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Hawkman Swoops Into Smallville

Here it is! A sneak peek at Michael Shanks in the Hawkman costume he dons for Smallville’s highly anticipated two-hour movie event. Featuring the Justice Society, the special airs February 5, and the second hour is directed by Tom Welling. In between practicing his flying stunts above the Daily Planet rooftop and Chloe’s Watchtower, the Stargate SG-1 alum called me from the Vancouver set to dish on his role.

It seems we’ll be seeing a lot of you soaring through the air, eh?
Yeah. There are a few scenes involving him flying into various sets. One of them is in Watchtower and we’ll also see him on the Daily Planet roof. And at the end of the day, Hawkman takes off his wings and hangs them in the closet.

How’s your flying been going?
Today’s my practice day. There’s no stunt guy, so I need to ace this so I don’t make Hawkman look like a goofball. It’s traditional wire work that involves strapping on this harness so that large men with giant arms can lift me up and manipulate me. I’m also swinging around Hawkman’s giant mace as a weapon.

Are you exposing your chest as Hawkman did?
No nudity. The way the harness is designed they needed to create a bronze chest plate. The helmet is also more of a bronze-tone than a big yellow gold thing. My whole upper torso becomes a big immobile object.

What’s Hawkman’s story?
When we first meet Carter Hall he’s in his museum. We’ll learn he’s a reincarnated prince from a thousand years ago. There is a reference to The Justice Society’s time in the ‘70s, but we have since disbanded.

What advice does he give Clark?
There’s a reference given to him flying, but it’s more of a metaphor to his own personal growth. Clark and his friends are figuring out what their destinies will be, so there is a ripe opportunity for the Justice Society who had been there done that to offer some tough love teaching.

Tom Welling is directing the second episode of this arc. Is he excited or terrified?
I’m sure he’s excited and terrified. The first part is a lot of the character’s back-stories with them in civilian attire. Whereas in part two, Tom gets saddled with a lot of the action elements that will take a lot of time to shoot. He’s also acting throughout the episode he’s directing, which will be quite a task.

Are there references to Society members who aren’t seen in the episodes?
Oh yes. You’ll see a ton of references. This is a fan’s dream. Let’s say there are lots of memories and paraphernalia that people will be familiar with.

What is his relationship to Ollie/Green Arrow?
We will see an antagonism between them involving political views.

And Chloe?
She is a bit of an enigma to him. To have this pretty, smart blonde girl walking around among all these superheroes is an anomaly. Carter doesn’t know what to make of her.

How about Lois?
There’s a little bit of the Clark romance and then more with Tess’ dark plotting.

Have the regular Smallville characters heard about the Society members?
No. That’s a big plot point to find out how come they’ve never heard of these people.

What is his relationship like with fellow heroes Dr. Fate, Stargirl and Martian Manhunter?
Dr. Fate and Hawkman have a long history. Dr. Fate’s helmet is possessed by an Egyptian deity, which allows his to see into people’s possible futures. He also teleports. Stargirl is brand new to them and I’m not exactly sure what she does. She wasn’t part of the Society with them. And there are some trust issues with Martian Manhunter that are going to need to be dealt with.

You share a relationship with these actors?
Yeah. Brent Stait (Kent Nelson/Dr. Fate) was with me thirteen years ago on the Stargate pilot. Brent and I just shot a very touching moment between our characters. And oddly enough I worked with Britt Irvin (Courtney Whitmore/Stargirl) in Stargate’s third season when she was like 15 years ago. And now she’s all grown up.

Who are you all battling?
All I’ll say is he has a history with the Justice Society, but I’d never heard of him before.”

Does Hawkman give any advice to Clark and Co. about forming a Justice League of America?
There have been attempts to turn this group of randoms into a cohesive unit, but a lot of these episodes will address their debate into how that would take place and what their philosophy would be.”

Is there any reference made to Hawkgirl?
There’s a lot of referencing to Shayera/ Hawkgirl throughout as his one true love, given the fact that these two have a tremendous history as thousand year-old reincarnated beings who continue to find each other lifetime after lifetime. And we will learn where she is now.

What mood is Hawkman in?
When we first see him, he is a shell of his former self with a heir of cynicism. He wears a lot of grief and guilt and pain over what happened to his friends and the society as a whole and his failures in letting that happen.

Do you change your voice when you switch from Carter Hall to Hawkman?
Yeah. Given his many lives lived, I wanted to build a character with a more fierce quality which involved changing my vocal tone.

You didn’t channel Christian Bale and have a freak-out moment on set, did you?
The way the Hawkman mask fits on me is very Batman-ish, so at one point I passed Smallville’s director of photography who used to work with my wife (actress Lexa Doig) and me on Andromeda, and said with a deep Christina Bale voice, ‘We are done professionally.’

Is there a glimmer of hope offered that the Society could reassemble?
There will be a debate going on about whether we should have formed in the first place, and whether anyone should do it. We came together for the benefit of mankind, but then we were treated appallingly, so there will be a debate as to whether it would make sense for the Justice League to pick up our mantle and do it again.

And you’ll be reprising your Stargate character on two more upcoming episodes of Stargate: Universe?
Yes. I made a cameo in the pilot and they’re keeping me alive to pass the torch. The next one coming up is titled Human, and back-references my character first initiating Dr. Rush (Robert Carlyle) into the Stargate program, but my character exists more as a figment of Dr. Rush’s imagination. And then in Subversion, near the end of the season, we’ll see myself and Richard Dean Anderson helping out with an investigation where sabotage took place back on Earth.

You also have an episode of Sanctuary coming up?
I think I’m in episode nine playing a murky character named Jimmy who finds out he has a sketchy background similar to Kate Freelander played by Agam Darshy.

What’s the chances of us seeing Hawkman return?
The way things land at the end of it all, there’s an open door for Carter Hall to be revisited and possibly be part of further mentoring Clark down the road.

Source: TV Guide Magazine

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