by Eric Goldman (Sep 12, 2008 – IGN)
Erica Durance has played Lois Lane on Smallville since the fourth season, but because the show was focusing on a younger Clark Kent — in high school still when Lois was introduced — so far the producers had avoided creating too much of the classic Lois and Clark scenarios. Things are beginning to change though in Season 8 of Smallville, debuting Thursday night. Clark now works at the Daily Planet alongside Lois, bringing their characters closer than ever.
During my recent visit to the Smallville set, I sat down and chatted with Durance about her character and how Lois is continuing to evolve.
IGN: Your character has slowly but surely gotten more important as the series has progressed.
Durance: This is now my fifth season. It’s gone by really quickly. But I was able to kind of learn as I went with finding the character. She was in little snippets here and there. But as the years have gone by, now we’re in our eighth season and a couple of the cast members are not in and some are not full time, so the dynamic is slightly different and therefore I’m actually getting to step up and do more and be more involved. It’s going a little bit more towards the Superman mythos, which is really fun. This year has a lot of new surprises and I think the fans will really like where it’s headed.
IGN: This year, you have more of the classic dynamic of Lois, Clark and Jimmy at the Daily Planet. Is it fun to get to play out such an iconic scenario?
Durance: It’s really fun and I’ve always been a kid at heart. Some would say I don’t play the kind of cool actress – “Oh yeah, I’m so above this.” I see a part [of the script] that’s going to bring it into that mythos and I get really excited. Like I fix up Clark’s outfit and change him – I don’t physically change him; that would have been a whole other thing. [Laughs] That would have taken me a few days! But that was one of the little things.They’re starting to bring Clark into the Planet and he’s going to be working there and we have desks that are facing each other. So there’s all sorts of fun, tantalizing little scenes that we have there. For example, she sees herself as very mature and his mentor and she just kind of guides him through, whether it’s on the intellect of how to write a story or how to scoop out a story, or it’s just his physical appearance. He comes in and looks like a country bumpkin. She gets him all changed up and suddenly he looks like the Clark Kent in the mythos. It’s pretty fun. So I see little things like that and I get very excited about it.
IGN: You seem to also have more of an opportunity to build what we know is going to be the great love story of Lois and Clark. Before now, they have never been this close on a day to day basis. Are you trying to throw in even more hints of a potential attraction now?
Durance: Yeah, it’s been a tricky little journey, because of the way you have to work hand in hand with the writers on what’s been allowed to happen, as far as even licensing and that sort of thing. It’s a whole new can of worms. But throughout the years, we’ve had these little moments and that sort of thing to weed through. But this year, we’re actually having more screen time to do that. So they get thrown into these different situations where you see Lois really has to be honest with herself and confront how she really feels about this person. Maybe she feels more than she’s ever wanted to admit, and it’s just one of those things that you want to push down through sheer will. But it’s bubbling to the surface for her. And just that whole trick of how does she kind of hide that from him, because she wants to protect herself. They get into a whole lot of trouble, trying to scoop out the stories. It’s the classic wink-wink, nudge-nudge. It’s been like that through the whole mythos. She thinks she’s doing it all and she’s saving herself, but he has to just be very patient with her, as he goes around and actually saves people. And then she’s like, “Where did you go off to? Because I had to fix everything and do everything, once again, because you always take off!” So there’s a lot of that fun stuff to play with. And I love that Lois is really getting to delve into the journalism and show her intellect. I love that my character has had all sorts of sides to her – the absurd, the funny, bringing in a little bit of sexiness. I love that it shows a female can be really well rounded and she can laugh at herself. That’s one of the things I love about playing her as a character – me as a person, I’ve learned that it’s okay that you’re not perfect. And the way the write her is, “Yeah, so what, I messed up! I’m human. Deal with it. I’m sorry.” And she sucks it up and moves on. I am a perfectionist to the hilt, so I’ve learned something from that.
IGN: Oliver Queen is back in town this season. Is there some unresolved issues between he and Lois that need to be worked out?
Durance: What they’ve done, which I think is really great, is they’ve done a good service to the relationship that she had. This was her first, I think, real relationship where she allowed herself to be honest and to fall in love and it just didn’t work out. So this year, when they do come in contact, it’s like any relationship I think when you have all these feelings come up and you don’t know how to explain them and they’re not right and they’re not the right timing. So we do have a specific episode where she really has to go in and save him and help him and deal with all that kind of leftover feeling that comes up that she knows should be over. But that’s part of being human and that’s what I like about her – she’s very human.
IGN: Can you talk about Lois’s interaction with some of the new characters, like Tess, Davis and Maxima?
Durance: They’ve done a really great job and hopefully during the season they’re able to bring in even more characters that people recognize from the comics. We have the CEO of Luthorcorp coming in, Tess Mercer. I’ve had a little bit to do with her. And of course we go head to head – Lois really doesn’t get on with people right away. She kind of knocks heads with her, which is always fun for me to play that kind of thing. And Davis, I don’t have much to do with yet, but within the other characters, I think the audience will be very excited to see where they’re going with that and watch him evolve in the different characters lives and as he gets closer to the other characters. The Maxima character I had some direct contact with. It was a wonderful episode. She comes in, she sets her eyes on Clark and goes after Clark. And as the situation goes, Lois ends up finding them in a rather compromising position and has to deal with how she feels about it. But Lois doesn’t do anything quietly, so she’s not going to be all wounded. She kind of waltzes off and then Maxima gets in there and decides to hate Lois and she gets herself in a very bad situation. It’s all this kind of strange, embarrassing kind of stuff that she has to go back and face Clark with. That’s been fun to play, but it’s been tricky.
IGN: Has there been a transition this season, with [former showrunners] Al Gough and Miles Millar having left?
Durance: Yeah, there is that change of the guard feeling. Those men created this show and they’ve been there since the beginning and so when they do the switch over, you do feel it a little bit up here for sure. But the folks that are executive producing it now have worked with them for years and have been writers. I think that there’s nobody better to come into that position of making those decisions then people who have been writing it for years, because they know these characters inside out. It’s been really good.
IGN: It seems most of the characters get a chance to have superpowers on this show. I’m trying to remember if Lois has…
Durance: Lois has not yet, but I do hear down the rumor mill that she will get her chance this year, and I very much look forward to that. So apparently, Lois gets to step into those boots. Even if you think of Lois and then you give her superpowers, it’s going to be mayhem, I think. [Laughs] It’s going to be crazy, you know? But I really look forward to doing that and trying to play a character that’s slightly possessed by something is going to be fun.
IGN: What power would you like her to get?
Durance: I’d like to throw people. I really want to be able to throw people around. I think that would be fantastic. The reason I like the whole throwing thing is because there’s all the wires involve and all that kind of stuff, and you just look so awesome. You look so incredible!
IGN: Do you know more about Superman comics than you ever imagined now?
Durance: Yeah, and I’m still learning. I’ll still go to conventions and that sort of thing and I’m the first one to admit, “Hey, you know a lot more than me, so if you have something you want to share, please let me know.” Because certainly I enjoyed Superman as a child, but I didn’t know of the characters that come in and which ones are part of the comics and which ones aren’t, so it’s been fun to figure all that out.
IGN: Lois is such a famous character. Do you still have moments where you think, “Wow, I’m playing Lois Lane!”
Durance: Yeah, I have moments where I have a little smile to myself. I’m very grateful to be doing that, because that’s the female character that I always liked, because of her strength and independence and that she didn’t see herself as a victim. So to be able to actually do that, yeah, I get a kick out of it, for sure.