<EM>Smallville</EM>'s Aaron Ashmore Smallville's Aaron Ashmore

Chloe, according to lore, may never land the Man of Steel, but she just might woo his best friend. Aaron Ashmore (née the ex of Mars' Veronica, Troy Vandegraff) is joining CW's Smallville this season (premiering Sept. 28) as a semiregular, playing aspiring photojournalist Jimmy Olsen.

But wait, there's more. Read all about it: "He's going to be a love interest for Chloe," Ashmore confirms for TVGuide.com. "They met [off screen] a few summers ago, and now they're reconnecting."

Ashmore's boy-next-door looks make him a natural to play All-American Jimmy  even though he eerily resembles Smallville villain Eric Summers, who just happened to be played by Ashmore's real-life twin, Shawn Ashmore (the X-Men films' Bobby "Iceman" Drake). "People love to do the twin comparisons," muses Ashmore. "But in the long run we play very differently. It won't be much of an issue."

The Toronto native snared his new gig by putting himself on videotape and sending it to producers. After that, "I didn't hear anything. But then I got a call on a Thursday night at 8 o'clock"  a certain superhero saga's time slot, natch  "saying I had to be on a plane at 7 am the next day to fly to Vancouver [where Smallville films]."

Though an admitted Marvel Comics fan, Ashmore adds that while growing up, "I also read Superman and Batman comic books. And I really liked Superman Returns; the whole romance aspect of it impressed me. I also liked the way they did the [opening] credits, paying tribute to the Richard Donner film [1978's Superman]."

When Smallville fans first catch sight of Jimmy, he's an intern at the "Daily Planet," where his job is to scan pictures into a computer. But what he really wants to be is  surprise  a photojournalist. "He just hasn't perfected his skills yet," says Ashmore, who can relate to his character's challenge. "I went through a period where I tried photography, but I wasn't that good. I'm going to have to brush up!"

At the time we spoke to him, Ashmore had already filmed segments with Tom Welling (Clark) and Allison Mack (Chloe), both of whom, he raves, "are super friendly" (presumably no pun intended). "It's like a family atmosphere there. They all know each other very well."

In addition to being Chloe's love interest, Ashmore's Jimmy will also likely live up to his title of "Superman's Best Pal." However, he won't call his future idol "Mr. Kent" but rather simply "C.K." As he notes, "Jimmy's supposed to be younger, but I believe we're all peers."

As such, don't expect Jimmy to follow Clark around like a puppy dog, thereby making it difficult for the Kryptonian to make heroic getaways. "It's not that kind of energy between them," Ashmore says. "Jimmy's got a wide-eyed innocence to him, but he'll be a little hipper than we've seen [in previous incarnations]."

Similarly, don't be on the lookout for Jimmy's trademark bow ties. "If he were too nerdy, [the pairing with Chloe] might not work," points out his portrayer. "No, I think he'll be cooler."

Jimmy will look up to Clark in at least one way from Day 1, however. "When Tom and I did a scene together he was very welcoming," the 6-foot-tall Ashmore says of his 6-foot-5 cast mate. "He's really tall! I was like, 'Holy smokes!'"

For more sci-fi scoop, including a peek at Stargate SG-1's "Oz-some" 200th episode, pick up the new TV Guide magazine.

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