Interview with Cassidy Freeman

Since "Smallville"'s eighth season Cassidy Freeman is in the main cast of the series. Before she got the role she had already had the chance to act with Justin Hartley who portrays Oliver Queen/Green Arrow.

In this interview you can read about her life and her opinions on the show. Plus much more.

Foto: Copyright: Stepping Out Magazine
© Stepping Out Magazine
Photo: Stepping Out Magazine

The interview is © myFanbase 2009. Please do not copy it to other websites or message boards.

First of all: Thank you very much for taking the time to do this email interview and also congratulations on the Tess Mercer role!


1. You have German roots and you also like to travel. Have you ever been to Germany?

I never have been to Germany, and I've always wanted to go. I have a friend who lives in Switzerland, so if I ever get my way over to visit, I'll make the stop off in Germany. I hear Berlin is incredible.

2. When and why did you decide to become an actress?

If you ask my parents, they'll tell you when I was old enough to speak, becoming an actor decided on me. I was very fortunate to grow up going to live performances of many types. My two older brothers are actors as well, and I've watched them from as far back as I can remember. I was so intrigued with the essence of story telling; enamored with the fact that you could act out an emotional situation, learn from it, and yet, it wasn't real. Almost like you could shake the etch-y-sketch of the experience after the curtain went down and start all over. I loved it. So, I did what I loved to do, and hoped for the best... and the best has just begun.

3. Had you been a fan of the Superman mythology before you came to "Smallville"?

The word "fan" is a very specific word, I've come to realize. Did I know of the superman mythology? Yes. Could I have given you more than a few names here and there. No. So therefore, I wouldn't dare say that I was a fan, but I've leaned a lot more. Still learning, in fact.

4. How/with which scene did you audition for the role of Tess Mercer? Was it any different from other auditions?

I think every audition is a bit different. There may be 2 people or 10 in the room. The room might be a small theatre or a closet. My audition for "Smallville" started like others, in that I went in with two scenes between Tess and Clark (that were never really in the series), and performed them, on tape, with the casting director. I guess you could call that round one. If they like you, you come back. Again, and again until there's only a few people up for the role. The few of you then "test", and perform it for the heads of studio and executives. I've heard this day compared to being in combat. If they choose you, and you're not a nervous wreck, the parts yours. That's how it happened.

5. When you auditioned for the role, did you know what the plans would be for the character?

I knew that she was a villain. I knew that she had ties to both Ms. Tessmacher and Mercy Graves. I knew that she was succeeding Lex, and living in his mansion. Other than that, I knew nothing. And still, we get the info as it comes out of the writer's room. It keeps it interesting, keeps us on our toes, and also keeps the doors open for fun twists in the story.

6. Tess Mercer is an unpredictable personality, deeply emotional and ruthless at the same time. How do you prepare for such a rollercoaster ride?

I like the way you phrased that. Deeply emotional and ruthless. I like to create the character through research. The fun (and sometimes not so fun) part of being an actor and playing a character who has a large emotional body, is that what I'm researching is myself. I have to find out what I care about, so that I find out what makes me feel deeply, so that I can share that with the audience. That translates to every character. I can create connections between what makes me tick, to what makes Tess tick. So I have created a world of Tess Mercer. What she cares about, how she deals with things, who she loves. And when a conflict arises or a situation comes along where she has to act, I try to tap into this persona I've created and work from there as truthfully as I can.

7. Do you learn about Tess' storyline from episode to episode or do you already know what she is aiming at?

An ongoing television show is like a living organism. You can have an idea of what it's going to go through, but you never really know. We find out as the stories evolve. And if we read something that doesn't make sense... we talk it out.

8. Do you know the first seasons of "Smallville" when the characters were still in high school? If so, do you like how the show has grown up?

I had never watched the show before I got the part. But I wanted to see its evolution, so I spent a lot of last fall catching up. It was a different show then. But 9 years ago, anyone was different. I think they've done a great job, especially in this season, taking some chances and pushing the show a bit older and more mature. I totally understand why people are fans from the beginning. When you watch these characters grow up, they feel like family.

9. When you compare Lex Luthor and Tess, what are the biggest differences in your opinion?

I tried very hard to not compare the two of us. Last year, the last thing I wanted was for the fans to think I was here as a replacement. This was Tess's sake, as well as for Lex's. He holds a place in the Mythos, as well as on this show that is irreplaceable. And I thought that once Tess had established herself, she would make a great character on her own, without feeling the need to be like anyone else. But the way in which it all went down, there's bound to be some comparison. I would say our biggest difference is where we came from. Although we each had sketchy relationships with our fathers, Lex was born with a type of family and fortune which very few are. His destiny is original, and in many ways, out of his control. Tess was raised a fighter. She had to work, quite hard, for all she has accomplished, and endured a lot of pain from it. Where the two of them might share feelings of betrayal or lack of love, they lashed against those feelings in severely different ways.

10. You play a woman between alien heroes and destroyers. What is it that makes Clark, Doomsday and Zod respect Tess?

These are really good questions! I hold a lot of power outside these men. I run the largest and richest company known, and although I hate to subscribe to the belief, it is believed that money is power. Our scary situation, today, with corporations comes to mind. Half the time, we have no idea what goes on behind closed doors, and with the excess funds Tess has, and the bottomless drawers of files and information, there's little that she can't get her hands on. I also think it is her ruthlessness that keeps these alien heroes and destroyers on their toes. They may be other worldly, but Tess is tremendously human and that translates to incredibly unpredictable.

11. On "Smallville" you have a lot of one-on-one scenes. Do you have a favorite co-star you like working with the most?

I can honestly (and thankfully) say that I don't have a co-star I don't like working with. But I like my scenes with Justin Hartley the most. He's incredibly funny and very talented. But the reason I really like it is because Tess gets to be a little more herself and a little less "mean robot bitch" with Oliver. He's known her for a long time and there's a feeling of familiarity I like being able to layer upon.

12. How would you describe the atmosphere on set or with your co-stars? Had Justin Hartley changed since your collaboration on "Austin Golden Hour"?

The atmosphere changes all the time. But underneath is always a sense of respect and laughter. I like that. I think of it like a family, and there are good days, and bad ones. There are quick days and long days, some happy or sad. But we're always laughing. The only way Justin ever changes is by adding to his arsenal of borderline offensive humor.

13. Do you watch "Smallville" in your free time? If yes, how does it feel to see yourself in a setting that is manipulated by special effects?

I do watch "Smallville", for a few reasons. By watching it, I get to see how the show progresses from what I experience on set, to what it looks like the screen. I also think that it's respectful to watch for all those people (hundreds) who put in their time and effort, and maybe don't get the recognition they deserve.

And, unlike some actors I know, I watch myself to get better. There's nothing like watching yourself on a screen to prove it when you ask, "do I really do that?"

14. What was the scene from the show you remember the most?

So far I'd say the scene I remember the most was when I got to kill zombies in Season 9. Man, those guys were reallllly good at being scary and the screams you heard were real! They freaked me out. I loved getting to know a new weapon like that Samurai sword, and the choreography was difficult and physical. I felt like I'd really had a day of work after that scene.

15. What can you tell us about a typical day on the set of "Smallville"?

I can tell you that no day is typical. Kind of like how nothing is constant but change. But I show up when they ask me to, I get my hair and makeup done in an hour or so, and then we go to block out the scene and over the next several hours we shoot. From different angles, using different lenses. You'd be surprised how long it can take to create 47 minutes of television footage.

16. If you had the chance to do one scene with Michael Rosenbaum, what would it look like?

Wow. Well, for starters, he'd have to be there. No more of this talking to him through a mirror where I'm really talking to myself. That was weird. And I'm assuming we'd have to throw down in some capacity. It would be a rough scene.

17. Is there anything you can scoop about season 9 of "Smallville"?

Honestly, I'm on the computer a few times a week to see what I can scoop about season 9. Zod is definitely a presence, and I'm always shocked at what the writers throw at us. It comes fast and changes often, but that only adds to the breathing beast that is our show.

18. It's great that you have an account at Twitter. How important is it to you to stay in contact with the fans yourself? Has your life changed because of this? What would you say is the most important thing to you in life?

I like that twitter started those three very heavy questions. I do have a twitter account, because I like the idea of being able to share things on a forum that's usable and safe. I like to let fans know that I'm listening, because I like to bridge the gap between what seems so fantastical (esp. on a show like "Smallville") and remind people that we are just people, too. My life has changed in the way that I have a lot more to be thankful for. I'm making a living doing what I love, and I get to create. The most important things in my life are honesty, love and family. There's nothing like being truly yourself, and all three of those things mean that to me.

19. Since myFanbase is an online magazine about TV series, do you have a favorite one?

I don't... if I stare at a computer screen for too long, I start to see things that aren't there.

Elsa Claus - myFanbase