BuddyTV interviews Sam Witwer, who plays Doomsday on Smallville.
Doomsday is one of the most notorious Superman villains to ever grace the pages of DC Comics. The hulking alien monstrosity stands as the only creature to kill Superman, which makes him one of the hero’s most formidable foes. On tomorrow night’s episode of Smallville, Doomsday will arrive in Metropolis under the name Davis Bloome. The character has been reimagined for the series as a charming paramedic with a dark past, and he’ll be embodied by former Battlestar Galactica actor Sam Witwer. Davis won’t start off intent on destruction, but he’s destined to turn toward villainy eventually.
I had a chance to sit down with Sam today to discuss his role on the show. Read on for the complete transcript and mp3 of the interview.
This is John from BuddyTV and I’m talking to Sam Witwer, the newest star of Smallville. How’re you doing?
How’s it going, man?
It’s going good. So this week we’re going get to our first preview of you on Smallville. Can you give us a little bit of an idea of what you’re going to be doing, how you’re coming into the show, and how we’re first going to see you?
Well, the character’s name is Davis Bloome, he’s a paramedic in Metropolis. He is sort of a perpetual loner, he was raised in the foster system so he’s a little bit moody, but he’s really a very moral, cool individual. You’re not going to see this in the first episode, but he’s basically got some problems and he’s trying to deal with them. The problem is basically that he’s Doomsday, the only DC comics character to ever kill Superman. Sorry if I’m giving anything away there. [laughs]
I don’t think you’re giving anything away, because it’s been highly publicized that you are coming on as Doomsday, one of the new villains for this season. So you’re not going to be a villain all the time, you’re actually going to be a pretty good guy for some of it?
Well, that’s the thing, from my point of view this guy isn’t a villain at all, but I guess that’s completely subjective. The thing is, when they approached me for the role they said they need an actor who could do the extraordinarily dark stuff but at the same time needed to be able to go in exactly the opposite direction and be extremely open, extremely vulnerable and sweet and kind and all that stuff. I don’t know what roles that I did that let them to believe that I was the guy for the part. I don’t know if it was a combination of roles, or if they watched Battlestar or Dexter or The Mist or what. Dexter I’m kind of like Hannibal Lecter, and in The Mist I’m like the nicest guy in the movie. So I don’t know what they saw, but they approached me, they pursued me, and that was that.
Is Davis going to be striking up a romance with any of the characters?
He might, he might. What do you want to know, man, do you want me to spoil it for you?
Nah, just trying to get an idea who you’re going to be interacting with, what are the scenes with your character?
What I can tell you is that he strikes up a very fast friendship with Chloe. What’s cool about that is that Allison Mack obviously is just the coolest chick, she’s just a sweetheart, and Chloe is an extremely likable character. As a matter of fact, I feel like Chloe is the eyes through which the audience experiences Smallville, she sort of watches and parses everything for the audience. So for Chloe to accept Davis Bloom is I think a real boon for the character. For her to sort of announce to the audience this person is worth our attention, I think that really helps. And Allison is just so much fun to work with anyway.
You mentioned of course Doomsday being a comic book character. Is it easier or harder to play a character who sort of has a comic book back story that you can go and research?
Well, I’ll tell you what’s hard about it is the psychological places that we are starting to go now in our current episode that we are shooting. That’s what’s difficult about it, because it’s not only an unreal circumstance, it’s something that as far as we know hasn’t happened in real life, so as an actor you have to bring a lot of imagination to that and ask yourself the question, “What if this was real? How hardcore would that impact me?” But also on top of that it’s very dark, psychologically damaging stuff, so as an actor it’s not always the most fun to shoot. But hopefully it’s a lot more fun to watch.
You’re coming in on season 8 of Smallville, and several other actors are also coming in new and fresh. How is it to come in as the new guy and mesh with a cast and crew that’s been together so long?
Well, what’s nice about it is that this show has been going on for so long that it’s a well-oiled machine. As a matter of fact I’ve been very happy with how the crew and the executive staff and the cast have gone about things concerning integrating me, they’ve been really professional about it. As for being the new kid? I’ve been a new kid enough to where I’m used to it, it’s not any big deal. You sort of show up, do your job, tell a few jokes, and go home. And sooner or later you start noticing that you start liking the people around you more and more, and that’s basically where we are right now. It’s fun, it’s cool, you just go and have fun and play make believe and for whatever reason they pay you, it’s crazy.
You mentioned Battlestar Galactica and I’m wondering if there’s a connection between the two shows, because you’re like the 20th or 30th person from Battlestar to appear on Smallville. Is that just because they’re both shot in Vancouver, or are the sets or the crews close together?
Well, some of the crew here on Smallville was on Battlestar, so I think it’s probably just the fact that they’re both in Vancouver. But yeah, yeah, I would like to see– [laughs] I’ve actually pitched to the producers on bringing on certain Battlestar actors who I’m very fond of. I’m just like, “Hey, look, Aaron Douglas was on your show for a couple episodes, bring him back! Give me some scenes with him, it’ll be fun.” So, yeah. Fun stuff, man.
This is a pretty big month for you, because not only are you joining the Superman franchise on Smallville, but you also did a voice in the new Star Wars video game.
It wasn’t just a voice, it was a motion capture performance. That’s my stuff, man. We shot a motion capture performance, we did principal photography for about three weeks in Industrial Light & Magic in northern California at George Lucas’s whole complex. And what they did is they created a digital copy of me, and then we shot it with motion capture with markers all over my face so that they had performance data that they could use to animate the characters. So all those performances that you see, at least in the XBOX 360 and the Playstation 3 version, are based off what I was doing on the set with the other actors. As for a set, there wasn’t much of one, but we did have some stuff there. But very strictly speaking it was a set, so it was very fun to do.
What’s great about that character is, similarly to Doomsday, Doomsday sort of starts out as a really nice guy then becomes something else. Well, Starkiller starts out as maybe not so nice of a guy and then becomes something else, and so they needed someone again who could play both sides of the spectrum. What Starkiller ends up doing is creating this huge change in the Star Wars mythos, because it takes place between the old trilogy and the new trilogy and it bridges the gap between the two trilogies. It sets up the original Star Wars. As a matter of fact, if I don’t do my thing in the story, Han, Luke, and Leia never get to do their thing. The story is really amazing, the script is really good, we got to generate an hour’s worth of cinematics for that game that are interspersed throughout. The most fun thing is seeing that people really like the character, that was a really fun thing. We really wanted to imbue him with that classic trilogy feel, that fast-talking 1940s taste, the sort of the Flash Gordon, Buster Crabs serial feel for it. People have been responding to it, I’m shocked. I’m really happy that they dig the character.
Is sci-fi then something you’re a big fan of? With BSG, Smallville and Star Wars, you’re doing a lot of science fiction stuff.
Yeah, I’m basically knocking off all the franchises that I grew up with. I grew up with Superman and Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica, it’s like, just getting out all of the fantasy fulfillment gigs, getting them out of the way now.
So are there any other franchises you watched growing up that you want to get into?
God, you know, I don’t know. I think there’s probably only one left and that would be Star Trek. Maybe I can get myself in the next film that they do. I’m very excited for what J.J. Abrams is doing. As a matter of fact, I was a little bit too young for it but I auditioned for Bones, and that was one of the most fun auditions I’d ever done. From what I understand, they really liked my read on it, but I think I’m a little bit too young for Bones. I mean, maybe a lot.
– Interview conducted by John Kubicek
(Image courtesy of the CW)