While Clark, Lana, Lex and the rest of the Smallville "kids" ride their own romantic merry-go-round, something is quietly percolating between two of the elders, no less than Lex's dad and Clark's mom. To best ascertain Lionel's intentions toward the widow Martha Kent as well as find out what he really thinks about Lex's own honey, Lana TVGuide.com chatted up the prominent patriarch's portrayer, John Glover. (Smallville airs Thursdays at 8 pm/ET, on CW.)
TVGuide.com: OK, the first question I want to ask is: The mane, is that all yours?
John Glover: Yes. [Chuckles] No extensions, no anything.
TVGuide.com: Do you think his leonine look is part of what makes Lionel such a force to be reckoned with?
Glover: A lot of it, sure. Look at Sampson. And look at what happened when Lionel went to prison and they shaved it off he got very befuddled. The writers didn't know what to do with him with no hair. I kept getting these little memos: "Let it grow, let it grow!"
TVGuide.com: Having surfed around some Smallville message boards, I want to know how you feel being one of the show's sex symbols, at your 60-some years of age?
Glover: What do you mean?
TVGuide.com: I see some fangirls saying, "Yeah, Clark's cute," and "Lex has the bad-boy thing happening," but Lionel makes them want to do wicked things.
Glover: Really?! I had better get online! I didn't know any of this. Lionel keeps waiting for Chloe to come of age.... [Laughs] He's attracted to minds.
TVGuide.com: What episode are you taping now? Has Lionel had a chance yet to make the widow Martha Kent do wicked things?
Glover: Um, that's starting. In what I guess will be the Thanksgiving episode, there is a scene in Martha's kitchen Lionel has now started coming through the back door that's awfully nice.
TVGuide.com: Which is more likely to happen: he brings out an edge in her, or she mellows him out a bit?
Glover: Right now, both are happening. Because of her, he sees things about life and about other people that he hasn't really looked at before. Their friendship is affecting him, changing him.
TVGuide.com: Last year, when word got out that John Schneider was leaving, were you and Annette O'Toole (Martha) like, "Here we go, they're starting to kill off us grown-ups"?
Glover: No, we were pretty excited, because when Lionel was blind and Martha was working for him, we started touching on that attraction thing. That was something that both Annette and I were kind of toying with and dropping hints at, and then something happened and it all went away. They never spoke of it again.
TVGuide.com: Heaven forbid we hint that Martha Kent might be a bit of a harlot!
Glover: [Laughs] Fie, forsooth, Matt! See, that can't happen, and that's the beauty of the challenge. There are all kinds of clues when Lionel deals with other people that things are not what they seem on the exterior, but for the sake of Martha's integrity as Clark's mother and what she turns out to be in the mythology, everything that happens on the show has to lead up to what is with Superman. You can't make Martha look like she is foolish or a harlot.
TVGuide.com: Switching to Lionel's relationship with Lex, are you of the opinion that they aren't closer because to be so would make both of them weak?
Glover: That's a very interesting point. Both Michael [Rosenbaum] and I, for six years now we've been playing this [fractured bond], so we're always looking for reasons to deepen it.
TVGuide.com: What type of relationship do you and Michael have as actors?
Glover: We enjoy each other to no end. I've never seen a mind that can work quicker. He's all over the place, and yet when he works he becomes completely focused. It's like a grab bag of a mind, you never know what's going to come out of it. I respect his talent a lot, and unless he's full of bulls--t, he respects mine, too. At least that's what he says.
TVGuide.com: Of course, we know what Lex becomes. Do you think Lionel will play a role in ultimately pushing him that final step toward becoming a supervillain?
Glover: Well, I hope so. [In Lionel] they've got this character that is maybe mentioned in one comic book, so he can go anywhere, but I hope that as the series ends, they do something that will climax that relationship and send Lex off to be what he becomes.
TVGuide.com: Maybe Lex's destiny is sealed not through something Lionel does in life, but through his death.
Glover: I hope that whenever they decide to do away with Lionel, that it's something magnificent. He's got to have a great death. [Chuckles]
TVGuide.com: From where you sit, what is Lionel's take on Lana?
Glover: Last season or the season before, in the episode where I became Clark and Clark became me, I remember kind of laughing at Lana, thinking she was some stupid teenager worried about boy-girl crushes and things. But now that she's with Lex, Lionel is starting to change his mind about her and see her as a woman.
TVGuide.com: And by hanging around the Luthors, she's starting to get an edge of her own.
Glover: Lionel's starting to see that, yes. What I'm trying to hint at and give to the writers is change. The audience never knows what Lionel is really thinking. People on the street ask me, "Are you a good guy or a bad guy?"
TVGuide.com: And what do you say?
Glover: I say, "Great. That's good."
TVGuide.com: There's been talk of a Lex-Lana baby. What kind of a grandfather do you think Lionel would be?
Glover: [Laughs] Probably the most loving grandfather in the world, because it's a responsibility that he doesn't have [to deal with]. The thing that's so frustrating about Lex is that Lionel is so infuriated at his son for not being who he is. [If there's a new heir] there's a relaxation. Think of Brando in The Godfather. There's something about being a grandparent, that unconditional love, because [the new child is] someone else's responsibility.
TVGuide.com: When do you shoot the episode where we get our first look at the Justice League?
Glover: The first week in November we start that. [Co-executive producer] Steve DeKnight is writing and directing.
TVGuide.com: You played a Donald Trump-like titan in Gremlins 2. How were those critters to work with?
Glover: Those puppets were amazing. There would be up to five people operating each one of them! I remember, we were waiting to do one shot I think it was when I put the one gremlin in the paper shredder and I started playing with the puppet and they played back. But then they got tired and stopped, and I felt like the little guy had just died on me. It was so realistic.
TVGuide.com: Who's better behaved, the gremlins or the "kids" on Smallville?
Glover: Oh, we have very disciplined young actors. Kristin [Kreuk] and Allison [Mack] were, I think, 18 when we started. Allison was incredibly experienced at that point. To watch them at 24 now and see such a change... it's been wonderfully incredible.
TVGuide.com: Before we go, can we have one final tease about what's ahead on Smallville?
Glover: Hmmm... Lex and Lana get very intimate, if you can see what I say. And we have that nice tease between me and Martha.
TVGuide.com: You know, some online fans refer to them as "Mionel."
Glover: I've heard that! Annette knows all this stuff. They love to do that with the couple names.
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