Let's hear a bit more about the Tom-love!
James: "And Tom is really cool. Man, if any of you have crushes on Tom Welling, go right ahead... We don't like to believe that beautiful people can have intelligence, but sometimes, they do. And Tom is one of them. He's really very funny, and very intelligent."
Now, some Michael-love!
James: "I've got to say, he's great. I've never know what's going to happen when I look into that guy's eyes. Wow!"
James on the Fine/Lex relationship: "We did two or three scenes together that were designed for me to dominate. Fine wins again. By the end of the second day, Michael was like, 'Oh God!' He was getting frustrated. I remember the same feeling over on Buffy. Whenever they wanted a new character to be really cool, just take him over to Spike and have them beat him up a bit. And I remember thinking, 'Could we come up with a better way to set up these characters that to diss me?' So I was thinking lately, 'Man, the tables have turned and now I'm watching some other guy who has spent years building up a really cool character, and now they are using that to really pump me up.' I was kinda feeling for Michael."
(Gotta say....Those scenes were really hot, though!)
Let's look at a few more phallic symbols!
James has a big map! And Michael's pants...I'm sure that's just an interesting crease...
I feel certain that at some point Michael put this thing in front of his crotch and waggled it.
Offscreen was Michael initially playing a little "hard to get?"
James: "I'm trying to get Lex to play guitar with me - everyone tells me he plays a wicked guitar - but he won't play with me. I think, probably a good instinct because we don't wanna get that friendly because the relationship on screen is NOT friendly at ALL"
But they did make friends! Michael explains that he was a little awed by James:
"You know, I didn't get to work with James that much but when I do, it's amazing, it's electric. People don't know this, but it's very difficult to be a guest star. Imagining coming onto the set of a show that's already successful, where the crew is like a family and everybody works together....So I always try to make the guest star comfortable and say, "Hey, it's OK to mess up." But James, he's been around the block. In our first scene, I'm just kind of having fun, being the dark and brooding Lex Luthor, but as I start doing my lines, I'm like, "Holy shit, this guy knows his stuff inside out." I looked at him and thought, "Oh, you came to play today!" — both of us found each other trying to amp it up. We had lunch a couple of weeks later and James looks at me and says, "Man, I was a little nervous." I was like, "What are you talking about? You were so confident!" He said, "No, honestly, I was a little nervous working with you." Me?! I'm the biggest goofball in the world. It was like two football teams trying to show how strong and tough they are and afterwards going, "Hey let's go get a spritzer!" It was hilarious. I can't wait to see what they have in store for us."
Back to Tom! James describes a typical action scene:
"Like - I hit Clark, Clark flies back thirty feet, gets up, comes over, hits me, I fly back thirty feet, end of fight. You know, it's like total meat and potatoes for Tom and I and then the stunt guys take these wicked gags, you know ratcheted back thirty feet through furniture and stuff and then that's the end."
James found his character's motivation at the end of S5 confusing: "You know, I didn’t know what I was doing to Lex - no one told me until I was actually injecting his arm with the serum and then Mike says “oh, you know what you’re doing to me?” and then he explained it all and I’m like oh “that’s what I’ve been doing for the past three episodes”
In fact at the end of S5, James wasn't happy at all! Here's a slightly condensed version of his rant. James: "What happened on Smallville was I was fat. No, they got me on Smallville thinking they would turn me into a character called Zod and I went into the contract negotiation saying that I don't want to take my shirt off because frankly I was 20 pounds overweight and I didn't want anyone to see my....fat. So, I get on the set and the first scene is like, "ahhhgh" and what they were doing, they wanted to see if they could use me in the plot..they had hired the James Marsters on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. What they got was me twenty pounds overweight. So, it's not their fault they decided to make Lex Luthor Zod. Now, my only problem was they didn't tell me that, so yeah. It's all about abs. Acting ability is a plus. It's WAY second to abdominal muscles."
So Michael ended up playing Zod. "Vessel" makes four references to Fine "preparing" Lex: how gay-porny is that? Not nearly as porny as their deleted scene, as it turns out!
Lubed-up Lex fights his way out of a giant condom....
...While Fine struts around in a black body-stocking!
Michael can barely repress the giggles...I would love to hear what the guys thought of this scene:
A bit more ranting from James: "...if the producers don't tell you what your character wants, then you're reduced from being an actor to a poser. And I could only pose as a tough guy, I could pose as a dangerous guy, I pose as the guy who's gonna mess up Clark's life but I had no idea how I was gonna do that. When I watch acting that's posing, I turn it off. It offends me. And I got through that season and I thought, I can't continue like this. I don't want to criticize them for how they run their show, but I don't really feel that I can fit in to that way of working at all. And so, I left. And to this day I don't know what was going on with Smallville. I was flying some plane in a tie, I have no idea what that was about. I was in a field and a big shadow and I was talking to some girl, I don't remember what her name was? I THINK she was on the show...was she on the show? Good. I mean, she was nice but I had no idea what I wanted from her. And "I'm preparing Lex!" Cut. Over. Go home. So, yeah. I mean they paid me REALLY well, and as a father, that was hard to turn my back on the contract actually. But I just don't think there's a career in posing."
(Hee! Some girl = Lana!) Anyway, Al & Miles must have made their apologies because James returned for S7.
James on how SV should end: "Tom was saying, 'Maybe I put on the cape for the last shot of the whole show. Now he's going off to be Superman.' I said, 'No Tom, what you do is, have a scene between you and your dad where you're putting on the Clark Kent persona, and your dad goes, 'Come on, do your walk, son - no, no, not that walk, not your walk,.'" (as Jonathan Kent) "'There. Act like a nerd. Remember that guy in fourth grade that couldn't walk? Yeah, him. That's better. Now remember that stutter you had back in fourth grade?' 'Oh, Dad, yeah.' 'Do that.' 'No, I can't do that.' 'Yeah, I want you to stutter.' And then the very last shot, he puts on the glasses, picks up the briefcase and walks past the cornfield to the bus stop.' Wouldn't that be cool?"
One more time....what kind of ride is Rosenbaum?
James: "...an E-ticket ride. You hang with Michael, you gotta get on, and be prepared to go 'whoa!' He's never contrary; he's never a pain in the ass or anything like that. He just takes the stage; it's like 'all eyes on Michael'. And it's just gold; it's gold on the set to have someone stirred up like that and getting people woken up and thinking, because the set is grueling and it can put you to sleep after 14 hours, but man, I love working with Michael! We were always laughing....."
When I met James at Collectormania last May, I told him he had been perfectly cast as Brainiac and he immediately launched into praise of Tom's directing skills: "I did three episodes this year....Tom Welling directed one. He's a good director, one of the best they have."
And to conclude....my favourite James-quotes about Tom and Michael:
James: Tom is fabulous; he's a bit smarter than you might expect....Tom's a little dirtier than you might expect, but just as decent as his character, actually. He's a great lead for the show, really a great leader and a very decent person, so the quality of the set is really good.
Tom has a naughty side? Ooh, do tell!
James: I think that Michael's thing and my thing might be kind of similar, which might be why we got along so well. There's a dirty, dangerous prankster down in there, and there's secrets down in there, and you get that naughty fun kind of thing...
Photo credits: Kryptonsite, Devoted to Smallville, oxoniensis, jeannev, tariel22, acampbell