Not Your Father's Martha Kent Part One -


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Not Your Father's Martha Kent Part One

SMALLVILLE's Annette O'Toole discusses her 21st Century Martha Kent

By Jennifer H. Tomooka     February 18, 2002

Annette O'Toole co-stars as Martha Kent on SMALLVILLE.
© 2001 The WB

One of the first noticeable additions to the latest SUPERMAN offshoot is the fact that Martha Kent is not being portrayed as a helpless old woman. (O.K., that and maybe the fact that the woman playing Martha Kent was actually once Lana Lang.)

Annette O'Toole co-stars as Martha Kent on SMALLVILLE.

"I did a show right before this called THE HUNTRESS where I did action every week, so when it [comes] time to do the scenes, I'm doing all my own stunts," says Annette O'Toole. "I'm kicking and doing fighting with the stunt man. I like it because I [am] the first female to fight back in the show. [I] didn't just give up and say, 'Oh, Clark, come save me!' I mean, he did eventually come and save me, but I did my best."

Female action hero aside, what draws O'Toole to the role of Martha Kent is the character's focus on family, and how that will ultimately affect Clark and Superman.

"I do like it when the show is about the family," says O'Toole. "How [we] deal with the problems that come up and how we keep it a secret, but try not to overly lie. We want to teach this child to be truthful always, but his life is sort of a lie. He can't be who he [really] is.

The Kent family at home in the "Metamorphosis" episode of SMALLVILLE

"I love it when the three of us are in the kitchen whispering," adds O'Toole. "It's like there's a secret that the three of us share together. My favorite shot in the whole show [is a] crane shot of the three of us. The camera pulls back, and it's like we're the only three people on the whole Earth; it's like World War III."

But the unity and secrets that Martha and Jonathan Kent keep don't only affect the life of their adopted son; they also have a very strong effect on the charming and ambiguous Lex Luthor. As a matter of fact, another of O'Toole's favorite scenes displays the tensions that are starting to develop between Clark and Lex.

"It's the one where the kids are being held hostage in the Lex Luthor factory," says O'Toole. "[At] the end, he comes out and we're embarrassing [Clark]. He looks over at Lex, and Lex looks over at him. I think that's the thing about that relationship. Lex has never had what Clark has. It's not about superpowers. It's about love and family."

John Schneider, Annette O'Toole and Tom Welling as the Kent family in SMALLVILLE.

But all of that love and happiness came with a price. The set used for that scene was in a most unpleasant location.

"I think we shot that in a sewer plant and we were there for three days," says O'Toole. "I've never felt that ill. It was just horrible. So when we shot that scene we just wanted to get home. It was the last thing of the day, and it was like, 'Please, let us get out of here.' But it really came across, that kind of jealousy that Lex feels for that relationship."

Be sure to check back later this week for part two of our Annette O'Toole profile.


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