Whoever said that beauty is skin deep has obviously never met Jane Seymour. Our favorite Medicine Woman has been quietly lending her off-camera artistry to a spate of good causes, including the Red Cross and child-abuse groups, while behaving very badly as Genevieve, the wicked mother of Lana's beau (Jensen Ackles) on Smallville. Proving that charity starts at home, the still-stunning mother of six took a time-out from a painting powwow at her home and dial up TV Guide Online to dish everything from promoting women's health to playing women from hell.TV Guide Online: Is this a bad time? It sounds like you've got a full house right now.
TVGO: Speaking of creating, in addition to Smallville, you're also involved in the California Pistachio Commission's "Art for the Heart" campaign to raise awareness of women's health issues. How did you go from teen Supes to nuts?
They knew my art and commissioned me to come up with this project. I [did] four paintings: a self-portrait of the woman in red, which includes the women's heart health emblem, a painting of red tulips, and one that's almost photorealism of a red rose. And then I did a sort of whimsical self-portrait. It's kind of abstract-y.
TVGO: Now that you've completed them, what happens next?
They're being used on note cards that are being sold to benefit women's heart health [programs] all over the country. You can order them directly from the commission's website or buy them in stores. And I'll be talking about [the project] on The View and such.
TVGO: This is a big month for you.
Oh, yes. I have a one-woman art show in Palm Springs. I've got a documentary that I just finished called "Running Dry," about the water-shortage crisis in the world, and then, of course, I'm jetting back and forth from Vancouver to do Smallville.
TVGO: You have a five-episode deal, right?
They're trying to fit me in to do seven, but it's really a question of my schedule and theirs, if we can make it happen.
TVGO: And what should we expect from Genevieve this time around?
Well, I clearly know a great deal about Lana Lang's tattoo. And I'm pretty manipulative. I currently seem to be manipulating both Lex and Lionel's lives, not to mention my son's and Lana's. I think they're all playing psychological chess with me. But even I don't know how it all ends. What I do know is that I know a lot more than many people, and I'm trying to barter this information for power plays. I'm not a very good person.
TVGO: But this isn't your first time playing a mean girl.
No, I've played lots! [Laughs] I've done East of Eden, for which I got the Golden Globe. I think she was evil incarnate, as I recall. And I've played sort of naughty girls in things like Crossings. In Preying Mantis, I was a woman who killed her husband on their wedding day.
TVGO: Nice! So why are you so well known for playing the heroine?
I don't know where that came from — probably seven years as Doctor Quinn! But trust me, I played a lot of evil before that... I guess some people become fixated on one or two [roles].
TVGO: I think it all started with Somewhere in Time.
Somewhere in Time. I would have to put that down as the ultimate romantic movie... it's just a little gem. I had the privilege to be involved with the fund raiser [telethon on NBC] for the tsunami. And I don't know how I got so lucky, but George Clooney was so happy to see me [that] he sat me next to Brad Pitt. Which was awesome.
TVGO: I bet!
Well, presumably, I'm the only safe girl he could be photographed with, since I already have six children and all that. [Laughs] But sitting behind me was Jim Caviezel, who got very excited because he said he'd just watched Somewhere in Time the night before for like, the 15th time, and he said that his favorite romantic moment is when Chris [Reeve] kissed me. So that is kind of neat.
TVGO: And true. How did you get involved with the telethon?
They asked me, and I'm so glad. I lost an ex-family member, somebody I considered to be family, in the tsunami... and their family, they lost four people. Another really good friend of mine narrowly escaped with his life. I'm also on the celebrity cabinet to the American Red Cross, very specifically involved in the measles initiative, which is now something we'll be doing in Thailand.
TVGO: Phew! With your busy life, I guess a recurring role like Genevieve works just fine for you, huh?
Finding time to act is actually quite a challenge. It's really cool. You know, I decided that I wasn't going to sit around and wait for someone to tell me I was too old to act anymore. So I decided to do the things I love.