Constant Chloe: Allison Mack Anchors A Changed Smallville

Over her seven years on Smallville, intrepid reporter Chloe Sullivan’s had one hell of an uphill battle trying to step out of the shadow of Clark Kent, Lana Lang, Lex Luthor, Lionel Luthor, Lois Lang…okay, just about every character (except for maybe Pete Ross) if you really think about it. The quasi-Rodney Dangerfield of small town Kansas, the not-so-respected Chloe has story-wise always been a day late and a dollar short in the romance department with Clark and often subjugated to the role of “exposition chick” for whatever “freak of the week” rolled into town.

Yet through it all actress Allison Mack has managed to craft a truly memorable character with her Chloe, one of the very few to not come out of the DC Comics canon. Fans have come to love her and root for her as the heart of the show even when other characters or storylines were given more heat from season to season.

With a very different cast lineup at the start of season eight (gone is Michael Rosenbaum, Kristin Kreuk, John Glover and Laura Vandervoort), Mack worked out a behind the scenes raise and is finally getting more of the spotlight as a super-powered Chloe becomes more important to the evolving Metropolis storyline.

In preparation for the September 18th premiere, Mack spoke to Newsarama this summer about what’s coming up for Chloe and creatively behind the scenes for the ever-evolving actress:

Newsarama: So first things first, it looks like Chloe is finally getting into the driver’s seat when it comes to matters of the heart with Clark, Jimmy Olsen, and Oliver Queen as suitors.

Allison Mack: I know! I have such a stable to choose from now. It’s really so horrible. [laughs] Obviously, my relationship with Clark is still going strong and we're kind of always trying to find our footing and figure out if we're in love or just friends or what's going on. Then she's got Jimmy, who's just this beautiful, amazing, supportive, stable, realistic man who I think she really seeks to find solace in and kind of use this as a way to ground herself in some sort of sense of stability so she goes to him a lot when things feel kind of crazy.

But now she has this new hero, paramedic Davis [Bloome/Doomsday] guy who's pursuing her pretty actively, and is incredibly attractive, and very kind and interesting and also a little dark. So she's really got three to choose from…and you know there is [always] the Green Arrow (Justin Hartley) and he's just fun to play with.

NRAMA: Is it still exciting to go back to Chloe now for an eight year?

Mack: There is because I am directing this year so that's a totally new beast to tackle so I'm looking at the show in a very different way. Also, there's something so wonderful about the family that we've built so coming back it just doesn't feel like I am coming back to work on Smallville. It really feels like I am coming home in a lot of ways. It's really nice to come back and enjoy that kind of fall into the warm embrace of the family that's being built there.

Also, it’s my job, you know what I mean? As an actor it’s my job to make everything interesting and exciting and new. If I’m not doing my job well, then I’m stealing. Coming back it’s important to keep it fresh and exciting because that’s part of the reason why I get paid.

NRAMA: Will Chloe return to the Daily Planet this season?

Mack: Well I visit the Daily Planet. I don't know. She's really diving head first into the Isis and she's really taking on the job of being the mentor and the kind of place of solace for all the meteor-infected. I think that that's really going to see her be focus and she's pretty angry at Lex Luthor so she's going to stay as far away from him and his cohorts as possible. But we’ll see that bald head again. He’s not gone for good. [laughs]

NRAMA: Will Chloe have off camera interaction with Lex?

Mack: Possibly. I don’t foresee my storyline crossing over with him too much because I have a lot going on with Isis and Davis and Jimmy and then my own superpowers. It would be more with Cassidy (Tess Mercer) and Tom (Clark). I’ve got my nose in everything so it’s possible.

NRAMA: What’s been the most interesting challenge in terms of Chloe’s growth?

Mack: I think the most fun for me is the fact that my path as this character has not been anything secure. We've really been able to work in quite an equal partnership -- the writers, myself and the fans -- in shaping who this character is going to be and shaping the direction she is going to go. I really like the fact that everything is new and that we're really molding a brand new character together.

As far as my character’s evolution, my favorite part is just how honorable I think she is. If I was to choose any female character on television to play right now, Chloe would definitely be in my top three. She’s a loyal and strong woman and I don’t think we have a lot of those women for young women to look at. I’m very proud.

NRAMA: Who would the other two be?

Mack: Allison Janney’s character in The West Wing was so rocking! I am a huge fan of Mary Louis Parker and her character in Weeds. My manager says you have to grow into yourself Allison because all the characters I want to play are like 39.

NRAMA: This season what do you want Chloe to do?

Mack: I’m looking forward to exploring more of the darker aspects of Chloe. I am cutting the apron strings with Clark. It's time for him to grow up a little bit and not rely on Chloe so much so that Chloe can go off and forge her own path. She's been his shadow for a really long time and has been doing things of great importance but I think it's really exciting this year to start to see her forge her own way and figure out what she's passionate about separate and aside from Clark. You really start to see her do [that] at the Isis Foundation and she's really narrowing down her scope of what she wants to focus on, and trying to help that part of the population in the world and I think that's really cool.

NRAMA: What was your initial reaction to what’s going on with Doomsday?

Mack: It’s awesome! I'm learning more and more about the comics as we go, because I don't know a lot about the Superman comics. I just found out a couple of weeks ago that Doomsday actually kills Superman in the comics and being a part of the struggle between the dark and the light side again I think is really exciting. I'm really looking forward to it. Sam [Witwer] is a wonderful actor and he's so charming so I'm having a lot of fun playing with him.

NRAMA: What have been your thoughts about having DC trying to integrate Chloe into the comics?

Mack: I love it and think that it's so cool. What an amazing honor to have a character written after you? I am thrilled at that opportunity, and that possibility, and I hope to see it come to fruition. I mean, who gets to show their kids like this is me, this is a character I built. That’s awesome!

NRAMA: What led to your decision to direct?

Mack: It just makes sense in terms of my ambition as a person. I've been acting for twenty-two years and I love film so much. I love the whole process of making film, so this is just sort of the next step of understanding it on a deeper level. I always want to be telling stories in whatever fashion I can and directing is really just understanding and learning a different element of that storytelling process.

NRAMA: Have you been learning and preparing on the set?

Mack: Yes. I have been a total addict to all the directors that I like the most. Last year I was supposed to direct so I followed around a couple of directors and was there every day sitting in the chair just asking questions and writing things down. Now that it's been confirmed again, I come in and I have my directing homework and I go over it with James Marshall, Marizee Almas, who's our First [Assistant Director], and Glen Winter, who's our director of photography. I'm trying to learn as much as I can. It's amazing. Making a TV show is incredible. The things that go into it and the amount of work…oh my god it's amazing

NRAMA: Do you know what they are giving you yet?

Mack: I don't have the script and I have no idea what it's going to look like other then it's not going to have a lot of Chloe in it. I’m sure the boys will give me something good.

NRAMA: It’s rumored that Chloe will be interacting at Isis with DC character Plastique this season too?

Mack: Yeah. I think Chloe is really taking on the whole Mother Teresa kind of thing that's been looming around since she started her superpower of healing a couple of season ago. She's got such a huge heart and she is recognizing that there are more people that need her other than Clark Kent. Which is another reason I think she sort of starting to cut the apron strings and let Clark venture into his own sort of thing cause she is really seeing how many people need her help and Bette (Plastique) is just the first of I think many.

NRAMA: With all the cast changes in season eight, has the vibe changed on >Smallville?

Mack: They are still very much part of our lives but we're like a train; we just keep going, forging ahead. We miss them dearly and we love them and we talk about them and think about them all the time, but you know we are making a show so we can't slow down.

NRAMA: And finally if this is the last season of Smallville, are you planning what’s next for Allison Mack? Would you move to film or stay in TV?

Mack: I would love the opportunity to work in film and theater but there is so much amazing television being done that I would hate to limit myself. John Glover (Lionel Luthor) said to me once that a good part is a good part no matter what the venue, and I go where the good parts are. I've always had so much respect for him and his career and his choices as an actor; I think he's just amazing. I would like to stay doing that and really listen to him and follow in his footsteps in that respect.

As far as behind the scenes I absolutely want to get into making my own films and producing my own things. I want to get into helping put together different venues for all artists so figuring out more what it means to put on art shows and film festivals and music festivals and things like that because I am passionate about any form of creative expression.

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