Smallvilleís Newest Romantic Duo, ALLISON MACK and AARON ASHMORE sit down to share thoughts with Tara DiLullo Bennett about their onscreen romance, their favorite episodes of the season, and what the future holds for these dynamic sleuths-in-the-makingÖ
For six seasons, Chloe Sullivan has been the steadfast best friend, the intrepid reporter, the rejected potential girlfriend and, of late, the trusted keeper of Clark Kent's secret. What Chloe hasnít been over those years is the object of someone's real affection a woman both loved and chosen by her 'Mr. Right.' Finally, her unlucky in love status is a thing of the past as her knight-in-shining-bow-tie arrived in the form of Jimmy Olsen.
While the iconic character will someday be on of the Daily Planetís star photographers and the best buddy of Clark Kent, Smallville's Jimmy Olsen is still a newspaper newbie that reconnects with Chloe at the beginning of season six. It was the first such meeting with the pair since their intimate summer romance two years before, but the sparks were quickly rekindled, and the duo became the one healthy romantic relationship in Smallville.
The year was a big one for both characters, and actors Allison Mack and Aaron Ashmore got to spend a fair amount of time together as their story lines intertwined.
SMALLVILLE MAGAZINE: Allison, what was your reaction when you heard that you would be paired with the iconic Jimmy Olsen?
Allison Mack: I was thrilled! I kind of had an idea it was coming, and I had shared my interest in that storyline with the writers prior to the season starting. I was happy they took me up on it and decided to [go with the] storyline. I was even more thrilled to have Aaron with me.
SVM: Aaron, with fandom so protective of the Superman mythology, were you initially worried about stepping into such a famous role?
Aaron Ashmore: I don't want to say I was worried, but I was aware that this character, the story and the mythology, is huge, and that people would have opinions. Especially with the Internet now, it's really easy for people to communicate and talk about all of this. I knew there would be a lot of feedback one way or another, so I was a little nervous. This is a job I love. I try to do my best and take pride in my work, so I was worried that people wouldn't like the character. But at the same time, thatís no way to live your life and, once you get into it, and you talk to everybody and enjoy yourself, the worries go.
SVM: Jimmy Olsen has been portrayed by a lot of actors over the years, each with their own unique spin. What was the key to playing the character for you?
AA: You take the Jimmy that's on the page and you reinterpret it. My interpretation is that he's a little self-conscious and hasn't quite found himself yet. At the same time, he knows what he wants and he goes for it. He doesn't think to much about consequences, and I think that's interesting. He doesnít quite know who he is, but he does know what he wants. In a way heís very instinctual, and thatís fun to play. I think that he's definitely starting to find more of where he fits into, [both with his] job and his relationship with Chloe.
Jimmy has been very [insecure about] the relationship between Chloe and Clark. As much as that may always be there for him, I think he's going to [become more] confident in himself and his relationship with Chloe. Up until now, Jimmy [has been] self-conscious about their relationship, and it has held him back from opening up and becoming close friends [with Clark].
SVM: Have you added any kind of personal spin to your performance as Jimmy?
AA: There hasn't been anything specific. The one thing I wanted to get across with Jimmy is that heís a normal guy. I want to make sure people can relate to him.
SVM: What do you think Chloe and Jimmy bring out in one another?
AA: I think there is a real sweet quality to both Chloe and Jimmy. It comes out even more when they are together. It's brought more of a normal relationship [to Smallville. They have the most normal and most conventional relationship, even though incredible things are going on around them. It allows them to have a sweet, normal relationship in a world that is extraordinary.
AM: I think he softens her. Their relationship allows her to explore her femininity, feel pretty and loved and adored. I think it's a really lovely thing for Chloe because she's always been one of the guys, so she hasn't gotten that response from men before; sometimes from the freaks of the week and stuff, but not from a guy that has really been worth her time. Her relationship with Jimmy provides her with a beautiful opportunity to feel loved by a really great guy, and I think that's something every woman needs to feel. I also love that they are allowing her to be adored because I think itís important to show that the smart girl gets the guy too [laughs]!
SVM: Do you think that Jimmy finally brings balance for Chloe when her life has been nothing but weird?
AM: Absolutely. I definitely think that's what this relationship provides for her. We are also a breath of fresh air and comic relief for the show. We create that sense of cute normalcy. Itís a great example of two people enjoying each other without any manipulation going on.
SVM: How has it been for the two of you working with one another?
AA: It's been very cool. The best thing that could have happened in that Allison is really sweet and we get along really well. That's the most important thing when you are trying to make [a romance] believable, that you actually like the person. Working with Allison is great. She has been playing Chloe for some time so she knows exactly where she's going and where she's at. She brings a lot to the character, which automatically allows you to be better. When the person you are playing off of is doing great work, you do your best, too. When I am acting with her it's awesome. Sometimes when I watch some of the [scenes] back, I'm amazed by the nuances and the little things she brings to the character. Itís a treat, not just acting the scene, but watching it back as well.
SVM: Crimson was a pivotal episode for Chloe and Jimmy.
AM: The Clark, Chloe and Jimmy storyline came out of something that the writers and I had come up with. I thought it would be interesting, and the writers agreed, to show the sacrifices that Chloe needed to make in keeping Clark's secret. He makes sacrifices in his life and relationships, but anyone who knows his secret really needs to make sacrifices as well. It was really great and exemplified in the fact that she couldn't explain her loyalty to Clark and her behavior, even with the threat of Jimmy leaving her.
AA: Crimson was my favorite Jimmy episode. There was some real character development there, and it showed more of his character in that he does what he feels, and it really came through. As much as it was sad that they broke up, I think it needed to happen. I asked Allison when we were doing that scene: 'Jimmy thinks that she is still in love with Clark. Is she?' She didn't say yes or no, but it was the more interesting question of 'What is it?' There's a lot going on with the back-story between them, and that whole breakup scene brought up a really fun question. There was a whole lot of truth in that, and I enjoyed the episode.
SVM: So, has their breakup finally put the Clark/Chloe romance to rest?
AM: Absolutely. It was a good finalizing moment for Clark and Chloe. I was tired of pining. It started to make her look pathetic, and thatís not something I ever thought Chloe was. I was really happy when that storyline was finished and allowed her to move on as much she can while still being loyal to Clark.
SVM: Freak was such a revolutionary episode for Chloe. Did you know that Chloe would find out she has powers?
AM: I was so excited! I had no idea it was something they were planning to do with my character. When I found it out, I was thrilled. Itís like giving an actor a big piece of candy. It's a great storyline that I can chew on and enjoy, and itís something totally new and different that I never played on the show, which is really challenging.
AA: The one episode that I was really, really impressed by Allison's work was [i]Freak. I wasn't in a lot of scenes with her, but I was on set some of the days that she was doing her emotional scenes. It was pretty intense. The set was totally quiet, and that feeling was really powerful. It offers a different perspective to watch those scenes edited together, and I think she did a terrific job. She nailed it.
SVM: In Progeny, we finally get to meet Chloe's mother - and she's Lynda Carter! How was it working with TV's Wonder Woman?
AM: First, I was thrilled that they were developing my character in such a strong way, and that it explained more about my background and where I come from and why I am the way I am. And then when I saw they cast Lynda Carter, I was like, 'Cool! Does that mean I'm kind of like Wonder Woman? [Laughs]. Lynda was lovely to work with, and it was a fun episode. It was a great experience all around.
SVM: Noir has the fantastic '40's style dream sequence for you and Jimmy. Was this a particularly fun episode for you two?
AM: My favorite episode of the season is Noir. From what I understand, Noir was inspired by a photo shoot that Aaron and I did together for the promos. We were both dressed in 1940's gear. Aaron was in a sweater vest and a bow tie and I was in a pencil skirt and a button up blouse, and that inspired them to write the flashback episode. When we got the script, they had us each rent different movies; they assigned us different films and actors to watch. They had me look at Katherine Hepburn in Philadelphia Story and Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday. They wanted me to go along those lines, which was so much fun because they are my idols. It was fun for me to know that that's who they were patterning me after, and then the excuse to have an old movie marathon was even more fun. They had Aaron watch Humphrey Bogart. Aaron's such a great actor. I think my favorite thing that I have ever seen him do was in Noir. I didn't even have that many scenes with him, but I was standing behind the monitors and watching him work with Tom and John doing his Bogey thing. He was sexy and very good. I was highly impressed. I also like that it left the relationship in a great place and that they are madly in love. Jimmy's now off on assignment and Chloe is missing him like crazy.
SVM: Allison did they tell you before Phantom what your dormant power was going to be?
AM: I had no idea! I was walking around with all my friends going, 'Well, I could be this, or I could be that!Ē Itís funny because I scheduled a lunch with Al and Miles to share my ideas with them and get their ideas back. They told me their idea before I even opened my mouth and I was like, Fabulous! We're on the same page.' It was ideal. [Her power] is exactly what I wanted. I wanted her to have the ability to heal. I thought that would be really, really cool.
SVM: What are you looking forward to most about next season?
AA: My job is to be Allison Mack's boyfriend on a TV show. People would kill for that job, and Iím lucky enough to have it! Another exciting thing for me would be the development of my friendship with Clark. A lot of fans are asking, ďWhy aren't Jimmy and Clark really good friends yet? But I think it's more interesting to see it play out more realistically. I have best friends now that when I was getting to know them, we didn't get along that well. Certain things have to happen for a real bond to take place, and I think it's more realistic to show that slow progression.
AM: For me, the most exciting thing is the superpower. Discovering that she has this ability is awesome. It's such an amazing revelation, and I think that it's the most exciting thing I'm looking forward to exploring next season; what it means and how it affects a person like her. I'm thrilled to start the next season, and I'm really looking forward to how they pull it off.