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Tom Welling

Thomas J. Welling was born on Tuesday, April 26th, 1977, in Putnam Valley, West Point, New York. He spent his early years in Wisconsin before moving to Hockessin, Delaware, in third grade; he remained in Delaware until just after the start of his freshman year, when he and his family moved to Okemos, Michigan. There he lived with his father, a retired executive for General Motors, his mother, a “home engineer,” and his three siblings, two elder sisters – a teacher and a business-woman respectively – and a younger brother. During his early years at school in Delaware, Tom showed a little of the acting ability that he would later use to great acclaim, appearing in several school plays and pageants until his sixth grade year. A jock during high school, he developed a passion for basketball – which he still plays whenever the opportunity arises – dabbled in baseball, and excelled at soccer where he played as third string goalkeeper in the high school Varsity team during his senior year.
Never particularly studious despite an enjoyment of history and other subjects, he did no better than “fair” in high school, and on graduation on Sunday, June 4th, 1995, from Okemos High School in Okemos, Michigan, he decided that pursuing a college education was not a viable option for him.

Instead he chose a more physically demanding occupation, becoming a construction worker at a warehouse. He continued to live at home with his parents, and spent his free time hanging out with friends. In the spring of 1997 while Tom and a few friends were on vacation in Nantucket, the then 20-year-old was approached near a bar by an Abercrombie & Fitch catalogue shoot scout working for the world-famous photographer Bruce Weber.
Returning home to weigh up his options, Tom ultimately decided to head to Lake George, New York, where the shoot was to take place; it was to be the start of a new career, and made Tom a few thousand dollars in the process. The shoot was published in the Christmas 1997 Abercrombie & Fitch Quarterly. Tom soon moved from his parents’ home in Michigan, to Manhattan, modelling periodically over the next two years for New York Model Management.
During this time he also joined Louisa Models, taking assignments from their offices in Munich and Hamburg and modelling for them throughout Europe in Italy, Germany, and Spain.

While working in Miami, Florida, in 1998, Tom met his future wife, Jamie A. White, in a local coffee shop. Jamie – also a model and two years Tom’s senior – and he had met briefly on a number of occasions during their respective careers. Despite being fairly successful it soon became clear that Tom was not suited to the modelling world. With this in mind, and with the encouragement of friends and family – along with help from contacts he had made during his years as a model – Tom moved to Los Angeles, California, in January 2000. With no acting training and no intention of taking formal lessons, but with the impression that acting didn’t look too difficult, he gave himself one year to decide if this would be a more fulfilling career.

While numerous auditions followed, Tom continued to model for a few more months with representation from both the west coast sister company of New York Model Management, L.A. Models, and the world-renowned Wilhelmina Models. To his surprise, Tom soon realised that he found the auditioning process quite enjoyable. His first acting jobs were in television commercials for 7 Up, T.J. Maxx and Verizon, along with a large role in the music video for the song ‘Picture Perfect,’ by Angela Via, in March 2000.

With the help of the CAA talent agency Tom’s breakthrough role came in late 2000, with a part in the successful drama series Judging Amy. The role of karate teacher Rob Meltzer, Amy’s ten-years-junior love interest, was originally planned to recur in three episodes, however this was increased to a six episode arc due to the success of the storyline, and the impression Tom made on the producers during the shooting of his first three episodes. In May 2001 he appeared in his second – and much less substantial – role in the series Special Unit 2, playing Male Victim #1 in ‘The Depths’. Tom also made a cameo appearance in the pilot episode of the series Undeclared in September 2001 as a frat boy, before making his highly successful leading-man debut in October, starring as the Boy-of-Steel Clark Kent in Smallville.

Tom had twice turned down the offer of an audition for the part, figuring that it would be “lame”. However, having auditioned hundreds of tall, handsome, raven-haired men for the role of Clark, the casting directors were so sure that Tom had the fresh-faced appeal they were looking for that they decided to call him one last time; he relented, and finally took the audition, reading from the infamous graveyard scene. He loved it. While on the way home from the final audition Tom stopped at a gas station, having decided to call his agent on a pay phone. He was shocked when his agent informed him that he had just received a phone call, and that Tom had won the role.
Tom was overjoyed, and stood screaming at the side of the road.

Following a successful first year in the acting business, capped by his lead role on Smallville, Tom decided to take a further step towards achieving long-term success. Despite have already had much success due to his natural, but raw talent, he chose to begin taking acting classes with the world-renowned Cameron Thor Studios in Los Angeles, in addition to taking a number of private lessons. During his first year on Smallville, Tom would stay in hotels in Vancouver on weekdays whilst filming, returning to his home in Los Angeles during his breaks from filming to be with his then fiancée, Jamie, and their dogs, which include a pug dog named Cook.

He and Jamie were married on Friday, July 5th, 2002, at Martha’s Vineyard, in a private ceremony attended only by close friends and family. Amongst those in attendance were Tom’s co-stars on Smallville, Kristin Kreuk and Michael Rosenbaum, and at Tom’s request Michael performed a special rendition of the Van Morrison hit, ‘Brown-Eyed Girl.’ Tom wore a custom-made YSL tuxedo for the occasion. Following their wedding, Tom and Jamie relocated from Los Angeles to Vancouver, where shooting began on the second season of Smallville in late July. Shooting wrapped in mid-April 2003, however Tom’s summer hiatus was scheduled to be quite hectic.
From late-April through to mid-June he filmed his role in an updated remake of the 1950 movie of the same name, Cheaper by the Dozen. Loosely based on the memoirs of the Gilbreth family, the family was renamed Baker for this contemporary update, with Tom portraying the eldest son, Charlie.

At a press conference for the movie held in December 2003, Tom stated that having been a fan since childhood, he accepted the role for three reasons: Steve Martin; Steve Martin; and Steve Martin. While shooting the movie in Santa Rosa, California, he and Steve became quite close, and would often sneak in games of basketball - however Tom refuses to say who was the more talented player of the two. When shooting began on season three of Smallville in mid-July 2003, Tom’s newly-gained experience both in front of and behind the camera was highly evident. In anticipation of the country-wide US release of Cheaper by the Dozen on Thursday, December 25th, Tom appeared at the world premiere of the movie at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 14th, 2003, accompanied by Jamie, a number of family members, and the cast of the movie. The movie went on to be a box-office hit across the world, climbing to number two in the US charts and attaining the number one spot in the United Kingdom.

Whilst Tom was noticeably absent from the celebrity and promotional scene through the first six months of 2004, in the summer rumours persisted about the possibility of Tom starring in the new Superman movie; a rumour that was strengthened in August when Tom appeared at the Teen Choice Awards and stated that he had signed on for “a movie” - but that he couldn't give any details about it. During the rare time off during the filming of Smallville and other projects, Tom likes to spend time with his friends and family, along with reading, running, skiing on Whistler Mountain in Vancouver, and playing basketball. In addition Tom has recently taken up playing golf, a sport at which he has become quite proficient.

Tom Welling Goes From Superman to "Cheaper by the Dozen"

Tom Welling is finding himself in the enviable position of being labeled a teen heartthrob after hitting it big in TV's "Smallville." Prior to being cast as the young Clark Kent, Welling had very limited acting experience. And now with his role as Charlie, the oldest son in "Cheaper by the Dozen," Welling gets his first taste of feature film work.

TOM WELLING ('Charlie'):

So Tom, how has “Smallville” changed your life?
“Smallville” changed my life in a way that I have a lot less free time now. Honestly, that's the biggest change. Besides everything else, that's the biggest change. The amount of time I have to myself, and that's about it. In a good way, I suppose.

Is it easier shooting in Vancouver than a place like Los Angeles where there might more activity surrounding you? You must feel somewhat isolated.
In my own mind, I've made just as many arguments for and against both. In one way being in Vancouver, you are isolated. I actually refer to it as being in a submarine in that on Monday morning everybody shows up at the dock, they get on the submarine, and it submerges. Especially in Vancouver where it's wet and rainy. And Friday night at about 10:30 or 10:45pm, everybody gets shore leave for a couple of hours. That's really what it is.

You really can put up blinders and forget about the rest of the world because there is so much work. But on the other hand, you're missing out on the fun and the opportunities you have down here, meeting people and projects and so forth, and being a part of that. But on the other hand, if I was in LA doing it, there would be many more distractions and it may become twice as hard to concentrate on the work.

Piper Perabo was talking about your manners and mannerisms. Were you brought up in a strict household?
I think I was brought up in a respectful household. I remember a time when I was young when my dad was still much bigger than me, I don't remember exactly when. What happened was, I got in trouble for what I did and I remember looking up at my dad and him being REALLY big. And what it was was referring to my mother as 'She.' Like, “She said it,” instead of, “My mom said it.” And my dad turned to me and said, “No, you don't refer to your mother as 'she.'”

What was the punishment?
Just a really big look. One of those [and] I got the point. There didn't need to be a punishment. But I grew up in a household that valued respect and manners, and I think I'm happy for that.

Do you want 12 kids?
Do I want 12 kids? Doing this movie probably didn't convince me more or less to have 12 kids. I mean, I don't have to give birth to 12 kids so that's a conversation that I'd have with my wife. So we'll see how things go.

What attracted you to the business initially?
What attracted me to this business was adventure, I think. Growing up I was always attracted to adventure and adventurous movies. My favorite movie is “Mutiny on the Bounty” for the sole reason of the sense of adventure you get from that film.

I did a show called “Judging Amy” for six episodes and for me, it was fun and great, but I had no idea even what acting was. It wasn't until I got to “Smallville” that I sort of had on the job training of acting, or the process of. The more and more I get to know that process, the more I want to know and am enthralled by it. But to me it was excitement and adventure.

I liked the fact you're always doing something different every day and you get to do a lot of the things you wouldn't be able to do in any other business. If you jump from movie to movie and maybe you're doing a super hero in one movie and then the romantic lead, and the next one you're being a comedian, then you might have to learn martial arts for an adventure film. That's the kind of life I want to have. I have so many different interests in so many different things that this is the perfect way for me to fulfill everything I want to do.
At the end of "Cheaper by the Dozen" there’s what looks like an improvised kiss between you and Bonnie Hunt. What was going on there?
It was probably the only time where I may have got the best of her, because there are many other out-takes where she got the best of everybody else, including me. It was something that was fun. I did it less for the camera and more just trying to trip her up once. And it didn't work - she rolled right with it, so I think she's still got me. But it was just having fun. We didn't play a lot of tricks on the set - it wasn't like we were setting people up - but we all had a lot of fun. We had fun with each other.

Can you talk about working with Hilary Duff?
She's great. She's a real sweetheart. She's a great sister; she's a great person. We had a lot of fun together. She's very charming.

Did you know what you were getting into with “Smallville” - playing such an iconic character?
At the time I thought I did but looking back, no. I had no idea. I had absolutely no idea. Like anything, you think you know what you're doing. You're like, “Yeah, I know what this is. I can do it.” And then you start doing it and go, “Whoa, this is a lot bigger, a lot harder than what I thought.”

Has it gotten bigger as it's gone along?
Yeah. It's got more predictable in that I know what to expect. Literally, I don't remember the first and second season. People talk about episodes and stuff. I'm like, “Really?” I was delirious. I didn't know what was going on. There was so much that I was doing that I couldn't keep track of. I was doing three episodes at once at times, and it was crazy. That was because the production was out of control. But now we've gotten it down to where at least I know what episode I'm working on. I've been able to manage my energy and my focus.

How did you celebrate getting your role in “Smallville” and “Cheaper by the Dozen?”
There wasn't really a big celebration for either. I know for “Cheaper,” we went out for dinner because we were all really excited. My wife and I and some friends of ours, we went out and had a fun dinner.

For “Smallville,” it was just the excitement of having it. I had turned it down twice because of the way it was described to me as Superman in high school, and I didn't want to do Superman in high school. Once I read the script and I saw that it was Clark Kent trying to fit in to be a normal kid, it became much more interesting to me with what he was struggling against.

Were you were a fan of Superman?
Quoting my father when I was four or five, I demanded to be Superman two years in a row for Halloween and I wouldn't have it any other way. I think I had grown so much that I didn't really fit the four year costume, but I still tried to wear it.

I had seen the “Superman” films. I don't remember too much about them. I remember the stories. I didn't really follow the mythology of the character and since “Smallville” started up, I made a conscious decision to stay away from that material. We're doing something different at a time before all that, I don't want that that to effect what I'm doing, even subconsciously. When I went to New York to work with Christopher (Reeve), it was kind of fun to talk to him about it. He was amazed at how we are able to do what we can do now with visual effects and special effects, and how quickly. He talked about even a year after the actual production of “Superman” had stopped, he'd worked for another year just trying to get the flying down. His joke was that he didn't want to talk to me too much about Superman, because I wasn't supposed to know that yet. He was like, “You're just Clark Kent!" He's a great guy. He really takes the character seriously. He knows more about Superman than anybody I've ever met. It's a really neat thing to be able to share with somebody.

What’s been the hardest time for you?
The hardest time was when I made the difficult decision of moving from New York to LA, to give acting a go. I spent nine months out here going to auditions, getting good feedback, but not getting a job. As time went on, money started to get more and more tight. I started to wonder if this was really what I wanted to do. That's when I got the role on “Judging Amy,” almost by default, because the guy they had chosen couldn't get someone to watch his kids that day. They had remembered me, called me in, and re-wrote it. Instead of being a guy who is a year old than Amy's character, they wrote it as 10 years younger. It turned out to be a really good relationship. I was signed for three episodes and after the three aired, the viewers wrote fan letters and it influenced the show. They called me up and said, “Look, we're really getting a great response. We'd love you to come back for three more.” That was great. I remember doing the last episode of “Judging Amy” and talking to Amy about this TV show, which was “Smallville.” I had no idea it would turn into this.
Why transition to feature films now?
I love the medium of film. I love going to movies. It's just big, it takes you away, you can escape into it. And it was something different. I don't have time to do another TV show, but I do have three months in the summer to do a film.

It's definitely something different from the character I'm playing. The most amazing thing I found about working on this film was that on a movie, you actually have time to be prepared. You have time to rest, because you do one scene a day instead of five. It was amazing to the point where I was on set going (banging the table), “I'm used to going all day.”

Are there still challenges on “Smallville?”
One of the biggest hurdles that I was warned to look out for is boredom and going through the motions.That’s] easy to fall into when you're tired and frustrated and doing the same thing. But when you get to play a character who is infused with red Kryptonite, so he's acting crazy, all of those things are ways to wake you up and have fun. You have to remember it's a creative process that you always have to bring your best focus to. It reminds you on a daily basis that you just have to keep going.

What’s one secret about what's coming up on “Smallville?”
You only want to know one? Clark gets a new ability. Rex goes crazy for different reasons. Lana gets a new guy in her life, which I will probably have to get rid of sooner or later. And Chloe and Clark start to rebuild their relationship as friends. And Pete actually has an episode all about him.

Are you ever going to play a character your own age?
I hope so, at some point. I'm in a position now where I can play certain roles and when I get older, I won't be able to. So, I don't have a strategy of trying to grow up too quick, I just want to kind of look at everything.

How does it feel to be a teen pin-up? 18 year-old girls have your face on their walls.
A little awkward. I mean, it's something that's completely out of my control. If people like what you're doing or like you, that's not such a horrible thing.

Are you recognized much more now?
I'm recognized a lot more than before I was on “Smallville.” It's not something that hinders me from going on and living my life. I would never let it. I think it's important to separate the two. Most of the time that I spend outside is in Vancouver and they're very respectful and very nice.

Welling, Grace Lost in 'The Fog' Remake

Tom Welling ("Smallville") and Maggie Grace ("Lost") will star in the remake of John Carpenter's classic horror thriller "The Fog."

Rupert Wainwright ("Stigmata") is directing the project for Sony-based Revolution Studios.

"Fog" is set in a Northern California town where, about 100 years ago, a ship sank under mysterious circumstances in a thick, eerie fog. The ghosts of the deceased mariners return from their watery graves to seek their revenge. Welling will play a local boat owner who never left the town, and Grace will portray a college girl who is back in her hometown for the summer.

John Carpenter, who directed and co-wrote the 1980 original, is serving as a producer of the remake.

Meet Tom Welling

WHEN actor Tom Welling found out he'd won the part of Superman as a teenager in the new WB series "Smallville" - a role that could transform him from a mild mannered 24 year old actor into a major star - he was in exactly the right spot: a phone booth. OK, there aren't actually any real phone booths left in LA. But he was on the side of the road with a phone in his hand.

"I went to the final screen test between me and another fellow," he remembers. "I was on my way back from the Warner Bros. studio and I stopped in a gas station to call my manager and tell him how it went. I called and get him on the phone and he said, 'Can you hold on a second?' I'm like, well, alright. I'm thinking, 'Thanks for the priority.' Next thing I know, there are literally seven people on the other line and almost in unison they say, 'Tom, you got it!' "

Calling from the set in Vancouver, Welling is bracing for the onslaught of attention that "Smallville" will bring him when it debuts Oct. 16 on the WB. (It has one of the toughest slots in television, facing off against "Frasier" and the new hit "Scrubs" on NBC; the cult favorite "Roswell" on UPN; and "24," the most talked-about show of the season on Fox.)

Welling, who was born in upstate New York and spent years in Michigan, Wisconsin and Delaware, has every reason to expect the show will change his life. His biggest previous success came on a three episode arc of "Judging Amy" that was expanded to six. He also had a brief appearance as a frat boy in the pilot for Fox's "Undeclared."

He may be a relative unknown, but the character of Superman has unfailingly brought its stars fame. Superman has succeeded as a comic book, a newspaper serial, a radio show, a matinee serial at the movies, the memorable '50s TV show starring George Reeves, the smash films with Christopher Reeves, the romantic comedy "Lois & Clark" that ran for four years on ABC.

The only truly forgetable Man of Steel was a little-remembered syndie show "Superboy" that ran for three years in the late '80s and had a college-age Clark Kent battling vampires and other paranormal things.

As everyone has made clear, this Clark Kent is just a teenager with super powers that make him feel awkward and alone - just like most teens. "No tights; no flights" is their motto.

Welling, who has been happily tackling 14 hour days on the set and isn't even sure which episode they're on, likes that. He tried to fit in during school by switching from acting to sports like soccer and baseball. But Welling loves that Clark isn't a goody-goody hero yet. He might even be rebellious . . . and a rebellious teen with super powers is something to behold.

"Clark is one of the kids," explains Welling. "He has a lot of friends, but he's not necessarily the most popular because he feels the powers that he does have alienate him from being a real kid. He's trying to come to grips with what that means. They've made him less geeky, less square.

"Clark's not always going to be the nice guy; he won't always do the right thing. He's a teenage kid trying to grasp the concept of these abilities and what he's here for and how did he get here and where is he going. There's going to be anger and vengeance and violence. We all know how he turns out; this is the journey of how he gets there."

A new twist on the man of steel

Tom Welling's career is moving faster than a speeding bullet.

A year ago, he was auditioning for commercials in New York. Then he decided to try his luck in Los Angeles, where he quickly landed a six-episode part on Judging Amy as the judge's boy toy, Karate Rob. Now he's a teen dream on the verge, thanks to his starring gig as a pre-Man of Steel Clark Kent on the WB's Smallville.

In this incarnation of the Superman legend, high schooler Clark is less interested in his newly discovered superpowers than in scoring a date with the prettiest girl in school, Lana Lang (Kristin Kreuk). Just wait till he discovers X-ray vision.

Which superpower do you want the most?
His invincibility, the fact that he can't get hurt physically. I play basketball with my friends, and I've been known to go out for a jog once in a while, but if I was invincible, maybe I would take up some extreme sports.

Were you worried the producers would make you wear tights and a cape?
When I went on the first audition, they told you as you walked through the door there would be no flying and no tights. This is all about Clark Kent before he's Superman, before he gets the tights and starts flying.

John Schneider, aka Bo Duke of The Dukes of Hazzard, plays your dad on the show. What's that like?
I was a little nervous meeting him. Growing up, I'd seen him on TV, and I think I had the General Lee car to play with when I was a child. When I met him, he was such a great guy; he's so warm and just a nice person. Our relationship works great onscreen, too, because we had an immediate connection.

One of the other characters on the show was really nervous about meeting him; I won't say who. And I said, "Just walk up to him; he's such a nice guy." "But I want to ask him about Dukes." And I said, "Just ask him; he's totally cool with it." He's really a down-to-earth guy.

Have you splurged on anything since getting the job?
[Laughs.] We haven't been paid yet. They don't just write you a check at the beginning; they pay you as it goes. So, I'm being very conservative. We have 13 episodes right now, and we're waiting to get the other nine picked up. But since we're going to be shooting in Vancouver for the next, maybe, eight months, I'll probably want to rent an apartment. I've been staying in a hotel.

What was it like playing Karate Rob on Judging Amy?
I was the 10-years-younger love interest for Amy Brenneman's character and also her daughter's karate instructor, which caused a little conflict of interest. It was a great role...a three-episode job, and over Christmas, they aired the episodes and got such good feedback they brought me back for three more. It was actually Amy Brenneman's first love affair on the show. I think the fans were liking that story.

First karate instructor, now superhero. Why are you always the strong guy?
I'm almost six-foot-three. Maybe that has something to do with it. But you never really know. There are times you go in on things you think you're perfect for, and you don't even get called back. And then there are other times when you don't think you did that hot, and you get the job.

Were you there when Michael Rosenbaum shaved his head for his role as Lex Luthor?
I saw him maybe five minutes before he shaved it. He didn't have much hair to begin with. But I think it looks great on him. It's very becoming.

The WB's pretty sensitive about haircuts. Have they mentioned anything to you about not chopping off your locks?
[Laughs.] I'm getting just a little trim for when we start up.

Wishing Tom Welling

Playing Superman comes with a super-human responsibility to fans of the iconic character. But Tom Welling, star of Smallville, tells us why Clark Kent is just a normal kid.

How is Smallville different from the Superman movies?

It wasn't Lois & Clark. It wasn't Superman. It was about a high school kid. Going into that first audition, I didn't know how anyone could prepare to play this role, and as I was waiting in the room to go in to the audition, I realised that you have to take everything that makes this kid a super hero, and throw it out the window. I had to do it just like a normal kid. The special effects and everything else would help fill in the blanks - and that's how I've tried to attack this material, even now.

Describe your first couple of days on set.

The biggest challenge for me was rest. We were out of control as far as production goes, working sometimes 20-hour days, and working on three different episodes at one time. That's changed now: things are more predictable and easier. It's simpler to wrap your brain around what to expect when you go to work, and what you're working on. I had no idea what it was going to be like - I had nothing to compare it to.

What's it like playing such an iconic character?

I am able to go at Clark with only the information that they give me on Smallville in the scripts. I don't know who he's going to become, so I'm figuring him out at the same time as he's figuring himself out.

Did Christopher Reeve have any words of advice for you?

We were being interviewed, and they were asking Christopher about Superman, and what he would do, and Christopher was saying, 'Shush - he's not supposed to hear this yet! He doesn't know who this Superman is. Don't tell him!'

How has Smallville evolved?

What gives me the most satisfaction is watching the pilot, because we've come along so far - myself included. That always puts a smile on my face, because at the time I was really figuring it all out at once, but now we've all grown up a little bit: the production, myself, the scripts, the storylines. Everything! For me it's very entertaining to watch Clark.

Super Tom Welling

Season one of Smallville, covering the early years of the Man of Steel, was widely acclaimed last year as the best new show on television. The series managed to combine a great-looking cast (a la Dawson's Creek) with mysterious mutants (a la The X-Files), and comes up with a fantastic new slant on the origins of the flying crimebuster.

Cleverly veering away from the stereotypical "man in tights" scenario, Warner Brothers has gone for the "boy in jeans" look, and cast Tom Welling in the role of Clark Kent, an adolescent Superman in the making.

Soft-spoken, open and as modest as they come, Welling is perfect for the part of small-town farm boy destined for greater heights. Born and raised in New York, Welling—6'3" of body beautiful—was strutting his funky stuff as a model before taking the brave step of moving to Los Angeles to further his acting career.

Q: Why did you choose to give up a lucrative career in modeling to attempt the far riskier challenge of acting?

Welling: I'd been to a few auditions in New York and received some really good feedback, which helped boost my confidence level, and I just felt I could go for it. I decided to give it my best shot and work as hard as I could, and it's paid off for me.

Q: How did you end up as Clark Kent in Smallville?

Welling: The usual way. I went in for a couple of auditions and you know, you do one and then you move up to the next level and eventually they choose you.

Q: What was it about the script that made you take the part?

Welling: The first thing was that it was such a different take on what had gone before. I mean, we all know what Clark is going to become in a few years' time and we all know where characters like Lex and Clark's parents are going to be a few years down the line. So I was intrigued with how the writers were going to get them there and wanted to be part of that journey.

Another interesting thing was that the writers dealt with Clark as a human rather than an alien. You know, for the most part he's an adolescent kid trying to fit in with the rest of the guys. He worries about class assignments and getting on the football team and dealing with his feelings for Lana Lang [Kristen Kreuk] and all of those things, but at the same time, he knows his special abilities set him apart from the rest of his friends. He can do all these incredible things but doesn't fully understand them or why or how he can do them.

He can't share any of this with his friends, even his parents don't fully understand why or how he's like he is, so it was appealing to me to be able to take the role and try to portray Clark dealing with all of those issues.

Q: How much research did you do for the role of Clark Kent?

Welling: I didn't really do much. I actually made the choice not to do research on anything that has already been done, because I wanted to approach things from a fresh perspective and create my own version of Clark Kent. In fact, I was watching TV one night and saw an episode of The New Adventures of Superman where he asked his parents where he'd come from and I jumped up and turned the television off because I wanted the character I play to find out from his own "parents."

Q: What can you tell us about your version of Clark Kent?

Welling: Well, he's from the planet Krypton and he came to Earth in a spaceship during a meteor shower which fell on the town of Smallville, killing Lana's parents and generally causing havoc, which Clark feels is somehow his fault. He was found and raised by Jonathan and Martha Kent [John Schneider and Annette O'Toole], who adopted him, and they have a very strong parent/child bond. He goes to Smallville High School with his two best friends, Pete Ross [Sam Jones III] and Chloe Sullivan [Allison Mack]. Fate and a spectacular car crash bring Clark and Lex Luthor [Michael Rosenbaum] together and they quickly become best friends, too.

At the beginning and throughout season one, Clark is just discovering the extent of some of his powers. In the pilot, we find out he has great strength and speed and is indestructible. For instance, Lex hitting with his car should have killed him, but obviously doesn't, and then he's developing more powers like X-ray vision as he grows. When the X-ray vision first manifests itself, Clark kinda gets a headache and doesn't know how to control it and it's all very confusing. As the season progresses he has more control, so starts to home in on his abilities. Clark has more "gifts" to come, but he doesn't know that at this point, so it's a real voyage of discovery for him.

Q: Are you looking forward to finding out what the other "gifts" are?

Welling: Absolutely! That's really what the show is about, him finding out who he is and why he's here. I have no idea which of his other abilities are in store. I'll be finding out along with everybody else and, yes, I'm really looking forward to that.

Q: How difficult is it is to play an adolescent?

Welling: It's not really difficult, because when we first meet Clark, he is kind of thrust into a whole bunch of situations that are new to him, with these abilities that he's trying to come to terms with and learn more about, and I'm kind of in the same situation. I haven't had a lot of experience in television, but just somehow found my way here with some acting abilities, which I'm told I have, and which I want to develop to the full. So in a way, it's very simpatico that Clark is learning about himself as I'm learning about myself trying to develop him.

And then, most of our audience has either been through or is going through adolescence, and what's great about our show is that it touches on issues and topics that all of us recognize from our own experiences, and I just draw on that.

Q: Why do you think Clark uses his powers for good rather than evil?

Welling: I think it's all down to his upbringing. If he'd been found by Lionel Luthor [John Glover] for instance, then he would have grown up with an entirely different set of values. You have to ask yourself, "Why doesn't he just go into the bank and just take the money?" or "Where does the desire to do the right thing come from?" and the answer is right there with Clark's parents. What I really like about our show is that Martha and Jonathan are not out of the loop. They are there for Clark to go to whenever he needs them, and though they are grappling with Clark's abilities as much as he is, they always promote them as positive, special "gifts" which are just a part of what makes Clark who he is.

Q: There are many different relationships centered round Clark. Which is the most interesting for you?

Welling: There are many different relationships. There's Chloe, Pete and Clark, three friends just trying to make sense of high school and the weirdness that abounds in Smallville. There's the Lana/Whitney [Eric Johnston] thing, which is interesting, because we know that Lana and Clark don't get together in the end, but all through Smallville they get this close. There's Clark's very close relationship between his mom and his dad and then, of course, there's the conflict between Clark, his father and Lex. For whatever reasons, mainly to do with Lionel Luthor, Jonathon doesn't want his son to have anything to do with Lex, but recognizes that he has to give Clark the space to make his own decisions.

I find the Clark/Lex relationship the most interesting, because you know where both these characters are going to end up, but it's how they get there that's the intriguing part. Often when we see them, it's like, "Is Lex going to find out about Clark's abilities? Are they going to stay friends? Is Lex going to go good, is he going to go bad?" ... so many times it's just on that fine line and then something happens to keep us guessing. I think it keeps the intensity there and creates a really good energy between us. And Michael [Rosenbaum] is great to work with. He's a very talented actor and I've learned so much from him. He always tells me to push the limit and always tries to screw around with the material and play with it and enjoy it.

Q: Have you any idea what causes them to swing from best friends to mortal enemies?

Welling: I haven't a clue, but it must be something pretty momentous. My wish would be to see the beginning of that battle start in some future season of Smallville.

Q: What can you tell us about season two?

Welling: Absolutely nothing! Honest! They don't tell us a thing, in case we give it all away to journalists. Seriously, I really don't know much. I can tell you that in this episode, three twisters hit the town, causing massive destruction, which leads to circumstances that change everybody's lives forever. We're going to lose one of the residents of Smallville, but I can't tell you which one. Both Lionel Luthor and Lana are in deadly peril, and Whitney is going off to join the Marines, so it could be any of them.

I've heard that in season two, Clark develops a new ability and that a friend finds out about his special powers, but other than that, I'm as intrigued as the next person to find out what they have in store. There's talk about us exploring the relationships between some of the characters more, you know, Lex's relationship with his father, the relationship between Lana and Clark and Chloe and Clark, and I think we're going to find out a lot more about people's past. But that's it.

Q: What other wishes do you have for the show?

Welling: Just that people keep watching and enjoying the show and keep telling us what they think of it. That we keep improving on the great start we made in season one and make season two even better. I think one of the great things is that we, meaning the cast and crew and writers and producers and everyone else involved in the production, really care about what we put out on screen. We really care about each other and my wish is that that continues for a very long time.

Art of being Tom Welling

Sheep Suck: "I like people who do their own thing. I don't like people who do what other people are doing and don't even know why."

Not Quite "Hanging 10": "I try to surf, but I'm not very good. I tried to teach myself last summer and got better, but I'm by no means a surfer."

East vs West: "Both coasts have their plusses. New York has excitement and an energy that never ceases. In Los Angeles, you can get into your car, drive 2 hours and be in a national forest, or drive 45 minutes and be at the beach."

TV Father Knows Best: "I asked John (his on-camera foster dad) if he could give me one piece of advice, what would it be. And he came to me about 15 minutes later and said, 'Okay, I've got it. The one thing I've narrowed it down to is: Save your money.'"

Outfit By Snookums: "I usually listen to my girlfriend about what to wear. She has a very good sense of style."

Sheep Suck: "I like people who do their own thing. I don't like people who do what other people are doing and don't even know why."

Not Quite "Hanging 10": "I try to surf, but I'm not very good. I tried to teach myself last summer and got better, but I'm by no means a surfer."

East vs West: "Both coasts have their plusses. New York has excitement and an energy that never ceases. In Los Angeles, you can get into your car, drive 2 hours and be in a national forest, or drive 45 minutes and be at the beach."

TV Father Knows Best: "I asked John (his on-camera foster dad) if he could give me one piece of advice, what would it be. And he came to me about 15 minutes later and said, 'Okay, I've got it. The one thing I've narrowed it down to is: Save your money.'"

Outfit By Snookums: "I usually listen to my girlfriend about what to wear. She has a very good sense of style."

Acting was the scariest thing for Tom Welling

Smallville's Tom Welling tells us what it's like to play an adolescent Clark Kent and why becoming an actor was the scariest thing he'd ever done.
The WB: We need to get the really important questions for our viewers out of the way. Are you seeing anyone?
Tom: Yes.

The WB: We hear you are new to this whole acting business. What were you doing before this?
Tom: I kind of fell into modeling. It was fun. I did some print work, some commercial work in New York. I had a great time, but acting is what I want to be doing.

The WB: It seems to be working out. Before Smallville you had guest-starred on a number of episodes of Judging Amy. What was it like to find out you had gotten the lead on a new show?
Tom: It was great! I was really excited.

The WB: How did you find out you'd gotten the role on Smallville?
Tom: Actually, I went to the final screen test and on my way home I stopped at a gas station and I called my manager to tell him how it went, because I don't have a cell phone or anything. So I'm at a pay phone. By the time I called, they had already called him to tell him I had it. And so it was kind of like "Hey, the audition went well!" And he goes, "Yeah, I know. You got it." I didn't believe it at first.

The WB: Is it weird playing the role of Superman?
Tom: Well, oddly enough, it can all be forgotten because, basically, it precludes everything else. There is no Superman at this point.

The WB: In other words, we get to see what it would have been like to sit next to Clark Kent in algebra class, way before he went on to superhero fame?
Tom: Clark is a kid in high school who's got a lot of secrets and he's looking for understanding from the people around him, and trying to find out who he is and what his purpose in life is. The superhuman powers that he does have are just now coming about. He's had his strength since he was a child but as far as the x-ray vision goes, those things are just kind of happening to him. They come and go and he has no control over them.

The WB: So, in addition to acne and his voice cracking, poor Clark would have to worry about sneezing and accidentally blowing down a wall?
Tom: Down the line he'll have some x-ray vision where he won't necessarily be able to see people without their clothes on, but maybe see into their hearts. Or maybe he'll see into their stomachs and see what food they're digesting. It's not always going to be a pleasant thing.

The WB: What's a typical night out for you?
Tom: Dinner at about 8 p.m., home by 10.

The WB: Are you serious?
Tom: Yeah. I guess I'm just a homebody. I go out every once in a while.

The WB: So we're not going to see you in any of the tabloids?
Tom: Probably not.

The WB: You're not going to set fire to any hotel rooms?
Tom: No, I haven't done that for years.

The WB: What's the most adventurous thing you've ever done?
Tom: My move to Los Angeles to become an actor is probably the craziest thing I've done. It probably put me at the most risk in my life - financially, romantically, professionally, everything. It was just a really big step to take.

Tom Welling's second season in ''Smallville''

In the new season of Smallville, Clark Kent has succumbed to the powers of red kryptonite and has turned to the dark side. At the end of last year's explosive season, a guilt-wracked Clark (Tom Welling) donned a mind-altering red Kryptonite ring and hid in Metropolis. In the premiere episode of the new season, Clark has made his home in the big city, leaving behind his grieving parents, friends and the beautiful Lana Lang (Kristin Kreuk). Clark embarks on a one-man crime spree on the streets of Metropolis and quickly captures the attention of underworld boss Morgan Edge (Rutger Hauer). Edge persuades Clark to plan a major score: robbing LuthorCorp.

Back in Smallville, Clark's parents are struggling to make ends meet. Having devoted their savings on a fruitless search for Clark, Martha (Annette O'Toole) and Jonathan (John Schneider) must come to terms with an uncertain future, including the possibility of losing their farm to Lionel Luthor (John Glover). Lana is also experiencing her own share of financial woes, when the profit-driven LuthorCorp takes control of the cash-strapped Talon coffee-house. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor's (Michael Rosenbaum) ill-fated airplane trip has left him stranded on a deserted island, unaware of what has happened to his wife and the pilot. While Lex's friends attend his funeral in Smallville, Lex must contend with a new challenge, in the form of fellow castaway Louis Leery Jr (Ryan Robbins) - a man with secrets that he will fight to protect.

Series star Tom Welling has enjoyed the challenge of portraying Clarke's supernatural powers. "The superhuman powers that he does have are just now coming about. He's had his strength since he was a child. They come and go and he has no control over them." Welling believes that the key to the success of Smallville is the casting of the key characters. "I've got through it all with a bit of faith in myself, a lot of on-the-job training and a lot of help from my cast-mates. We run through lines on a daily basis and give each other ideas and tips and it's a very collective process. It's a great thing to be a part of." While Welling finds the shooting schedule highly demanding, he has taken the pressures of the job in his stride. "I try and take it day by day and just go with it. I'm excited and I think it's a great show, which also takes a little bit of the pressure off."

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