zap2it Tom Welling interview

Tom Welling is getting to return to the roots of "Smallville" as the series' end nears.

The CW will air the two-hour finale of the young-Superman saga's 10-year run Friday, May 13, but the show's star and fans are about to be reminded where it began. The 2001 pilot episode will be repeated Friday (April 8), recalling the literally meteoric arrival of young Kal-El from the planet Krypton, and his rechristening as Clark Kent by Earth parents Jonathan and Martha (John Schneider, Annette O'Toole).

"I've revisited the pilot a few times," Welling tells Zap2it, "sometimes by accident, other times for research, and I'm always amazed how far we've come. I'm 10 years older and 30 lbs. heavier -- I don't know how that happened! -- but I think the pilot still holds up. It doesn't necessarily look dated or out-of-touch.

"David Nutter, who directed it, really had a good sense of what it needed to be," adds Welling. "He executed it fantastically, but I remember thinking, 'Somebody tell me what to do.' I had no idea. Looking back now, I know that David created a warm, safe environment just to explore the character and allow the emotionality of the scenes to blossom, He set the standard for me as I went on to direct."

Welling's sixth "Smallville" episode as a director airs Friday, April 22, as the DC Comics character Blue Beetle (played by Jaden Brandt Bartlett) makes his debut on the show. Behind the scenes, Welling also is an executive producer of the Tuesday CW series "Hellcats," which he's hoping will get a second-season order.

"I think that would be the best idea in the world," he muses. "They don't necessarily tell you before they pick you up, but as of right now, everything is looking as if it's going to go another season ... which is great. That show, to me, is so special. There's such an energy from the cast and from Kevin Murphy, who writes it [and created it]. When I go there, I just feel so proud."

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