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Welcome to The Torch!
This is the thread with an exposé highlighting each actor from the show!
Fun Fact: The name of the school paper for Smallville High is a reference to the high school paper a young Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster (creators of Superman) worked at, the Glenville High Torch!
This thread will contain spoilers and discuss the series as a whole.
Sam Jones III: The Best Best Friend!
Growing up in Boston, Massachusetts, Sam Jones III acted in local commercials and after spending a summer vacation with a friend living in Los Angeles, he caught the showbiz bug and decided to pursue a career in acting. Soon after he graduated from high school, Jones moved to Hollywood to follow his dream. His first job was a memorable guest-starring role on NYPD Blue. From there, he had an emotionally charged recurring role on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and guest-starred on Judging Amy. He’s stared in films such as “Sigzag” and “Snipes” but his claim to fame is Clark Kent’s best friend, Pete Ross.
Jones was excited to be cast as the first black version of this character and felt honored to be chosen for his acting and that WB was able to see beyond his skin color when they cast him. It was not smooth sailing for everyone, as fans of Pete Ross were very concerned with how the show was depicting long standing Superman characters. However, Jones’ acting ability and the care given to his characters development soon put these fears to bed. It was clear this show would be a new interpretation, giving it the freedom to breath new life into the world of Superman and preventing it from being constrained by cannon. However, 2001 was not that long ago, and all the issues we have a spotlight on surrounding race today, also plagued black Americans then, including Jones. It was not easy being the first black Pete Ross, but in a way, Jones may have helped open the door to changing how characters are expected to look.
Jones left Smallville to film Glory Road, before season 3’s final episode. Behind the scenes, it is said he demanded more story arcs and better material from the producers, who maintain that he did not want to continue on the show and wanted more money. It is unclear exactly what happened but Pete was often sidelined to unsubstantial appearances as other characters began to increase their screen time and importance on the show. Regardless, his exit from the show was heartbreaking. Jones would guest star in season 7 episode 13 Hero for his final appearance on the series in one of the weirder and lower rated episodes involving kryptonite Stride gum and stretching abilities. Say what you will about blatant product placement, but it doesn’t make for a good episode here. Regardless, the acting is phenomenal as usual!
After Smallville, Jones continued to act but began having legal troubles. On October 21, 2009, DEA agents arrested him as part of a conspiracy to deal more than 10,000 pills of oxycodone. Jones was convicted of conspiracy to possess illegal drugs with the intent to distribute. Jones was sentenced to a year in federal prison and three years supervised release. On December 6, 2011, Jones began serving his sentence and was released on October 12, 2012 after serving 10 months. He has since returned to acting and social media to promote his music and other content. Like his character in the show, Jones appears to be a good hearted person with an affinity for getting caught up in some dangerous situations. Hopefully this is all behind him now because we all want to see more of our pal doing well in the future!
Do you have more trivia about Sam Jones III you would like to share? Tell us more in the comments below!
Archived Past Articles:
Tom Welling: Man or Superman
In season 1, we are led to believe our main character of Clark Kent is nothing more than an awkward freshman reduced to a shy bumbling fool around his crush Lana. The reality dear reader is much more…old? Tom Welling was born in Putnam Valley, NY on April 26th 1977, which makes him a whopping 24 years old when portraying our supposed 15 year old freshmen. Fooling no one, the show runners found they couldn’t put Clark in a suit without completely shattering the very thin veil that he was supposed to be a high schooler. In fact the show runners were very keen to get the cast out of high school as fast as possible as each season it became harder to convincingly pass their characters as anything close to teenagers.
Welling has had a very interesting career starting with modeling in 2000 for Tommy Hilfiger, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Calvin Klein. His first major role was in 2001 on 6 episodes of Judging Amy before taking on the role of our favorite farm boy. In 2003 he was apparently not busy enough on the set of Smallville and joined the cast of the movie Cheaper by the Dozen as the oldest son Charlie Baker. When modeling, acting in TV, movies, oh and a music video, simultaneously wasn’t enough, Welling added quite a few directing credits to his name as well. Welling directed 7 episodes of Smallville including S5 E106 Fragile, S6, E120 Hydro, S7 E150 Apocalypse, S8 E173 Injustice, S9 E186 Absolute Justice, Part 2, S10 E205 Patriot and E214 Booster.
Welling appeared in every episode (that’s 217!) of the entire series and is the Guinness World Record holder for portraying Clark Kent for the longest continuous period of time from 2001-2011. When Smallville said “no tights, no flight” they really meant it, Welling is the only live-action Superman to never be seen wearing the full suit. You may think Welling would have been upset about this, that he earned the moment to wear that cape after 10 years but it’s more interesting than that. Welling actually refused the concept to suit up for the series finale, insisting to stick to the show’s initial purpose of no tights, no flight, literally ending the series as Clark, and opening the comic as Superman.
“I said, ‘That’s not our show.’ He’s like, ‘No, it’s going to be great’ and I go, ‘Yeah, but just think about what we’ve been doing. If we just jump into that, we haven’t earned it.”
This position is consistent with Welling’s commitment to Clark as a character instead of Superman. Throughout the show Clark struggles with his destiny and heritage, wanting only to be a normal guy. Unlike his costar Annette O’Toole (Marktha Kent) Welling isn’t a comic book reader, and uses this blind spot of the Superman mythos to his advantage when portraying Clark. Fans on the other hand were not as committed to this and had been eagerly awaiting the moment to finally see our man become Superman. When casting began for Superman Returns (2006) while Smallville was still going strong, fans campaigned to get Welling cast but it wasn’t meant to be. Ironically, Brandon Routh who got the part, had auditioned to play Clark in Smallville! Guess it’s a small world after all.
In 2019, Smallville fans were delighted to see Welling reprise his role as Clark Kent in the Arrowverse: Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event. Stop reading and go watch the clip if you haven’t yet, major spoiler ahead! Taking place on Earth-167 (based on the year show creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar were both born, 1967) we meet a retired Superman living on the family farm enjoying a peaceful life with his wife Lois, their daughters, and no powers other than the uncanny ability to channel Jonathan Kent (John Schneider) and punch out a Luthor. And after 18 years we finally get the answer to Lana’s question from the pilot episode.
“So what are you: man or superman?”
The answer, is yes.
Additional info about Mr. Welling submitted by our reader @Reaganfan78:
Tom Welling is in the movie Draft Day which stars Kevin Costner who played Jonathan Kent in The Man Of Steel.
Between seasons he made Cheaper by The Dozens 1 & 2 starring Steve Martin.
Other movies he was in that I like was Parkland, which was about President Kennedy assassination. He played Secret Service Roy Kellerman who sat in front of Governor Connelly.
Those are my movie facts about him.
Oh and when Smallville was in a final season he produced another show on CW called Hellcats!
~Thank you for your letter to the editor @Reaganfan78!
Do you have more trivia about Tom Welling you would like to share? Tell us more in the comments below!
Michael Rosenbaum: Not the Villain of this Story
Lex Luthor has had many iterations in his long existence from evil scientist to corrupt businessman turned politician, but one thing has always been consistent, he’s the bad guy. So when Smallville instead chose to make him friends with his future arch enemy they had quite the tall order to fill. For one thing, Lex can’t be completely evil out of the gate or else why would our favorite farmboy ever associate with him? But if he’s good enough to be friends with Clark, how could he ever become the villain? And furthermore, what actor could possibly manage to balance the nuance in this character, and more importantly, would he be willing to go bald?
Born July 11th 1972 in Oceanside, NY, Michael Rosenbaum grew up in Newburgh, Indiana as a quick witted but awkward kid, often feeling out of pace with his peers and struggling in school with Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Just like Lex, Rosenbaum had a difficult relationship with his father and his parents’ relationship was tumultuous, divorcing when he was 14. He found his outlet in theater, being a fan of horror films his whole life, and hit his stride at Western Kentucky University studying theatre arts. He was in many independent films in his early career and this training, paired with his own talent positioned him perfectly for the role of Lex Luthor. Lex has lengthy
dialogue monologues and tête-à-têtes with his father Lionel played by the legendary John Glover. Rosenbaum delivers these flawlessly but admits he had to work hard to memorize his lines and often struggled internally with anxiety and self doubt. Rosenbaum was able to deliver a serious performance and stay true to his character and yet be silly and animated off screen with his costars. He and fellow castmates had fun together on set while still working long and difficult hours and to this day he is still close friends with Tom Welling (the focus of last month’s Torch article below). So in our reality their friendship does become the stuff of legends!
Rosenbaum was very happy to be able to reinvent Lex Luthor and give him a sympathetic arc rather than starting off as the predictable foil to the protagonist. In S2 E12 Insurgence, Rosenbaum advocated to change the delivery of his lines to better suit his character. In the scene, Jonathan is losing his cool with Lex and yelling at him. Originally Lex was to yell back at him, leading to a blow out, but Rosenbaum felt it would show Lex’s ability to control situations and display the true hurt he felt by delivering the line calmly and sensitively insead. It ends up being a heartbreaking scene for Lex and once again we can understand, sympathize and even root for him which makes it even more tragic as his character chooses the path of darkness throughout the series.
Rosenbaum played Lex Luthor for 153 episodes and is regarded as the best depiction of the character to date. He has an extensive filmography as an actor in movies, tv and animation in addition to accolades in writing, producing and directing including S6 E125 Freak. He has had a successful voice acting career including his performance as Wally West/Kid Flash and the Flash in Teen Titans and Justice League/Unlimited. Recently he has had success with his Podcast - Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum, where he talks with other actors about their lives, careers, and struggles with issues like mental health, addiction, and divorce. This is Rosenbaum as his most honest and authentic self and it’s where you can see how his real life in many ways has parallelled his character’s, although moving in the opposite direction to a better person, not the evil mastermind of the world. Rosenbaum and his guest stars are candid about their flaws and hangups and the efforts they put into finding their true self. Introspection and dedication to self improvement are core to who Michael Rosenbaum is, and everything Lex Luthor was not. Michael Rosenbaum is an incredibly talented and fascinating individual. He enjoys playing hockey and is a fan of the NY Rangers. He is left handed, Jewish, color blind and his favorite band is Guns N’ Roses. There are so many interesting things about him you can never really feel like you’ve figured him out, and it seems he’s still working on that for himself too.
Do you have more trivia about Michael Rosenbaum you would like to share? Tell us more in the comments below!
Kristin Kreuk: The Super-Girl Next Door
Kristin Kreuk was born December 30, 1982 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Her parents come from a diverse background; her father of Dutch decent born in Vancouver and her mother of diaspora Chinese Jamaican decent (which is a fascinating bit of history you should check out sometime) born in Indonesia. She describes her parents as loving and practical, keeping their daughters involved in various extracurriculars while having clear rules and expectations for them. They were supportive of all her interests and kept their daughters on the go training in; karate, swimming, gymnastics, singing, dancing, and acting through her early years. She is similar to her character in this way since Lana Lang goes on quite the journey from cheerleader to business owner, meteor-infected advocate to faking her own death, and then undercover corporate saboteur to superpowered hero. Lana flirts with the dark side, leading her through all sorts of mayhem and heartache. While Kreuk shares the inquisitive personality with her character, she credits her upbringing for making her the responsible and sound adult she is today.
Kreuk’s first acting role was when she was 18 years old as Laurel Yeung on the show Edgemont in 2000. From here she caught the attention of Smallville creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar and joined the cast while remaining on with Edgemont until 2005. This was her first time on set with professional cast and crew. Kreuk says she felt out of her league and often sought solitude from the stress of production through books and is a lifelong bookworm, another character trait she shares with Lana. She was caught off guard with how quickly she was propelled into the spotlight due to Smallville’s success and describes this time as terrifying. Kreuk would shy away from public appearances and it would be years until she felt comfortable participating in comic cons and reunions. It took her a long time to grow into her fame and feel in control of it, instead of like a kid thrust into the spotlight.
Her favorite moments from the show were the stunts and any time spent riding on horseback. She and her costars were close friends and had fun on set together. Kreuk looks back fondly on her time on Smallville and has since gone on to have a successful career not only acting and voice acting but producing as well. She is currently working on her bachelor’s degree since she gave up going to college after high school to begin her acting career. Kreuk describes herself as boring but it’s clear she is anything but. She cares deeply about her community and looks to give back and support her local businesses especially during the pandemic. Kreuk believes herself to be the girl next door at heart, but in reality, she’s the superwoman we all hope to emulate.
Do you have more trivia about Kristin Kreuk you would like to share? Tell us more in the comments below!
Allison Mack: From Darling To Depraved
All right Smallville fans, this day was bound to come and it’s here. It would be wrong to skip her to shield you from the truth, if you are unaware of current events, we are about to pop your bubble. As Smallville taught us, secrets, a friendship cannot keep. I hope this article does not ruin Smallville for you as it has for some. For better or worse, Chloe Sullivan is an integral character to the show and unfortunately Allison Mack’s real life trials (literally) and tribulations have had major repercussions on the fandom, even years after the show has ended. So brace yourselves, if you thought Chloe’s life was a wild and sometimes tragic ride, I’m sorry to say Ms. Mack’s is not very different, if not worse.
Usually I like to start from the beginning of the actor’s career but in this case we need to address the rhinoceros in the room (no shade to rhinos but this is too pointy a topic for an elephant) and start with current events.
This is your warning, the following article will discuss the NXIVM case as sensitively as possible, however it will mention topics of abuse and violence.
In the summer of 2021 Allison Mack was sentenced to 3 years in prison and a $20,000 fine for her direct involvement in the NXIVM case. NXIVM was a cult disguised as a self-help, professional development and mentorship organization in which Mack was a lead deputy and recruiter. In reality, and this is going to get pretty heavy so proceed with caution, NXIVM was a recruiting platform for a secret society called “DOS” which indoctrinated members with brainwashing, blackmail, starvation, branding, and coerced sexual slavery. Mack knowingly recruited women first into NXIVM, including Smallville costars, and then selected those to advance into DOS. She used blackmail to prevent these women from leaving, hosted and supervised the torturous initiation conditions they underwent, and she was paid for her service.
Ok, let’s take a breather because that was a lot and it should distress you. We’re going to change gears and start with Mack’s early life and career before circling back to today. So literally take a deep breath in…1…2…3…and let it out slow…3…2…1…
Allison Mack was born on July 29th, 1982 in Preetz, Germany where her father, Jonathan Mack, an opera singer, was performing at the time. With her mother Mindy Mack, the family lived in Germany for two years where Allison was in a series of ads and commercials for a German chocolate company. She then modeled and studied at the Young Actors Space in Los Angeles, CA at the age of seven. She would work steadily in TV and film from 1989 on, acting in shows like 7th Heaven and Wilfred, as well as films such as Police Academy 6, Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves, and as a voice actor in films including Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. It’s no secret, she is a fantastic actor with years of experience under her belt before joining the cast of Smallville in 2001. She was nominated for 2 Saturn Awards and won 7 Teen Choice Awards for her role as Chloe Sullivan and from 2003-2006, stared in her own miniseries called “Smallville: Chloe Chronicles” and “Vengeance Chronicles”. In fact, the made for TV character of Chloe became so popular, DC brought her into the world of Superman comics. Despite things going well for her professionally, Mack was feeling lost and unfulfilled and so sought self-help workshops and seminars, leading her to NXIVM.
In 2006, Mack attended a two day NXIVM seminar with co-star Kristin Kreuk. At 23, Mack was “unhappy with her TV acting career” and hoped the group could help “make her a great actor again”. She was looking for a mentor and to supplement her education with business training after, like Kreuk, not being able to attend college due to her filming schedule on Smallville. Kreuk would leave the group shortly there after but Mack quickly became enthralled in the organization and it’s high-ranking members. Mack was invited to additional workshops and private meetings that weekend with these high ranking members. The group intended to use Mack’s acting abilities and celebrity status for their promotional recruitment efforts. This perfect storm of a vulnerable person and predatory organization was just beginning of Mack’s downfall.
By 2010 it appears Mack became involved in the DOS side of NXIVM. Former friends and coworkers claim her demeanor changed completely and she began losing weight and looking sickly. From 2012-2013 the group began losing high ranking members and Mack seems to have stepped into this gap becoming even more entrenched in the decision making and illegal activities of the cult. In 2017 major newspapers began investigating allegations against the group. Victims began to come forward and a documentary on 20/20 aired an exposé on the cult. By spring of 2018 the leader of the cult and Mack were arrested. In 2019 the leader of the cult was convicted in federal court of sex trafficking and racketeering. Since then, five other employees, including Mack, have plead guilty to similar charges. On September 13, 2021 Mack reported to federal prison for three years in addition to a $20,000 fine and 1,000 hours of community service. And that my friends, is the sad story of Allison Mack’s road to ruin.
I wish I could leave you with something more uplifting. I tried to keep my opinions out of this as much as I could but it is a struggle to have conflicting feelings about this and figure out how to express them. Let’s discuss more in the comments, just remember to try to stick to the Community Guidelines and be sensitive to others when discussing this topic.
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