Aaron Ashmore on Becoming Smallville's Jimmy Olsen

The new cast addition to Smallville discusses playing the famous photographer in the upcoming sixth season.

      Smallville will be introducing an important part of the Superman mythos this coming season, as the only member of Clark Kent's core supporting cast we haven't yet met, Jimmy Olsen, is brought into the show for the first time. Playing Jimmy will be Aaron Ashmore, an actor who has previously had notable recurring roles on Missing and on Veronica Mars, where he played Veronica's not so noble former boyfriend, Troy. An interesting side note to his joining Smallville is that Ashmore's twin brother Shawn (Iceman in the X-Men films) has previously appeared twice on the series, as Clark Kent's nemesis Eric Summers.

      Recently I had a chance to speak to Aaron Ashmore for an exclusive chat with IGN TV about his new role as the famous Daily Planet photographer. The actor discussed what Jimmy's backstory is on the series, the advice his brother gave him about entering the superhero/fantasy realm, and the strange connection between the role of Jimmy Olsen and Veronica Mars.

      IGN TV: So how does it feel to be the new Jimmy Olsen?

      Aaron Ashmore:
It feels amazing. I mean it's still sinking in, you know? It's pretty exciting for me.

      IGN TV: How did this all come about?

      Ashmore: I auditioned for it and I put myself on tape. I hadn't heard anything, and a couple of weeks later, all of the sudden, I got the call saying, "You're going to Vancouver to start shooting Smallville." It's a dream come true, really.

      IGN TV: Will you be sporting the Jimmy Olsen bow tie or no bow tie?

      Ashmore: No bow tie. As much as I think we're trying to stick with the mythology of what the character is, and stuff like that, I think we're also… You've got to bring your own thing to it as well, and make it fit in the Smallville world. It's kind of a fine balance, and hopefully we'll find it.

      IGN TV: How old is Jimmy in relation to the other characters?

      Ashmore: They're peers. They're all the same age.

      IGN TV: We've heard he has a history with Chloe. Is that true?

      Ashmore: Yeah. A couple of years ago, they interned [together] at the Daily Planet one summer. And they kind of hooked up, but didn't really keep in contact, but now they're reconnecting. So we'll see where it goes from there.

      IGN TV: Especially since Chloe and Clark kissed at the end of last season…

      Ashmore: I know, yeah!

      IGN TV: So are you going to be involved in a love triangle with Chloe and Clark Kent?

      Ashmore: That I don't know, but it's a possibility, yeah.

      IGN TV: Is Clark ever going to look at you and say, "I fought a guy who looked a lot like you!"?

      Ashmore: I don't think so. My brother and I, we look similar, but we really do play very differently -- have different energies and stuff -- and I think people will make that connection, but I think after we get into it, it's not going to be a big deal.

      IGN TV: Did your brother give you any advice, just as far as having worked on the show and with the crew?

      Ashmore: Well, just in general, with doing a lot of the superhero stuff and a lot of fantasy stuff, he just said have fun with it, but you gotta remember to keep it real, and to keep it grounded, because that's what makes it so great, and what people really love about it. It has all these fantasy aspects, but you really have got to keep the reality. And that's basically what he told me, because I've never really done any of the sci-fi or fantasy stuff, so it's kind of new to me. It's fun!

      IGN TV: So why do you think it is that both you and Sam Huntington [from Superman Returns] , the latest two Jimmy Olsen's, were on Veronica Mars first?

      Ashmore: I don't know! It's like a really small world, you know what I mean? I thought he was great in it, and when he heard I got the part, he was rooting for me too. It's neat that we both get to do it!

      IGN TV: Do you know each other pretty well?

      Ashmore: Yeah. Well, we met on Veronica Mars, but my roommate actually wrote Superman Returns, so Sam was hanging out with me and stuff like that. So there's that connection too. It's really weird. It's a small world when you get down to it.

      IGN TV: Is it strange to play such an iconic character?

      Ashmore: It is, but it's exciting. It's one of those things where you know that people are going to have expectations, but it makes you really want to go out there and give your best and do your best. So I think it's great.

      IGN TV: Have you started filming yet?

      Ashmore: Yes, we did. Last Monday was my first day. Just a little introduction type of thing.

      IGN TV: How was it last season to get to go back and visit Veronica Mars again?

      Ashmore: Awesome… super cool. I love that character, and I love the show. I'm a fan of it myself, so to get to go back and do a little bit was just a dream.

      IGN TV: Do you think we'll get to see him again? Troy and Veronica seem on friendlier terms now.

      Ashmore: That I don't know. If they wanted me to come back, I would love to come back, but who knows? We'll see.

      IGN TV: Well, you're in The CW family now with Smallville.

      Ashmore: Exactly. You never know.

      IGN TV: There were rumors your brother almost played Jimmy Olsen in Superman Returns.

      Ashmore: Yeah, he actually got offered the part. But because of X-Men 3, with conflicting stuff, he did X-Men [instead].

      IGN TV: So when Jimmy Olson was a potential role for you, did you call him up and say, "You'll never guess what I'm trying out for?"

      Ashmore: No, not so much. I didn't make a big deal out of it. As it was happening, I thought it was a really cool role, but I try not to make a big deal out of auditions, because then you get disappointed when you don't get stuff. So I just did it, and then I got it, and that was a big surprise. And that's when I told him. I was like, "Dude, I got it!"



Eric Goldman / IGN.com