Tom Welling Brings Cheerleaders to The CW
The Smallville star talks about producing the new series Hellcats.
July 30, 2010
by Eric Goldman
The new CW series Hellcats will get attention thanks to a cast of young, attractive people in cheerleading outfits, but one of the executive producers has plenty of swooning fans as well - as it's none other than Tom Welling, the star of Smallville. Appearing to promote the series at the TCA (Television Critics Association) press tour this week, Welling admitted already having a show on The CW didn't hurt when it came to developing the series.
Said Welling, "I think that when this project started coming together, we knew that this was going to be a perfect fit for The CW, and I know that there were some relationships that I had at The CW. If it wasn't for "Smallville," I wouldn't have had those relationships. So I was able to go to them and speak to them very easily, with sort of an open environment. It really came together quickly, and here we are."
Welling noted that it's been easy for him to keep an eye on Hellcats while filming Smallville, because they film "10 minutes away" from each other in Vancouver. "That's a huge benefit. We have a fantastic crew on both shows, and everybody kind of understands what's going on. And so I'm doing everything I can and at the same time, with a lot of support from both shows to facilitate what each needs from me."
Hellcats stars Aly Michalka as Marti, a pre-law student who turns to cheerleading for financial reasons, needing the scholarship. Executive producer Kevin Murphy said they knew making Marti pre-law was, "a significant thing in the show because Marti is really trying to balance something that is viewed by the people that surround her as frivolous."
Murphy noted that one upcoming episode would deal with Marti being asked to take part in a "cheesecake calendar" with the other cheerleaders, and thinking how eventually, "I could be before a judge who owns one of these calendars. These things could go online." Said Murphy, "That's a real dilemma for someone who wants to have a further career. Something that you do because it seems like a cool lark when you are 21 years old can still be out there in the Internet haunting you when you are 35."
Michalka promised that on Hellcats, "We are going to show the real side of these people and these characters. Cheerleading is bad-ass. These people are athletic. These people work out like crazy. These people are trustworthy people because they are there to catch you when you are up in the air, flying. They are there to have your back."
Welling praised Michalka, co-star Ashley Tisdale and the rest of the cast, noting that when it came to the physical aspect of the show, "When we were casting, that was a huge component. Not only did you have to act and look the part, but then you had to audition through a dance number. These girls, they came out, and they nailed it. So we were really looking for a lot from actors on the performance side."
One reporter asked Welling what brought him to produce Hellcats, asking if he "felt particularly passionate about cheerleaders." Joked Tisdale, "He wanted to be surrounded by cheerleaders."
Welling smiled and then explained, "This project was based on a book called Cheer, and through that book we were able to understand that there was a whole world here that hadn't been tapped into. And then, along with Kevin -- who's able to go in and really bring it to life and create this universe for these characters -- I just thought of it as a great story. I think there's a lot of heart. I think there's a lot of struggle from all the characters, especially our lead. And it's sort of that journey of her finding her identity and what she's going to do with her life. I found that interesting."
Smallville: The Secrets of Season 10
Brainiac (5!), Supergirl and much more are discussed, as the producers of Smallville tell us what's to come.
July 30, 2010
by Eric Goldman
This week, at the TCA (Television Critics Association) press tour, I was among a group of reporters who spoke to Smallville executive producers/showrunners Brian Peterson and Kelly Souders – and they had plenty to reveal about the tenth and final season. Read on to find out what's to come for Clark, Lois, Chloe, Supergirl, Brainiac and much more.
•Regarding the series finale, Peterson said, "Our hopes are through the roof, as you can imagine. So even if we get 50 percent of it, it will be amazing. But it's hard to say what's in and not, because it will really come down to so many decisions in that last month or so. We know the story, it's just how many of the people are going to be available and coming back.
•Yes, James Marsters is back as Brainiac, but this time it's as Brainiac 5. When I asked if this meant if we'd see the softer side of Brainiac, Peterson replied, "Well, you never know. Brainiac is a very, very mysterious man." Added Souders, "It makes him fun to write."
•There is at least one more unannounced returning character, but Peterson and Souders said they didn't want to jinx it by saying who it was until their deal was closed. As Peterson put it, "I think it's someone the fans would love to see back, but it's not one of the people that's on everybody's radar."
•Could Lex Luthor have survived via cloning? Peterson referenced the footage shown at Comic-Con from Season 10, saying, "Well, we gave a peak of some footage at the premiere, which will line up with certain versions of the mythology, if people really look. And all that we've been able to say is that Lex always had a back-up plan."
•The return of Kara (Laura Vandervoort) begins shooting today (Friday). Said Souders, "We're quite excited. You'll see a little bit more Supergirl than Kara in this episode. That's why [the episode is] called "Supergirl". And the thing is, when she comes in she is going to kind of shake up the world for all of our superheroes." They wouldn't say if that meant things would be shaken up in a good way or bad way, but Peterson noted, "It sends them in a very different direction."
•Will Kara help influence her cousin in how he dresses? Say, maybe adding some red and blue to his superhero suit? "She might," replied Souders. "She's a fashion girl. She's knows how to accessorize." And will she teach Clark, finally, to fly? Said Peterson with a grin, "Well, funny you should ask that. That's all I'm gonna say. Funny you should ask that."
•As to how much we might see Chloe in Season 10, now that Allison Mack is no longer a series regular, Peterson promised she'd be in "several episodes." Besides the season premiere, Souders noted Chloe will be, "in the middle of the season for a while. Allison is great. She loves her fans so much, she loves the character of Chloe. We love her. So [she'll be back] as much as her schedule permits, with all the things she is doing. You know we love to have her back as much as we can."
•As for the popular Chloe and Oliver pairing, Souders said, "Let's face it, the two of them on screen together, there's always going to be chemistry. There's no way we could even write it out if we wanted to. So I think people will be excited to see how their relationship evolves." In the meantime, the producers had previously revealed Chloe will be believed to be dead early in the season. Would Oliver "give up" on hunting for her? Said Peterson, "That's so hard because, because hunting may never be a good thing, so he's gotta weigh that decision." Added Souders, "Let's say giving up is maybe not quite the way he would look at it. Letting go might have to be a part of his scenario."
•It's unclear if we'll see more of Mia, AKA Speedy. As Peterson explained, "You know what, we would love to bring her back. I was saying at Comic Con that we really wanted to close off her story with a couple more episodes and literally we had so much to fit into last season, we had a couple of thoughts that didn't really come quite to fruition. We would love to bring her back this season if we can."
•Now that Lois knows Clark is The Blur, Peterson says that could be difficult for Lois. "What's fun is that Clark has been raised keeping secrets. Lois, not so much. And so watching Lois try to keep this amazing secret is going to be a fascinating struggle of will."
•As for Clark's specific storyline, Souders notes, "He comes out of the premiere with a pretty big twist, that sort of rocks his world and sends him in a different trajectory. I don't know that it's something that people are going to see coming. And I think that it's going to propel him out of the first episode with a very clear problem in his lap. He realizes that he's not the guy that everybody looks to when they think of Superman as an inspirational, totally pure hearted guy. That's not who Clark Kent is right now and that becomes very clear to him in the premiere." Peterson said Clark's final trajectory, "is very messy."
•I asked the producers about the issue of Clark Kent's secret identity and the fact that he hasn't worn glasses regularly during the series, thus making it more difficult to introduce that aspect of his dual identity and how it convinces others that he's two different people. Said Souders, "Just watch the 200th episode. You get a little bit of a glimpse as to how that gets pulled off."
•Peterson said they didn't feel beholden to following the exact lore from the comics, such as when Lois learned Clark is Superman, remarking, "We kind of feel like we've already created our own new vector off of the mythology, just like a lot of the movies have and a lot of the graphic novels have. We're sticking pretty true to our own mythology, but I think they're some twists along the way that will make fans of the original comic and graphic novels really happy."