The 2009 Superman Celebration continued today with the main event of the weekend. Saturday brought a big crowd to Metropolis, IL. In attendance were Justin Hartley and Phil Morris from Smallville along with Beverly Washburn and Noel Neill. Several different autograph sessions took place with the stars along with many different events to attend.
The question and answer session took place this morning in Metropolis with Justin Hartley, Phil Morris, Beverly Washburn, and Noel Neill all taking part in it. Lots of fun and laughs. Justin and Phil were doing a ton of joking around. Everyone was cracking jokes. Each person was presented a Superman of Metropolis award except for Noel. Noel has been in attendance so many times that she already has the award. So, they gave her an official Guiness World Records certificate for helping out last year with the record setting of the most people dressed as Superman in one place which was 122. She was the official starter for the event.
I’ve recapped a lot of the Q&A with the questions that were asked by people in attendance. Keep in mind that Justin and Phil got most of the questions when reading this.
Question: A little boy asked a question regarding Smallville asking “do you really like Lois Lane in real life? “ Big applause to the question from the boy as it was really funny.
Justin laughs and says “we’re friends. We’re both married….to different people. Yeah, she’s lovely. She’s great. My wife is actually here” Crowd laughs.
Host: “Which had nothing to do with the way you answered the question."
Any truth to the rumors of a Green Arrow spinoff after season nine of Smallville?
Justin: “I don’t know. Some people talk about it and I always just say that right now I’m doing Smallville. It’s not something that I would want to spend my time thinking about when I’m doing Smallville. I think it would be a disservice to my Green Arrow on Smallville and I’m just focusing on that right now.”
Question: A boy asks, can you really shoot a bow and arrow in real life?
Justin: “I could shoot you right now kid. (laughs) Yeah, I can. I couldn’t before the show. I took a class in high school for like two weeks that you have to take after swimming and right before basketball. I did some really intense training cause you gotta look like you kinda know what you’re doing but yes, I can. Thanks for the question.“
Question: What is your favorite part about being Green Arrow?
Justin: “I like playing Oliver to be honest with you. When I’m doing the Green Arrow thing and killing bad guys or whatever, it justifies everything that Oliver kind of does. Oliver is not that smooth around the edges and he has some rough spots. The reason that he is able to get away with a lot of that stuff is because of what he does as Green Arrow. Another really cool part about playing him is that I have a four year old daughter. So, I just don’t even tell her that it’s a show. I just tell her that I’m a superhero. She doesn’t know so she goes to school and says this is my mommy and she’s an actress. This is my daddy and he’s a superhero. Then, I’m in the background and I just say that’s right and I have superhero friends so who is going to argue?” This was a really funny story!!
Question: What can we expect for season nine of Smallville?
Justin: “Well, I just had a meeting the other day with the producers. It’s going to be a lot about finishing things that have been built up over the course of the series. Hopefully, they’ll be bringing him back and dive into him a little more (pointing to Phil). Obviously the show is about Clark’s journey and it’s been this buildup for so many years and it’s getting to the point where it’s coming time. So, it will be interesting to see how they handle that. Then, everybody else’s character, I didn’t really get into any of that. I think that maybe they’re going to break me down a little bit and see what happens. See if I can go even darker. I’ll be so dark that I’ll be, like, purple. (laughs).“
Question: How did you get to be the Green Arrow?
Justin: “I did a pilot for the creators of Smallville. A different show and I did the pilot for them. The pilot didn’t go and often pilots don’t go. They called me maybe a couple of months later and said we have this role for you and would like you to do it and here is what it is about. It was great for me because I hadn’t gotten offered a lot of stuff at that point. I was auditioning constantly trying to get the job. So, when someone says I have this offer for you, I didn’t even know what to do. I had done a lot of work for them on the pilot and from that, they said that this guy would be fine for this.“
Question: Do you miss working with Michael Rosenbaum?
Justin: “No (jokingly laughs). I love Michael Rosenbaum. I’ve said this before but I think for like the first day that I met him that I was like this (awed face) because I go ‘dude do you wake up every morning and does someone sketch you on a pad because you’re like a drawing?’ The guy is, I’m not joking, top five funniest people I’ve ever met in my life. He is completely inappropriate all the time and that makes him completely appropriate. He’s a great actor and he’s the intethesist of Lex Luthor. We have a ball. He’s one of those guys that when you’re around, your abs just kind of hurt. Just a great guy and I miss working with him. He’s fun.”
Question: Do you feel you relate more to Oliver Queen or Green Arrow?
Justin: “That’s a good question. It usually depends on what kind of day he is having”. He then joked about reading through the scripts and seeing the lousy things that would be happening to Oliver and thinking this is a bad day for Oliver. He really thought on this question and had a tough time answering it. “Probably Oliver. Although, I think about being a dad and it’s about Green Arrow. I’ll tell you how I can relate to both of them. Oliver is great because on the surface he’s a millionaire and he has this and he has that. You look at him and think wow everyone wants to be that guy and he’s this tortured soul, he’s missing his parents. He feels responsible for so many things. Then, what appeals to me about Green Arrow is the fact that he’s mortal. I always liked Batman so, for me, it’s fun to see a guy go out there and put it on the line cause he could actually die if he is shot or get injured. For me, the vulnerability on both sides is what appeals to me. “
Question: Did you come into acting to follow in your dad’s footsteps?
Phil: “At first, I really wanted to do everything but this cause I’ve gotten this question all my life. As a young, fairly strong young man, I’ve wanted to do my own thing. Obvioulsy, I’m following in his footsteps to a degree but I never got into it to try to eclipse anything that he ever did because there is no way that I could hold a candle to him. He was a legend. He did a great show with Mission Impossible. I honor his legacy. Without him, there is no me in many, many ways. He really was a great father, mentor, and trailblazer for me as an African American actor. So, I’m just happy that people even mention me in the same breath with him and I really appreciate your question because I love him and he looks down on me and blesses me every single day. “
Question: How has the Martian Manhunter’s character being killed in the comic books affected your career or if at all?
Phil: “Well…..” (and points to the Celebration as a whole). “It has affected it. I have been in this genre for a while, done a lot of Star Treks so the sci-fi adventure genre, I just jumped all over it. This is my foray into live action comic book superhero portrayal. I had done a lot of it, voiceover wise, and that has been great. What the networks and studios don’t realize is how fervent, and loyal, and honest and honorable that you fans are when it comes to what we do. I’ve been saying while we’ve been signing for people is that without you there is no us. It’s absolutely true. I find that to be especially strong in this comic book area. My career has been effected mainly through the fan base and how they’ve supported my work and then went on to see me in Seinfeld and then come back and say that they had no idea that I was that funny. It gives the fans another perspective of who I am as an actor. As a comic book freak which is what I am, I’m honored to play John Jones because I honor the fandom of comics. I honor the medium and genre of comic books. So for me, it’s a great honor to play him. I think other actors may not feel that because they didn’t grow up with comics the way that I did. I’m digging it big time and that’s pretty much how it has affected my career. I love it.”
Question: Since you worked with Jerry Seinfeld and he’s a big Superman fan, do you still keep in contact about your Smallville progress?
Phil: “I left him a couple of messages but I didn’t hear back from him. Jerry and I love some of the same things. We’re big Superman comic book guys. Big race car guys and stuff. Working with him on that show was just an honor. These were really strong professional actors and you want to work with the best people that you can in this game. I couldn’t have chosen people that were any better at their craft than to work with the Seinfeld crew. I was happy to be involved in a show that a lot of people loved and took to heart. I think that he thinks it’s kind of cool that I’m doing Smallville but I have not heard from him.”
Question: Do you remember your first comic book?
Phil: “I do. And it was 1966, Cleveland, OH. My grandmother took us to a drug store. It was Tales of Suspence from Captain America and Iron Man. They did a run of that until they wrote them off into their own books. I think I have about 100 of those but I have about 20,000 books.”
Question: Is there any chance of Martian Manhunter getting his powers restored?
Phil: “I hope that in season nine that Clark helps a brother out there. I did lose them SAVING HIS LIFE. (laughs) I think they can kick me a couple more powers. Give me invulnerability. Just give me a few. I don’t need them all. I like that he’s more of a normal guy cause I think it gives him more of a dimension as that character so I couldn’t have had that fight scene if I had my powers still cause I would have broken him. I was hoping that they would give me more of that to do so I could use my martial arts skill and display that without really like killing anybody. With John’s power which is about ten amounts of Superman, I wouldn’t be able to do as much so I’m hoping that they just bring me back so I can play more of the human John Jones and then Clark and his wisdom will help me out."
Question: Did you enjoy doing Star Trek?
Beverly: “I loved doing Star Trek. When I did it, it was the orignal one in the second season. So, it really wasn’t all that big then. I had no idea 42 years ago that it would go on to be such a phenomenon now and be all over the world. I don’t know if any of you saw that particular episode. It was “The Deadly Years” where we all get old and I die of old age. At least I got to die in Captain Kirk’s arms. What I couldn’t figure out was that I died and wasn’t even wearing a red shirt. (laughs)”
Question: Share a story about Clayton Moore who played The Lone Ranger?
Beverly: “I have a funny story about Clayton Moore. He wore that very tight costume. I guess he didn’t want, I don’t know how to stay this, visible panty lines. So, he didn’t wear any underwear. There was a scene that we filmed in Utah where I get kidnapped and Lone Ranger and Tonto come to my rescue. He gets up on Silver and rides off. As he got up on the horse, his pants split open so he had his bare butt hanging out. So, the director, as a joke, just let the film keep rolling so they could show it in the outttakes. The running gag on the set was the lone ranger was riding off into the sunset as he was mooning everybody."
Noel Neill discussed several topics including her statue that the groundbreaking was held for on Thursday and also George Reeves. When asked about the statue, Noel joked that “they won’t let me take it home”. She was asked if there were any other statues of her anywhere else to which she jokingly said not that she knew of. Noel always gets asked about George Reeves every year and what it was like working with him. She is always very complimentary of him and said today “George was a wonderful person and a good actor. We miss him”.
Questions for everyone or had multiple people answering them:
Question: Is there any souvenirs that you guys keep from the set that you keep in your houses?
(Big laughs on that comment.)
Beverly: “I have William Shatner at my house as we speak.”
Noel: “Lots of different things that people bring you from different outfits and towns. It’s really nice”.
Phil: “The best stuff is that. The fans bring you something nice or maybe a great drawing of your character or some momento. What you bring to us means way more to me than a studio sending me their obligatory gift. It’s like that card that they send you for your birthday that means less to me when I’m here and I get a photograph of my dad from you or I get a drawing from a young man or woman. It just touches my heart and that is what means the most to me.”
Justin: “It’s true. I try to keep all that stuff with gifts that I get from people. I do have one thing that I took from my previous job. I was on a daytime show and I took the lead actress. I really do have a body. (laughs).” Justin was talking about his wife of course. '
Question: Why doesn’t Superman fly in Smallville?
Justin: “My take on it is because he’s Clark. He’s not Superman. We’re closing in on that time though, aren’t we?”
Phil: “The creators said early on no tights, no flying. That was their edict on Smallville because every other television show that had shown Superman went right for the suit and all that . What they were trying to do was to create a reality around him, which I think, has been very successful. Even as he is gaining his powers, every power that he got was a surprise and a shock. It was much more real. When you put him in the primary colors and tights and stuff, it kind of dilutes that or weakens that. So, they’re waiting for him to say, hey, I am Superman to fly. We haven’t gotten there yet. Green Arrow and John Jones we’re trying to get him there quick, fast, and in a hurry, trust me. (laughing).”
Question: A kid asks what is your favorite superhero?
Phil: “The Green Arrow”
Justin: “The Martian Manhunter. “
Host: “What do you think of these guys Beverly?”
Beverly: “They’re both hilarious and it’s my first time meeting both of them. It’s a honor to me too. Just really nice to share the stage with all of them including Noel. We have a lot in common. We both worked with George Reeves. Mine was a small part but still. We’re both in the greatest show on Earth. She is the only person on Earth that makes me feel tall (laughs) and I love them.”
Question: How hard are the stunts?
Justin: “I do have a stunt double. He’s excellent. I like to do all my own stuff. There are certain things that I can’t do cause I’m not a stunt guy and I don’t know how. There are certain things that I can probably do but they won’t let me. That leaves the hard stuff and the dangerous stuff for him. I actually have two guys that kind of pop in back and forth. They’re great. I’m horrified of heights. There will be a scene where I’m standing on the side of the building and I’m roped on to the building and there is no way that I can fall. I’m dizzy cause I’m just horrified. I do it cause I think eventually I’ll get over it but I haven’t yet. These guys are standing up there joking around talking like it’s nothing to them. It’s a completely different craft and I have the upmost respect for those guys. These are the guys that you walk up to and say ‘we’re going to set you on fire today’ and they say ‘cool’. It’s the small stunts that you get hurt on.“
Phil: “Well, I don’t do as many stunts as Justin does. I had one fight scene recently and got shot. These guys are craftsman and artists. I would never take away their craft. I’m a martial artist so when it comes to fighting, I’m the one that is going to do it because I’m the one that knows how to do that. If it’s going to represent me, I’d rather have me in there but when it comes to the things that they do well, I step back and take notes cause Justin is right. They’re like ‘you’re going to fall off of that building, roll, and then we’re going to put you on fire’ they’re like ‘sweeeeet’. They are a wonderful group. Stuntmen are phenomenal and have great energy too.“
Noel: “We had a wonderful stunt director. We didn’t do much though. Kellogg’s wouldn’t let us.”
Beverly: “Most of my work was when I was a child actor. They don’t really let children do stunts. When I did the Lone Ranger, there was a scene where I am supposed to ride off on my pony and I was just so dying to do that. They actually wouldn’t allow me to do it because of insurance purposes and because I was a minor. If I had fallen off, it would have been a problem. So, they got a little person and dressed her up like me and put the wig on and everything. So, if any of you saw that movie and you see me fly off into the sunset, it was my stunt double.”
Some other miscellaneous topics covered included the push to still get Noel on Smallville, whether directing was something they’d like to do, and more. One boy asked if Tom Welling would be coming to Metropolis? Phil really talked big over how much effort that Tom puts into the character and how that makes him not have a lot of free time on his hands especially with him having a family as well. Phil said that Tom always talks about that with how he works so hard to make that character be great for the viewers. The Allison Mack plan from last year was shut down immediately when the host of the Q&A said that there would not be any hug requests going on which was funny. You might remember last year about the guy that asked Allison for a hug and got it. Might as well shut that idea down from the beginning this year cause you know someone was going to ask. Ironic thing after that was the first question was a guy wanting to get into the business and wanted their help on getting his foot in the door. The host joked that he remembered to say the hugs remark but forgot about people wanting to get into the business. It was a funny moment and Justin took the guy’s card as well. Funny moment to start off the Q&A session.
Overall, fun weekend. Plenty of fun events to attend and there is usually always something to do over there. Just keep an eye on the schedule so you know what events that you want to attend. The weather stayed nice for the most part with the only rain happening, for when I was there, on Thursday night. I have only one real small criticism today is that the timing for having the stars standing in front of the Superman statue really is bad for the fans. Two years in a row now that I’d like to have those great pics but I’m not giving up my spot that I’ve been holding for a long time at the Q&A to get the pics. It would be nice if they could do that after the Q&A where everyone is able to move more freely and get a chance to see it. I’m sure the autograph session tickets will be a topic of discussion. I think the sessions are a good idea and whether you like the idea of it or not probably depends on whether you have a ticket. ha ha. I got a ticket last year but missed out this year and I was in line early on Friday. The sessions seemed to go well last year when I was in there but I didn't see it close up this year so I can't comment on it. I didn’t hear any talk about it either among the public so I don’t know what the overall feedback was this year.
I want to give a thank you to the city of Metropolis for hosting this every year. Everyone works really hard on the event and they deserve a ton of credit for it. Very fun weekend.
Wishing all of you a great rest of the weekend!! Take care and God bless!!