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Smallville: Allison Mack talks to Jenna Busch for Newsarama
One more interview with Allison Mack, with the fabulous Jenna Busch for Newsarama.

SMALLVILLE's Chloe on Relationships, New Storylines
By Jenna Busch
posted: 12 February 2010 05:12 pm ET

Allison Mack has been the unsung hero of Smallville from the start. As one of Clark’s best friends and eventual confidant in his big secret, Chloe, she has gone from meek high-school reporter to the brains and direction behind some very powerful folks.

Newsarama got to chat with Mack about her role as Chloe Sullivan ahead of this week’s episode, Warrior,” which marks her second directorial stint on the show.

This week, Clark (Tom Welling) runs into Zatanna (Serinda Swan) at a comic book convention. (Don't you wish you were that lucky at Comic Con?) She tells him about her father's magical copy of the comic, “Warrior Angel”. When a young man named Stephen (Carlo Marks) steals it, he becomes not only a superhero, but catches the attention of our fair Chloe.

Mack spills the beans on the upcoming fight between Chloe and Tess (Cassidy Freeman), what's ahead for her with Oliver (Justin Hartley) and Clark, playing the dark side of her character and whether or not she'd do a cameo on Supernatural. See Twitterverse? We ask your questions!

Newsarama: I'm sure you know how hardcore your fans are on Twitter, but my feed exploded when I said I was doing this interview. You got tons of love sent to both you and your character... including a marriage proposal from Stargate: Universe's David Blue.

Allison Mack: That's very sweet!

Nrama: They really want to know if we're going to be seeing more of Chloe in the second half of the season.

Mack: Oh yeah. My storyline really picks up intensely and I've been working tons. From 'Warrior' the episode with airs tomorrow night on, you'll see much more Chloe.

Nrama: I know you directed this episode. How was that, and how was it different from the experience directing the episode last season?

Mack: It was incredible. The first time I directed I was just sort of thrown in the pool and I was just flailing about, trying to keep my head above water. This one I felt like I knew how to doggy paddle. I'm still not a professional swimmer, but I can definitely keep my head above water long enough to look at what was going on around me. [laughs] so I felt a lot more confident and comfortable in the process, so consequently I was a lot more aware and able to learn, I think, in a place that wasn't quite so fear-based.

Nrama: What can you tell us about the episode? I know Zatanna is back and we get to meet Warrior Angel (Carlo Marks). So what sort of things can you tease?

Mack: It's a very sweet episode. It's an episode that sort of gets back to the traditional 'Smallville' from Seasons 1, 2 and 3, where there's a real love story. There's a real feeling of friendship and caring, and a little magical element to the show. So it's really nice. We've been doing a lot of sort of harder, edgier, very city-based shows for a long time. And this is the first episode in a while where we actually spend some time in Smallville, and we feel the warmth of the core of the show, and what the show is really about, which is the friendship between Clark and all of the people in his life. So it's a very sweet episode and I think it's a really nice return to what the core of the show really is.

Nrama: Everyone wants to know about the romance. Your relationship with Clark and with Oliver. Can you talk a little bit about the relationships and where they're going in the second half of the season?

Mack: Yeah, I mean, in my episode you get to see sort of the start of a spark between Chloe and Oliver. And a decision that she makes that kind of propels her into different kind of relationship with Oliver that you've never really seen Chloe in before. It's really fun and and exciting. I think that there is a big divide between Chloe and Clark at this point. She has some really major secrets that she's keeping from him because she doesn't agree with the way that he is pursuing his heroic career. She thinks that he needs to be a lot more aggressive about his pursuit in saving the world from the Kryptonians. And he disagrees with her more violent way of approaching the saving of the world. So they have a lot that is sort of stopping them from being able to relate in a way that is as symbiotic as the way they were relating previously in their relationship. So you see them struggling a lot more. You see them fighting a lot more. You see them disagreeing a lot more. And you also see Chloe really starting to hide things from Clark in a way that she never had before. So it's interesting. Chloe is developing a much darker side. And starts to become a lot more militant about the things that she feels she needs to accomplish.

Nrama: You mentioned a darker Chloe. Everyone wants to know how you feel about playing a darker Chloe.

Mack: Oh, it's so fun. I mean, I think after nine years of playing the same character, I think that it's really nice when we're all allowed to evolve. And one of the great things about playing the same character for nine years is that you really start to get a sense of the dimension and you really start to feel the filling out of the character. So I think that adding the darkness and adding the deception to that, and the controversy to her character is a really cool exploration for me, because it allows me to really broaden the avenues of expression for Chloe and give her just, more, deeper further roots. More dimension. More dynamics. More diversity. So it's really, really been a fun experience this year to have the opportunity to sort of see what happens when someone doesn't get what they want. What happens when someone is heartbroken for the last time. What happens when someone is really just over the life that she's been leading, and the direction she turns to combat that frustration.

Nrama: In the last episode, Chloe is told that she's spending too much time away from people...is she going to take that advice? And will she return to the Daily Planet at any point?

Mack: I don't see her going back to the Daily Planet, because really her career has turned from journalism to more of a control position in the superhero community. So there wouldn't really be any benefit for her to move to the Daily Planet. And I think that for Chloe, relating to people means getting hurt...in any relationship that she's ever had that has meant anything to her, she's been emotionally destroyed. And so for her, the only safe place is the computer. And she develops a relationship with Oliver, but that relationship is of a different nature than any of her other relationships. And it is very mechanical...so Chloe is getting less and less...she's getting harder and harder as the years go by. It's, I think, a really interesting study on what happens to people who go through devastation.

Nrama: Is Chloe going to be involved in the Checkmate/Amanda Waller (Pam Grier) story? Have you worked with Pam?

Mack: I haven't worked with Pam herself, but I am involved in the storyline. So there are lots of different things that happen between Chloe and Watchtower and Checkmate, but so much of it is done through a screen. I don't actually have the opportunity to play against Pam Grier. Or I haven't yet.

Nrama: You've got some amazing guest stars this season. Everyone wants to know how you feel about the promised return of Annette O'Toole and Michael McKean.

Mack: Oh, I'm thrilled! I'm so pleased! I think it's going to be amazing. I mean, I just think both of them are just incredible people, and the fact that they're going to be around again, on a social level is just absolutely thrilling. And then that's not even touching on the fact that professionally they're incredibly talented. I always learn so much from them. The opportunity to work with them is really, really a huge gift.

Nrama: We're already excited to have them back too! So the man who is playing Warrior Angel this week, Carlo Marks, played your fiancé a while back.

Mack: He did. [laughs] We had a really hard time casting this character. It's a really complicated character because you have to have the youth and enthusiasm of a child, and yet you don't want Chloe to look like an idiot because she's attracted to this guy. So we had to have the hero who has masculine, man-like qualities as well, and it was like five o'clock on Friday and we started shooting on Monday and we still hadn't found anyone, so we started to go through the archives of people who had been on our show before, but hadn't really been hugely prominent. And this young man, his tape was sent to us and we were like, 'Oh my god! He's fantastic!' And he read for us and he was perfect. And so we just decided that, because he was my fiancé, but he was my fiancé in an alternate universe, we thought we could bend the rules. [laughs]

Nrama: Cool casting, actually. I was looking at the clip of you two, and I saw you tell him to put his shirt back on, and I thought that was funny. It was nice with it off. [laughs]

Mack: [laughs] It was! But Chloe is professional, you know? She's trying to maintain a level of integrity as she relates to her hot, hunky superhero clients.

Nrama: Everyone loves to see Chloe kick butt. Are we going to see any more action scenes?

Mack: In fact we do! We just filmed a really intense fight scene between Tess and Chloe that is one of the most brutal fight scenes I think we've ever done on this show. So you definitely see me kicking butt.

Nrama: How cool! Geoff Johns had such lovely things to say about both you and the character of Chloe. How was it working with him and do you want to see Chloe in mainstream comics?

Mack: You know, one of the greatest compliments I received after developing this character with the writing staff...DC Comics actually purchased my likeness. They purchased Chloe. She is a DC Comics character. And the fact that I was adopted into the world of comic books was really quite a cool accomplishment for all of us, I think. I would love to see Chloe involved more in the comics. I think that would be a really amazing testament to the power of our show and what our show has been able to create and do. And the fact that I had the opportunity to create a brand new legend in this character is really quite epic. [laughs] It's nice to know that I'm leaving something behind.

Nrama: I know you have to go, but everyone wants to know if you'd do a Supernatural cameo. Any chance?

Mack: Ah! [laughs] I'd love to work with Jensen (Ackles) and Jared (Padalecki)! That would be great fun!

Smallville airs Fridays at 8/7c on the CW.


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(Deleted comment)
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: February 13th, 2010 12:02 am (UTC) (Link)
I agree that Chloe has had a hand in much of the pain in her life, especially in the past couple of years. I have to admit that makes me less inclined to be sympathetic, but I do still feel for her. I absolutely believe that she's been devastated. Seeking to protect herself from further emotional trauma by trying to control everything is actually a very plausible explanation for her behavior this season, but it doesn't make her actions okay.

There is no question in my mind that Chloe is wrong, and this interview actually makes me feel a little more reassured that TPTB hold that view as well. At least Allison acknowledges that we're seeing a darker side of Chloe. Dark almost always equals wrong and bad in my experience.

I don't begrudge Allison more screen time; she's a gifted actress, and they're presumably paying her a lot of money, so it's silly not to use her. But like you, I do worry how Chloe will be used, and what we'll lose in return. I thought the first ten episodes of S8 were pretty much perfect, and then the season kind of derailed. I don't want to see that happen again.

Both Justin and Allison have been rather cryptic in the way they've described this new relationship, but it sounds like it's not even friends with benefits, it's just two people getting their rocks off with no emotional connection whatsoever. :/ But maybe I'm reading it all wrong. I'm just going to wait and see what happens before I decide what to think.
jeannev From: jeannev Date: February 12th, 2010 11:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmmm, yeah, that ones not a lot better then the last one. Though I think the interviewer is marginally better.

Still, why does it seem like no one can conduct an interview with AM without blowing massive smoke up her ass?

"and what the show is really about, which is the friendship between Clark and all of the people in his life"

I think it might also be about him becoming Superman, but hey, what do I know?

And she develops a relationship with Oliver, but that relationship is of a different nature than any of her other relationships. And it is very mechanical...so Chloe is getting less and less...she's getting harder and harder as the years go by.

Wow, that sounds romantic. So, she's talking fuck buddies, no? Because she sure doesn't seem to be talking about anything on a deeply emotional scale.

I just don't see all this going any place good. Not for Chloe, not for Clark, not for the show.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: February 13th, 2010 12:38 am (UTC) (Link)
I actually like Jenna Busch a lot. Looking back, she did my favorite interviews with Geoff Johns, Erica, and Justin for Absolute Justice.

Yeah, my eye twitched at that friendship line, too. :)

I think fuck buddies is exactly what she's talking about, and I find it rather bizarre that Smallville would go there. What demographic are they shooting for with that move?

All I know is, nothing AM says makes me want to watch. It all sounds kind of awful to me. I'm tired of Clark's "friends" being his worst enemies, and if they want to explore a complex personality with shades of dark and light, how about giving Tess some more screen time? Cassidy is an amazing actress, and I'm riveted every time she's onscreen. And seeing her interact with Clark more would be a dream come true. Their brief scene in AJ positively crackled with electricity!
jeannev From: jeannev Date: February 13th, 2010 12:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Cassiday has been criminially wasted this season. Some great scenes with CB/Zod, but other then that, she's practially non-existent. And they just totally scrapped any meaningful interaction she had with Clark, which is a huge shame, as far as I'm concerned.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: February 13th, 2010 01:01 am (UTC) (Link)
That's so true. The Clark/Tess interaction was one of the few things I loved about the back end of S8. It's been such a huge disappointment not to see that this season. I'm willing to bet Tom and Cassidy miss working together, too.
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 14th, 2010 05:05 am (UTC) (Link)

It's the interviewer Jenna

Guys, I didn't say that line:

Still, why does it seem like no one can conduct an interview with AM without blowing massive smoke up her ass?

"and what the show is really about, which is the friendship between Clark and all of the people in his life"

Just so you know. No smoke blown up anyone's ass
jeannev From: jeannev Date: February 14th, 2010 05:49 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: It's the interviewer Jenna

I wasn't attributing that quoted line to you. At least I didn't mean to. My apologies if anyone took my unstructured response to be suggesting otherwise. I'm pretty sure that everyone knew I was just quoting responses from the interview itself since it is reposted above.

As for blowing smoke, well, when you start the article talking about how Chloe is the "unsung hero from the start" and that "the brains and direction behind some very powerful folks", its laying it on a bit thick.

Its my impression of the excessive gushing that seems to be directed AM's way. YMMV

tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: February 14th, 2010 06:19 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: It's the interviewer Jenna

Thank you so much for the clarification, but please know there was never any question about the attribution of the "friendship" quote.

I'm a hardcore Clark fan, and my comments in response to anything about Smallville will always reflect that bias, but I never meant to show anything but appreciation for the interviews you bring us, or the hard work and talent of those you interview.
miss_tress From: miss_tress Date: February 12th, 2010 11:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
When was reporter Chloe ever "meek"?

Edited at 2010-02-12 11:42 pm (UTC)
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: February 13th, 2010 01:50 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I remember her as being pretty damn feisty, and kick-ass when she needed to be.
(Deleted comment)
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: February 13th, 2010 01:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, I thought this one was much better than the last one. :)
huzzlewhat From: huzzlewhat Date: February 13th, 2010 01:26 am (UTC) (Link)
This one actually makes me feel a lot better. There's a clearer delineation between Chloe's behavior and AM's endorsement of it — saying explicitly that she's going dark and deceptive sounds really good to me. I can relax and enjoy that storyline. It's one that a good actor — which AM is — would certainly relish digging her teeth into.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: February 13th, 2010 01:55 am (UTC) (Link)
There's a clearer delineation between Chloe's behavior and AM's endorsement of it — saying explicitly that she's going dark and deceptive sounds really good to me.

I'm reassured by that as well, although I'm not quite ready to let go of all my fears just yet. This storyline doesn't intrigue me the way she has described it, but I do think Allison is a great actress, so maybe it will be much better than I imagine.
whimsywinx From: whimsywinx Date: February 15th, 2010 12:27 am (UTC) (Link)
How fun would it be to see Allison on Supernatural!
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: February 19th, 2010 09:02 am (UTC) (Link)
I think that would be very cool! It's funny, when Jensen was on Smallville we always wanted to see Allison and him together, just because they're both such good actors (the same way we always wished Chloe had more scenes with Lex), but I can only think of one episode where Jason and Chloe even talked to each other. It would be funny if the show where we finally got to see them act together was Supernatural! :)
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