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Tom Welling   ('Superman') Tom Welling ('Superman')
'The New Teen of Steel'

Even at this stage in the TV game, interviews are like kryptonite to 'Smallville' star Tom Welling as he tries his hardest to stay as far away from them as possible! "I'm slowly learning that whether you like it or not, you have to do press to support a project," the actor gently smiles, shrugging his shoulders.

With the brand new box-set of 'Smallville: The Second Season' now out on DVD, we asked Tom a slew of wonderful questions, but started with the obvious one: What's fame like?! "I'm not really into all that fame stuff," he gently, shyly laughs. "I might be into fame one day never say never," he adds though. "But I don't want to be a celebrity for the sake of being a celebrity. I wanna work and then go home and live in private not spend my whole life in front of the camera. You won't see me in the tabloids."

Discussing his role as young Clark Kent on the WB series, he pays mention to the fact that he turned the role down twice! "I imagined myself running around in my underwear," he chuckles. "Then they told me about the no-tights, no-flight policy!"

He may not be wearing the red, yellow and blue yet, but Tom Welling is certainly filling the shoes. "I really didn't know anything about the Superman mythos," admits Tom Welling. "In my mind, that helped. I approached the material only through what was presented to me in the script. And that was it. The WB gave me a book [summarizing the long history of Clark Kent/Superman and the various comic book, TV and film incarnations], but I've not opened it. I know the scripts are not following exactly what's in the comic, just from what everyone has told me, but I made the decision not to research Superman."

Truth be told, 'Smallville' less resembles 'Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman' than it does, say, 'Dawson's Creek'! At heart, it's a teen drama with a Fantasy underpinning not too unlike the early days of another, now-transplanted, WB series, namely 'Roswell'. 'Smallville' is about the relationships," Welling says, putting it simply. "It's a matter of geometry, basically. The relationship with Lex, I think, is the most intriguing because it's just a matter of time before the two of them will turn against each other. Right now they're friends and they're just starting their friendship. We all know how these people will end up in a few years, so it's just a matter of how they get there."

So, is it all fun and games for the great Superman?! "When you take those attributes and put them back into the equation, they almost make Clark's life more difficult," he says. "They create a loneliness. For example, if you could run faster than anyone else, you could rob a bank and no one would ever see you. Clark can do all these great things, but he can't tell anyone or show anyone. That creates a barrier of loneliness for Clark, because he could be the coolest guy in school, he could be the best football player, but he can't go ahead and show anyone what he can really do."

Welling was a 24-year-old whose only significant previous credit was six episodes as Amy Brenneman's younger love interest on the drama 'Judging Amy' prior to this role. "When I walked into the audition for the first time, they said, `No matter what you're thinking, you're never going to wear tights and you're not going to have to have a cape.' So I really didn't have that much time to speculate about it any of what my future was going to be like ... or look like!"

So, what was Welling like in High School? "I wasn't the most popular guy. I was just normal, I guess. My dad told me, you work as hard as you can, and the people who should know what you can do will know."

And, how is Welling taking the days these days? "I'm taking it day by day and just going with the flow. It's different. It's cool as I think I'm getting a handle on it all now," he laughs to himself, his eyes darting up between the floor and mine.

Lastly, what's in store for the Tom Welling's future? "Well, I'm loving this," he says. "I like it up here, and I'm having a great time. So I'm looking forward to a few years of `Smallville'," he smiles one last time.

To read our exclusive DVD review of 'Smallville: Season 2' just click here and be whisked away !

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