"And those are my legs, by the way! I read some very derogatory things – 'Those couldn't be her legs, because they're too young!' Well, they were my legs, a**holes! [Laughs]. In fact, I did the scene and Glen Winter, the DP, said, 'Oh, nice gams, Annette!'"
LOL! I love her! They sound like they're open to coming back in S10. Are you listening, Smallville?
Smallville: Perry and Martha's Excellent Adventure
Michael McKean and Annette O'Toole talk about their long-awaited return to the series.
by Eric Goldman
May 6, 2010 - Two important characters in the Superman mythos are returning to Smallville this week, as Clark Kent welcomes Martha Kent and Perry White. This week's episode, "Hostage", marks the return of Annette O'Toole as Martha, a role she played through the first six seasons of the series. Accompanying her is Michael McKean, who will finally be reprising his popular role as Perry White, which he originated in the Season 3 episode "Perry", but hasn't played since.
The real life married couple of O'Toole and McKean will also be paired on screen this time, as Clark discovers Martha has been dating none other than Perry, adding another layer to the interaction between the three of them and Lois Lane.
I spoke to McKean and O'Toole to get their perspective on their return to Smallville, what fans can expect from "Hostage" and whether or not we might see them on the series again, as Smallville heads towards Season 10.
IGN TV: Fans have wanted to see both of you back on the show for awhile. Was there a lot of conversation about it, or did it come together pretty quickly?
Annette O'Toole: It came together pretty quickly. They had to know a bit ahead of time, so they could prepare and know that we were really coming and write it. They had talked to me a little bit about it through the years. I knew there was a little bit of interest and then [showrunners] Kelly [Souders] and Brian [Peterson] called me and kind of laid out what they wanted to do and after some hemming and hawing and going back and forth, I said, "Okay!" Then they wanted to bring Michael in too, which was icing on the cake.
We had the best time and I think they did such a good job writing the episode, because there's a lot of depth. Things are really dealt with, not just glossed over. It's not just business as usual. We go into some detail about what's been going on and then there's a lot of great action stuff too. And the great Perry White and Lois Lane get to start their relationship, which is fun to watch.
IGN: What did you think when you found out Perry and Martha were going to be a couple?
Michael McKean: It was interesting. We both had the feeling that it was sort of a way to get us both on board. But it's really as much about Martha not quite being ready for a real, serious relationship and Perry is. Perry wants something steady like this. He's been married three times before. We don't know much about them, but if you ask me, they were three big mistakes. So he's looking for something a little more substantial this time and Martha certainly is that. A farm wife, no matter how educated, is not necessarily going to run off and be a United States senator. You've got to be married to Sonny Bono for that to happen. She's an amazing character, she really is, especially the way Annette has played her.
O'Toole: Oh, thank you!
McKean: And the way they've developed her over the years, she's not just the woman taking the muffins out of the oven.
O'Toole: Well, mostly I was. [Laughs]
McKean: [Laughs] But she's also turned out to be something a lot more substantial.
IGN: Annette, you were on the show for several years, but in the time you've been gone there have cast changes and Clark's gone through quite a bit. What was it like to return to the show, after that time had passed?
O'Toole: It was great. It felt like getting back on the bicycle. It kind of felt like I was never gone, except that I really got to work hard. I was in every scene, all day long, until the last day, when Michael took over and was in all the night work – which I thank god I didn't have to do. I got to go take a hot bath. I actually went to the movies that day! And I haven't been following the show. It was kind of painful for me to keep up with it. I just felt like it wasn't mine anymore. They don't need me. I'm gone. And I was doing a lot of work in the theater, which you do at night, so I didn't have time to watch. But it was great. They were just so kind to me and loving and it was really great to go back and really be a part of the actual storyline. It was wonderful.
IGN: What do Martha and Perry make of Lois Lane during this trip? For Martha, this is the woman her son is now with, and for Perry, this will come to be a famous relationship.
O'Toole: Well, Martha's always loved Lois. Always. And I think in a way, it's kind of like, well, it's about time for you to be with someone who's smart and funny and has a lot of energy and kind of a skewed view of things. Because Lois worked for Martha for awhile and then they got close and I think Martha feels a connection with her. I think she really likes her for Clark.
McKean: Perry's pretty impressed [by Lois]. He actually says that he's read some of her stuff and thinks, "Eh, that's not bad! It's good." But he's also much more turned on when it turns out the two of them are working on separate stories that are kind of dovetailing into one. It's the Woodward and Bernstein moment, which I think is kind of important. We've all had that experience, where you meet somebody and you're kind of getting along okay and then all of the sudden, you find out that you're both fans of Bad Religion or an obscure punk band or something, and then you've got a lot to talk about.
IGN: [Laughs] I would love if Perry and Lois were both fans of Bad Religion, by the way.
McKean: [Laughs] No, I don't think so. I think Perry's more of a Sinatra guy. Lois is probably into Green Day.
IGN: Does Martha get to talk with Clark about where he's at as far as his rise as a superhero is going?
O'Toole: Yes, we have some real heart to hearts. You know, you shoot these things and you never know if they're going to be in the show or if they're going to be cut or how they're going to skew it. It's hard to know. But we really talk about things. I love it when we do that on the show, because it's great. You can feel for these characters the way you would for any other character. The actors have to believe they're real and we're not in a comic book, so I like those scenes a lot.
[Editor's Note: I'm going to put a Spoiler Warning here that only applies to the very next question and answer, as it delves into some material from the preview for "Hostage", which some fans may have purposely avoided. Skip to the question below if you want to avoid a bit more info on this week's episode.]
IGN: Okay Annette, you probably have to dance around this one, but the commercials for this episode show Martha looking pretty tough and wearing some red clothing, which has some fans talking.
O'Toole: Well, I do wear red clothing! That's all I can say. And I loved that jacket. That coat was really neat. And those are my legs, by the way! I read some very derogatory things – "Those couldn't be her legs, because they're too young!" Well, they were my legs, a**holes! [Laughs]. In fact, I did the scene and Glen Winter, the DP, said, "Oh, nice gams, Annette!" But no, you're right, I can say no more. We've been sworn to be coy, which we don't like to ever be. But we'll just leave it at that. I get to wear red.
IGN: Would you both be open to more appearances, perhaps including a longer stay at some point?
McKean: Well, we're not really in that business. We're not in charge of that. When they know what Season 10 is like and if their plans might involve us, they'll let us know. But for now, we just went up and did this one episode and had a great time – a great couple of weeks. My only really bad moment was when I saw Tom [Welling] again and realized he had not aged a single day. I think it's the Kryptonian blood.
O'Toole: Yeah, it is.
McKean: There's a natural preservative in it or something. But we really had a great time. We spent a lot of time up in Vancouver – Annette mostly, of course, but I came up there too and it's a really lovely city, as long as there's not a hockey strike. A hockey strike and everyone is ready to murder one another. But other than that, it's one of the friendliest cities I've ever been in.
O'Toole: Yeah, it was really beautiful. We were very lucky.
McKean: We're eager to see what comes of this. But by the same token, if it was just this shot, then that was a lot of fun and we're glad we did it.
Smallville: "Hostage" airs Friday, May 7th at 8:00pm on The CW.