Tom Welling is the star of The CW’s long running hit Smallville. He’s been stepping behind the camera more and more and now he’s producing the network’s new series Hellcats. Cheerleading may be a different world from superheroes but it’s still in the family.
Tom Welling on Hellcats
“I think that when this project started coming together, we knew that this was going to be a perfect fit for The CW,” Welling said. “I know that there were some relationships that I had at The CW who, if it wasn't for Smallville, I wouldn't have had those relationships. So I was able to go to them and speak to them very easily, with sort of an open environment, and it really came together quickly, and here we are.”
“Here” is the Television Critics Association fall press tour where the network unveiled Hellcats. “This project was based on a book called Cheer, and through that book we were able to sort of understand that there was a whole world here that hadn't been tapped into. Then, I just thought of it as a great story. I think there's a lot of heart. I think there's a lot of struggle from all the characters, especially our lead. And it's sort of that journey as her finding her identity and what she's going to do with her life. I found that interesting.”
Casting the cheer squad required more than just screen tests. “To get to the physical part, when we were casting, that was a huge component. I mean, not only did you have to act and look the part, but then you had to audition through a dance number. These girls, I mean, they came out, and they nailed it. So we were really looking for a lot from actors on the performance side. When they are not on set, they are in rehearsals. What you will see and think about is people turning on this show expecting or maybe even preconceived notions and I think you are going to be surprised. There's a lot of heart here, and the physicality, I think, will surprise you.”
If the show is a hit, the actresses might outgrow the college cheerleader roles. That’s not a problem in a world where Tom Welling is still young Clark Kent. “Actually, the rule has always been one year of high school on a show is two years of a series. That's usually the rule. Not in our case, but usually. I think it has to be open-ended.”