Justin Hartley Interview – SMALLVILLE

     August 20, 2008

If you’re a fan of “Smallville,” you must be looking forward to the upcoming season. The reason is…unlike the last few years, which had a lot of forced situations between Lex, Clark and Lana, this upcoming season is finally free from having to tell that tired storyline again and again.

The reason is due to Kristin Kreuk (Lana Lang) and Michael Rosenbaum (Lex Luthor) leaving the show last season. What that means is…we’re finally going to get new storylines and situations for all the characters. No more watching a scheming Lex try to figure out what should’ve been deduced long ago. And as a fan of “Smallville,” I couldn’t be more excited.

Now please don’t think I had anything against either Michael Rosenbaum or Kristin Kreuk, as I think they were both great on the show. But you can only tell the same storyline so many times before it gets stale. And their story should’ve ended 3 seasons ago.

Thankfully, the new show runners realize watching Clark fight alongside other superheroes is what fans love….so they’ve brought back Justin Hartley as Green Arrow for season 8. As you can read below, Justin talks about what’s in store for this upcoming season and he also reminisces about the pilot he shot for “Aquaman.”

Note: this interview was done in roundtable form at this year’s Comic-Con

Question: Are you having fun?

Justin Hartley: I love it here. It’s great.

Okay, so you’ve been on the show obviously for a little while.

Justin Hartley: Yup.

Are you going to be…how much are you on the show this upcoming season?

Justin Hartley: I am…well I’m a series regular so I’ll be on at least…I think I’ll do a little more than half at least, you know? I I did the premiere and I’m doing episode 3. I’m doing episode, I think 5 and 7 and I’ll be around for the whole year, so it could be fun.

How is that to not be…because Tom works every episode like every scene.

Justin Hartley: Yeah.

But you’re like in and out say how many episodes. How is that as an actor to be…how is that?

Justin Hartley: The way they shoot the show it’s not….whether or not you’re in every scene there’s really not a lot of time off. My scenes are so big especially with the Green Arrow stuff, you know? There’s a lot to be done. Just a simple shot with the arrow is hours, literally, so there’s not a lot of time but I’ll tell you what, it’s good to be there for the whole year because I think there’s a lot of deeper storylines that they maybe couldn’t have gotten into before. But now that I’m going to be around all year maybe they can get into them, you know? So that’s fun. It’s also good for Tom because he gets a day off here and there. So that guy loves me because he knows when I show up he knows that he’s got like maybe one day off, you know what I mean? So he can like relax. The man works so much.

Do you enjoy the stunt work on the show?

Um-hum. I love the stunt work. I’ve got a great stunt guy and I know I’m not supposed to say that but I don’t care. It’s true. He’s really good, but here the cool thing about him, he doesn’t seem to have a big ego so he would rather show me how to do it safely than do it for me and be the hero. So he’s like, okay here’s what you do. And I’m down with it. I’m like I’ll do that. But then he’s also really smart, really good and so is our stunt coordinator and they know there are certain things that I probably could do, but they’re not going to let me get pulled across the room into a wall and slide down and bang because—not that they care about me—it’s just that if I get hurt then they can’t shoot. So certain things that they won’t let me do because of them, but most of the stuff I do myself. My stunt guy just tells me how to do it and I do it.

What’s the scariest thing you’ve done?

Justin: The scariest stunt I’ve done?


Justin: Gosh. You know what? The squibs for me are kind of scary. The squibs when you get shot or something and it blows up because that’s a real…they tell you all about it. They go that’s a real load. It’s a real…it’s just minus the bullet basically is what it is. But they put the steel on you and everything. There is a point where like they count it down and you know that you’re…I had the benefit of having glasses on and a hood the first time I got squibbed on “Smallville” so you couldn’t see the absolute horror in my eyes. It was the first time in my life I’d ever been squibbed and I was like…and they were like yeah, so you hear all the stories isn’t that how so and so died? And they’re like yeah, yeah it is, but they didn’t do it right. Well, how are you doing it right and they’re like well I don’t know, just trust me. But I don’t know you. But trust me. Okay, what’s your name? I’ll trust you not to kill me.

Do they bruise you?

Justin: Some of them do. It depends on how big they are. The ones they used on “Smallville” for me are not. They don’t bruise. You can feel them, but it feels like that (he hits himself lightly) and that’s how you know when to react. But the first time the terror in my eyes and everything, thank God I have glasses and a hood on. I kept going like this and they were like…it was here I think is where I got shot. And they were like don’t look down and I was like why. I didn’t want to show my face, because the thing when it blows up it blows up like this. And it would have gone in my face so they were telling me we don’t want to tape your face and I was like okay, neither do I. So I’m looking at the sky and they’re like Justin, you know, why are you so weird man. We’ve made a huge mistake. Get the other guy. So I was like this…I think when it went off and it scared me so much that it was actually a really good scene because what happened was…I get shot and the direction is– boom it blows up. And boom I’m supposed to hit my knees and kind of be dazed. It was such a great shot because what happened was I got so scared I got knocked off my feet. Not be the squib, but it went boom, and I went to my knees and then I was like I’m okay, I’m okay, I’m okay. It feels warm, it feels warm. I fell down and I was just waiting to go cut. I was like okay, I’m good—because you don’t know. I did this movie not too long ago where I got shot with a shotgun so it had to be a huge one on the leg. That one hurt. That one knocked my leg back a little bit. That one did hurt, but the ones that they used here it was like a bullet…a handgun shot.

I’ll ask what movie?

Justin: Where I got squibbed?


Justin: It was called “Red Canyon”. It was like a horror kind of psychological kind of thriller kind of movie.

And what kind of character do you play in that?

Justin: Oh I played a smart-ass kind of easy going smart-ass, let’s get laid all the time kind of guy. I fall into those roles. I was kind of an a-hole, you know what I mean? Which I’m….they didn’t cast type really the a-hole, I mean. We need an a-hole, let’s go to that Hartley guy. He’s a real jerk. But that’s where I got squibbed in the leg, so.

There’s a lot of “Justice League” this year, a lot of superheroes. What’s that like? Are you a fan of comics? Have you become a bigger fan of comics?

Justin: Since I’ve done it?


Justin: Yeah, I have because ever since I did that “Aqua Man” pilot I started to get into it, because that’s how I did most of my research is through the comics. I think that’s the best way to do it. And they’ll tell you everything. You read the comics and they tell you everything and that’s the whole mythology. That’s where it started, so to go back to that and “Smallville” does that too and then they go their own way a little bit, but that’s how you figure out what you’re doing, I think. Yeah, ever since then people gave me comics. People mail me comics and you don’t have a choice. Once you’re…it’s like baseball cards, once you start looking at them you don’t have a choice and you find yourself buying them and collecting them and then going in to get the next one and they go oh, it’s not out yet. It’s late. And you’re like, Goddamnit what do you mean it’s late? Where is it? I’m going to call that guy again. It’s like you’re out of control. What do you mean late? He’s always late. It’s like one of those weird things. So yeah, I’ve definitely become one of those guys.

Can you walk the convention floor and do the people stop you and say they enjoyed “Aquaman” because a lot of people saw that pilot?

Justin: Yeah they did. A lot of people saw it. Isn’t that something?

Yeah, a lot.

Justin: Yeah, they should have picked that up. That would have been good.

Definitely, but there was a lot of buzz online like this is a shoe-in. This is definitely going to get picked up.

Justin: Well, you never want to hear that. It’s a shoe-in. It’s like…

I was very surprised that it wasn’t picked up.

Justin: Well I think there a lot of issues. That was a really expensive show and it was a matter of how do you….you can’t have an “Aquaman” show without water…without him being in water, and you can’t shoot water without money and I mean, they’ve got a lot of money but it’s like geez, sometimes the risk outweighs the reward when you’re spending that much money and that much time. And I think it was just a logistic thing. They couldn’t do it after the pilot. But I don’t know. I’m proud of it, but yeah I can walk the floor. I don’t, because I have my time where I go to the booth and I sign autographs and stuff and I’m doing this most of the time. That’s really the only reason why I don’t walk the floor is because I’m also doing work for the show and stuff.

Isn’t there a big tank somewhere that’s dying to be used somewhere, something that cost millions to build and no one is using it?

Justin: You’d think so but just the crew that goes in there. Here’s the weird thing about doing one of those water shows—there’s a crew of like I want to say like 50 people in the water maybe around you. 30 or 40 or 50 people in the water and you’re in a tank. You’re not in the ocean. And Justin Hartley is the only one getting up going to the bathroom. And it’s like—lunch and it’s been 6 hours and it’s like lunchtime and that’s when everyone gets out of the water. It’s like I’ve been in the water for 6 hours. Like really? How many times did you pee in there? I had my face down there, man. I had my eyes open. I remember you blowing the hose in my face going, good job man. You look really real. And I remember thinking what the hell, is this a salt pool? I don’t understand this. Swimming around in your pee. It’s ridiculous.

So you’re saying they don’t have good filters?

Justin: I’m saying that…(laughing) I don’t know. Maybe they do have good filters. Well, hey thank you so much. I appreciate it. Thanks guys for coming.

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