On the CW's Smallville, John Glover plays the scheming and sexy Lionel Luthor. But this summer he's taking a break from channeling a businessman who wants to take over the world by portraying a lovable loser who can barely make it out of his apartment: the nameless Man in Chair, aka the narrator of the delightful Broadway musical spoof The Drowsy Chaperone. A veteran character actor who honed his skills on stage, Glover has remained active in the theater, despite his busy film and TV schedule. But his turn in Drowsy marks the first time he has graced the Great White Way in over a decade. The actor chatted with TVGuide.com about his return to Broadway, his small-screen success and why he's so good at playing bad.
TVGuide.com: Although you're a theater guy, The Drowsy Chaperone is the first time you've done a Broadway musical, right?
John Glover: It is! It's been a lifelong dream of mine to be in a Broadway musical.
TVGuide.com: But you don't actually have any solo songs in the show.
Glover: Well see, I'm not a singer. That's what makes this the perfect job for me! [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: How did you get the gig?
Glover: Since I'm doing Smallville, I only have a limited amount of time to do theater. But every hiatus, I have come back east to do a play somewhere. Last year I did Terrence McNally's Some Men down in Philadelphia, and the year before that I did The Paris Letter off Broadway. This year my agent called me and said that the folks behind Drowsy were interested in me taking over for Bob [Martin, the show's cowriter and star].
TVGuide.com: Were you already a fan of the show?
Glover: I hadn't seen it. But when I read the script, I knew that I wanted to do it.
TVGuide.com: Judging by most of your movie and TV work, the part's a big departure for you. For one, you're not evil! Why are you always the bad guy?
Glover: [Laughs] The first really big evil thing I did was the movie 52 Pick-Up, and what happens with film is that you get typed. Since there's more money at stake, if they know you can do something, then that's what they want you to do. That's the beauty of the theater. It allows me to be a versatile actor.
TVGuide.com: Totally. That was a fabulous show and you made a delicious Devil. And I had a total crush on you in that.
Glover: Well, Raven, thank you!
TVGuide.com: The season finale of Smallville left a lot of unanswered questions. Lionel looked in pretty bad shape. You're definitely back next season?
TVGuide.com: Now that Martha Kent is off to Washington, D.C., what will happen to the flirtation you two had going?
Glover: I'm going to miss Martha! There's nothing to be done... unless I write her a love letter. I don't know if they'll deal with it on the show but [Annette O'Toole's] contract's up and I don't think she's coming back. [A Smallville spokesperson tells TVGuide.com that O'Toole will "be back for a few appearances" this season.]
TVGuide.com: Lionel seems to be indulging his good side, protecting Clark. Is he turning over a new leaf?
Glover: Not completely. Remember, how many fathers out there have given their son shock treatment and insist it's for his own good? [Laughs]? As long as Lionel stays interesting. The [writers] attempted to make him good before, but it didn’t work. That's one of the challenges of Smallville. I don't think they thought it would be on this long. They kind of planned on four years, the high-school years.
TVGuide.com: They didn't count on all those teenage girls who love Tom Welling and the sick older women — like me — who love you!
Glover: God bless you!
TVGuide.com: On a personal note, you've been an openly gay actor for years without ever making a big deal about it. What do you think of the young generation of gay actors, like T. R. Knight and Neil Patrick Harris, who publicly declare their sexual orientation in the pages of magazines?
Glover: Good for them for daring to do that because it used to be you'd lose your job. People had to hide. I mean look at what Rock Hudson had to go through. He had to get married or else he wouldn't have had a career. I'm hoping, though, that we'll come to the time when it doesn't matter. We just say, "This is who I am," and that's that.
Let our new Online Video Guide round up clips of John Glover for you.
Send your comments on this Q&A to firstname.lastname@example.org.