’s what I’m trying to do.

IGN: Few shows make it to Season 10. What do you think it is that has helped Smallville endure? I know that among the shows I cover, it’s got what is easily one of the most passionate fanbases.
Durance: Well I think in a way you answered your own question, as far as that’s concerned. You can only stay if people want to watch you. People have been very supportive and loyal, through all the ups and downs. I mean I wasn’t there in Season 1. I’ve only been there for seven years, and they accepted me. I’m not even supposed to be part of that mythology. Yeah, there were moments where people kind of stepped back, but then they threw their arms around me and they were really supportive of me. I just think it’s the old standard of the fact that it’s a story that is well told and it’s a beautiful story. And we all love that good vs. evil story. We love that larger than life person that can make everything okay and all the support that’s around it. I think people like to get lost in that fantasy world. I certainly do! I love all of those kinds of shows. I love fantasy shows, I love sci-fi. I’ll gobble that up in a second. And I can’t get enough of it! Even if they do another incarnation that’s similar or whatever, I just go, “Okay!” I think it’s two-fold. And I think that just from my perspective going onto the show, it’s a vibe of kindness and professionalism and everybody wants to do a good job. You don’t have any of that toxic energy that I think sometimes causes shows to fall apart. There’s a lot of people there and nobody has an ego and they just love what they’re doing. And I think that makes a difference.

IGN: Is there a certain beat or something specific you’d like to see occur for Lois before the series ends?
Durance: You know what’s funny, I get that question a lot and I have certain ideas of what I like. But I find that I don’t actually like to [list] things I want Lois to do, as far as this or that. I think that I want her to become restful with herself. And I think that will be found in the fact that she gets that grounding of who she is and what her purpose is. So if they can work that into the story and really make that specific and she settles in the fact that, “I am this journalist and this is how I fight for what is good and truthful…” That’s what she’s seeking. She wants to make a difference too and I think that’s why Clark fell in love with her, is she seeks ‘truth, justice and the American way,’ right? She wants that! And she’s just trying to find her way to get to it. And so hopefully that will be her grounding point.

Welling and Durance in “Homecoming”

IGN: The 200th episode, “Homecoming,” had some really interesting material, where we got to see what I guess I’d call ‘the classic Lois of the future.’ …wow, that’s a confusing description. [Laughs]
Durance: [nodding and laughing] Yeah, yeah!

IGN: Was that fun for you, to get to jump into that Lois we know?
Durance: Absolutely! And having the glasses [on Tom]… He’s so modest and cute about it with the glasses and I’m always trying to shove them on his face and he’s like, “Ah!” It’s just so classically the way that Clark is anyway, so it was really great. And we had the guidance of Jeannot [Szwarc], our director — who’d even worked with Christopher Reeve before — so we had a really good guiding hand. But because I’m a fan of the mythology, I was totally titillated by the idea. “Oh my gosh, we’re doing it!” And people are looking at me and I’m going, “I know, I know! I’m stepping outside of myself, but look at what we’re doing!” I’m always kind of the peppy one that’s doing that.
You know, you see Clark in the old getup where he looks like [classic] Clark in the elevator. That shot, I was… That was a super fan moment. I went running up to him and I went, “Oh my god! You look just like Superman!” Then I go, “Yeah, yeah, yeah… I know.” He just laughs.

IGN: I know Tom has his own feelings on it, but would you like to see him in the suit?
Durance: [Laughs] I’ve said this many times. Who wouldn’t want to see Tom Welling in some tights? I have different reasons for it, because I know him very well and it would be very funny, but I think that Lois would love to see Clark fulfill that and become Superman. Being true to form, Lois wants to support him in his way. I don’t know if that’s ever going to happen from Tom’s perspective. But I would love to see him fly. That’s what I’d love to happen.

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