Serinda Swan has "Hex" appeal as Zatanna.
This Thursday, Zatanna works her magic on the CW's Smallville, and at least one person's life might never be the same as a result. What brings the DC Comics character to town? Aside from granting Chloe a birthday wish, what other tricks does Ms. Z. have up her sleeve? And which of Smallville's eligible gents is she hot to cast a sexy spell on? Guest star Serinda Swan shared with us a few of her secrets.
TVGuide.com: So, "Serinda Swan" — a name as pretty as the actress who wears it.
Serinda Swan: Aw, thank you very much! I had a thespian and a hippie for parents, so they came up with unique names for my sister [Ariel] and I. A "serinda" is an ancient Tibetan musical instrument, like a flute.
TVGuide.com: When you landed this Smallville role, did you immediately start Googling to see what Zatanna looks like and what she's all about?
Swan: Only after I found out that I was Zatanna; I originally auditioned for "Cassie," which was the character's cover name. They wanted to keep this very hush-hush. It wasn't until my agent got a call from someone at TVGuide.com offering their congratulations....
TVGuide.com: That was me, kiddo. That was me.
Swan: I was thinking it was you! So yeah, then I Wikipedia'd it and Googled it and read her backstory. That's when the excitement started.
TVGuide.com: Smallville fans can be very discerning, yet when you were cast, I saw barely any squawking. It was by and large, "She's perfect."
Swan: And I was so happy for that. A lot of the stuff I've done hasn't come out yet, so there was some, "She looks the part, but can she act?" That put a lot of pressure on me to make sure I nailed the character. So when I did go in [for the audition], I actually spoke [Zatanna's spells] backwards. I reversed the sound, put it on my iPod and listened to it right before I had to say my lines, so that when the comic book enthusiasts reverse it on their computers — which I know they'll do — it's actually intelligible.
TVGuide.com: Smallville was very faithful to Zatanna's costume — and fishnets are even in style now!
Swan: Yeah! I'm really happy with how accurate wardrobe was, from the top hat to the button-up tuxedo outfit to the fishnets, the boots....
TVGuide.com: See, her tuxedo always throws me. My sons have every super hero action figure, but they never played with Zatanna — and I suspect it's because she's so "formal."
Swan: She is quite formal. They spice her up a bit in some of the other scenes where she gets to wear more "regular" clothing, but always with a magical twist to it.
TVGuide.com: Before Zatanna pulls off the Chloe-Lois body swap, do we get any hint that she has mad magic skills?
Swan: Well, the very first thing she does is perform one of her more magical spells as opposed to an illusion, so right off the bat you get that she is more of a trickster and a trouble-maker than a regular party magician.
TVGuide.com: Does Chloe's experience get filed under: "Be careful what you wish for"?
Swan: Absolutely. [Laughs] But at the same time Zatanna thinks she's being helpful. She has a little twinkle in her eye because she knows what's going to happen. Most people are not careful what they wish for.
TVGuide.com: Erica Durance plays Chloe for much of the episode?
Swan: Yes, and it's such a blast. It was so much fun watching that.
TVGuide.com: In addition to Chloe's wish, I understand Clark has one, too....
Swan: Yes, he does — and it gets him into a bit of trouble, because it's not a regular wish. It's something that kind of turns him upside-down. But I can't give away what it is!
TVGuide.com: Does Zatanna flirt with Clark at all?
Swan: She flirts more with Oliver. She's a pretty flirtatious girl, so she gets in his face and tries to use her "other" skills on him. But she does try to work her magic on Clark as well.
TVGuide.com: There's this one photo where Zatanna is walking away from a tied-up Oliver. What did he ever do to her?
Swan: Well, I'm trying to find my father's spell book, and Oliver has something to do with where it's hidden...
TVGuide.com: Of course he does.
Swan: Of course he does. So when I discover that, that's what I do to him. Don't mess with me!
TVGuide.com: Why does Zatanna need her father's book? To try to raise Zatara from the dead?
Swan: Yes, that's her whole goal. He died protecting her, as it says in the comics, and she feels that she can't carry out the life that he could have. She feels she should trade her life in for his, so he can come back and do what he was meant to do.
TVGuide.com: Zatanna is also known to mix it up with Batman. Is there any reference to Bruce Wayne here, à la he recommended her as party entertainment?
Swan: No, this is more about her beginnings. She doesn't even know all of her powers yet, until she gets her father's book. There's a line where she says she was only able to look at the book once, and that's where she got her one spell, to grant wishes.
TVGuide.com: Is the door left open for Zatanna to return?
Swan: The door is left wide open, so fingers crossed! I'd love to come back. I know that she has quite a relationship with Clark, later on in her story, so I'd love to see that develop into an episode.
TVGuide.com: And for those people who like what they see on Smallville, where can they next see Serinda Swan? You're in the Tron 2.0 movie now in production?
Swan: Yes, I am! Obviously the original Tron was a very influential movie for its time, so to be a part of the second one is very exciting.
Watch an exclusive sneak peek of Serinda Swan's Smallville debut.