Tidal: KryptonSite Speaks With Alan Ritchson (Aquaman)
October 2005 - Interview conducted by Craig Byrne (PlanetKrypton@aol.com)
October 20, 2005 episode of Smallville introduces another
DC Comics super-hero to the show's mythos. Alan Ritchson
plays young Arthur "A.C" Curry, a marine biology major
who happens to have some powers of his own. You all might be
more familiar with A.C. by the name he goes by in the comic
books - Aquaman.
meeting of young Clark Kent with his fishy superhero counterpart
isn't without precedent. In Superboy #171 back in the
late 1960's, as you can see to your left, the two characters
had met. (Thanks to Kryppy for that scan!)
Superman has had the honor of being portrayed in many live-action
movies and television, Aquaman hasn't been so lucky. A failed
TV pilot was prepared in the 1990's for an environementally-friendly
Aquaman series that never came into being. In the past
year, Aquaman has been a running gag on Entourage as the lead
character of Vince Chase is preparing for the role in a big-screen
movie. (We're hoping Russ Dimino can prepare a "Many
Faces Of..." to tie in. Stay tuned.) When Tom Welling
announced to a room full of critics back in July that Aquaman
would be coming to Smallville in the fifth season's fourth episode,
there were some giggles from the audience. Could Aquaman be
for the audience, Alan Ritchson, the actor chosen to play Aquaman
in the episode, titled "Aqua," takes the role very
seriously. Alan is a man of many talents - in addition to this
and some other upcoming roles he also is a sucessful model and
has produced his own album. TV buffs may also recognize him
from his appearances as a contestant on American Idol.
Ritchson was kind enough to take the time to participate in
an interview here at KryptonSite. Be warned there are spoilers
within. And don't forget to watch "Aqua" Thursday,
October 20 at 8pm on the WB!
Had you seen Smallville prior to landing the role in
the episode "Aqua?"
ALAN RITCHSON: I saw a few episodes when it first came
out, and I thought it was really good. I generally dont
watch a lot of tv, so I havent followed season 3 or 4
a whole lot. When I found out I had the role, I was given Season
4 before it came out in stores, and I was definitely hooked.
What aspects of the show appealed to you?
AR: I like the depth of the show. One of the reasons
to me - I'm sure the fans who really like the show too probably
have echoed this for years now, but I think one of the reasons
that, to me that it has done so well is the depth of the writing
and the creativity, in that it goes beyond a television show
script, and that it delves deeper into the human psyche. I think
thats why its doing so well. It deals with human
issues that are at our core, and I think that's why it's done
so well, and I think that's why a lot of fans are hooked, because
although you've got the comic book side to it and the modern-day
appeal and action and all that, I think there's a deeper element
to it, which is something that keeps me involved.
KS: Was it the deeper involvement in the Aquaman character
that interested you in taking the role?
That was definitely part of it. There were a lot of elements
about the role that I was really interested in.
the physicality of it, the newness and freshness of it. Aquaman
hasn't really been done a whole lot, so I felt privileged to
- not to be the first to play the character, but I felt like
I could give it a fresh spin. You know, Aquaman, A.C., hes
got a deep past. I think he connects to a lot of people on a
deep level with is history, and his family, and where he comes
from. Whether or not those elements come across on screen I
don't know, but they were there in my mind, and the research
that I've done, and the way that I decided to play the character.
of the reasons why I enjoyed it so much.
KS: Did you look at any Aquaman comics as research material?
AR: I did. Quite a few, actually.
KS: What era of Aquaman did you take a look at?
Honestly, I didn't know that there were different eras, but
once I started to really get into it, I realized that there's
like the classic, there's the contemporary, there's the Golden
Age. There's a lot of different places I could have pulled from,
and one of the things I decided in order to serve this character
was that I think there are parts and pieces of him from each
era. I'm sure the viewers and somebody who likes and knows about
the character are going to see pieces of each era, but to me
it seems like his early years of conception. You know, the powers
- the super, super powers - his worth as far as that goes might
not have really been there early, early on, but he seems like
a very upstanding character, and a fine person, and he had those
good qualities about him. And then there are his later years,
where there are qualities about him that I wanted to pull from
too. A little bit more aggressive, or a hot-headed side.
KS: It sounds like you did your homework on the character.
AR: I felt like it was important, because once I found
out how serious the fan base was, I definitely wanted to do
it justice if I could. A lot of people take it really, really
seriously, and I wanted to take it that seriously too.
Aquaman's kind of got a reputation for being one of the lamer
members of the Justice League. What, if anything, did you bring
to the character to make him seem a bit more on the "cooler"
AR: I think there were a few things that we came up with.
Some of the abilities that he has, like in the fight scene with
Clark, some of the abilities he has might be unexpected if we
were sticking to a certain comic book or a certain era.
He's a strong
character and he's got some strong abilities and he uses them.
The fact that he knows himself, and he has that strong-willed
attitude and his drive to not let anybody stop himthats
something that will make any character strong.
hes a strong character and I really wanted that to come
across, because so many people say hes worthless, he talks
to the fishes.
also, in talking with the producers and the director, we decided
he could have some greater abilities. So, he's got the ability
to generate the energy balls underwater, and of course, he can
still talk to fishes and all that, and he's got the super speed,
and the super strength. So, I think he is a worthy character,
as far as our depiction goes.
Will his determination inspire Clark?
AR: I certainly hope so. Clark is going to continue to
search, to really find his purpose, for some time, and I think
he has some decisions to make.
But I certainly
think that A.C. left an impression on him, maybe moreso than
some of the other characters that have been on, who have just
left him jaded.
that A.C. really leaves an impression on Clark, makes him think
"maybe I should do something more with this. Maybe I'm
not doing enough."
those questions might linger. So, I hope that it does leave
an impression on him, and help the story develop even further.
the door left open for the character to return?
I think it is. I mean, I don't die. [laughs] There was the love
interest there with Lois Lane, on both sides. A.C. knows what
he's meant to do, though, so he goes his own way.
on good terms with Clark. I don't see why it couldn't happen
in the future, but after this episode, basically, he swims off
into the sunset.
KS: Say "Aqua" gets incredibly huge ratings,
and the producers approach you about doing a spin-off featuring
the Aquaman character. Would you consider it?
AR: I think I absolutely would. I've been asked that
a few times, and it's kind of left me to consider, what would
a series be about with Aquaman? So I've actually spent a lot
of time thinking about that, and I've got a few ideas about
how we could - - I wouldn't want to interfere with the Smallville
theme. The show is so great that I don't know if the WB would
let the clash of those titans happen, because I think it would
be a show with a similar fan base and the similar theme with
a super hero. I think it could be really cool, and I have a
few ideas, so I would definitely consider it, but it would be
up to them to decide.
there any member of the cast that you worked with that stood
out in helping make Smallville a great experience for
AR: Each of the cast members that I worked with. I worked
with Kristin Kreuk a little bit, just for a couple scenes, and
we talked a little bit off set.
But I really
spent a lot of time with Tom, with Erica, and with Michael,
and really each of them in their own ways made the experience
really exceptional for me, and I think I took a little piece
of each of them with me.
was the first person I met on set, so she introduced me to everybody,
and really helped me feel comfortable about me walking into
a Season 5 of a successful show. 'Cause they've been doing a
really good job with it, and it's sort of like I was just coming
into their home territory, so she really made me feel at ease
and comfortable about everything, and she's so great to work
with. I really enjoyed working with her.
Tom is such
a leader. I was really impressed with the way that he conducts
business on set. How professional he is. He gets things done,
and he helps move things along, and keeps things light and fun.
And then at the same time, there are things about Smallville
stylistically that maybe I wouldn't know unless I've been on
the set for five years, and he would give me these little tips
and pointers that would just help tremendously. I was so grateful
to him for all that.
And then Michael Rosenbaum. He's a character. You know, in times
where I was maybe feeling a little overwhelmed, or if I was
getting stressed out about a scene, he'd come in and he would
just start telling stories, and he's hilarious. So his ability
to just have so much fun on set, and then in an instant turn
it on, it was kind of fun to watch, and I think that was interesting
to be around. Just all of them were really incredible to be
around. So I felt privileged to be part of that cast for a moment.
Smallville is quite a distance from Miami. What brings A.C.
all the way to Smallville?
AR: He knows what's going on with the marine life, and
there's something killing off the marine life, so he's using
his detective skills and his abilities to talk to fish or whatever
it might have been to narrow his search down to the Smallville
area, where he knew that something there was killing off the
fish, so that's what brings him to the scene. He finds out that
it's from some weapons testing on behalf of LuthorCorp, so he
wants to put an end to that. Along the way he meets Lois Lane,
and sparks fly there, so that might keep him there a little
longer than he would have.
he shows up is just because he knows that there's something
affecting his home, so he's out to find out what it is.
You grew up in Florida, is that correct?
AR: I did. I grew up in Niceville, Florida.
KS: I actually got an e-mail from one of your fans in
AR: That's funny. You know, the people around that area
are always really great, and every time I've done something,
I always get a good response from the home area. I was in a
military family, we moved around a lot, but that's where we
I was 18, I moved down to Miami, and I started working down
there, and at that time I was doing some modeling, which was
doing really well. I was getting involved in the music industry,
which is just now starting to come to a point, and then I moved
out here about four months ago. Just started doing the acting
thing, and to get involved with some more music industry folks.
So that's what's brought me out here, and it's been going well
since, and I love it out here.
Would you ultimately like to do movie work, or more TV?
AR: You know, I think every actor - I don't want to speak
for everybody, but I think it's been pretty clear to me that
pretty much everybody's goal is to get into feature film, just
because that seems like the biggest market. To me, I don't know,
TV is huge, and I really wouldn't mind being on a TV show for
year after year after year, but I think my big goal has always
been, as far as acting is concerned, is to do movies. But I
don't know, man. I had shot some movies before I went up there
[to Vancouver], and it's a different experience. It's
a different pace. It's a different vibe. I don't know. I really
enjoyed myself working on the TV show, so I really wouldn't
mind either way. I guess Im just going to wait and see
KS: I hear you're working on a Beowulf feature. What
kind of a role do you play there?
AR: They're animating me for the character of Beowulf.
It's going to be in a style that they did Polar Express in,
where it's like ultra-realistic animation, so I'm doing all
the motion capture and all that, and scanning for that, so I
was getting a wig-fitting today.
You have a CD coming up? What can you say about that, and what
genre of music can you compare it to?
AR: Well, I've spent about two years recording that album,
from start to finish, from pre- to post-production, so I've
written, produced, and mixed the album myself, so I'm very proud
of that. It was a lot of hard work, and a lot of hours. I'm
just happy that I finally have something to be proud of that
I can show people, because I've met a lot of people along the
way that just want something now, and it's like I'm not gonna
show you anything or let you listen to anything until it's done,
so Im really proud of the fact that its done.
thing about it though, is that with the success that I had from
modeling, I decided to go ahead and start a publishing company,
a music production facility, and a record label, which I have
incorporated and all that, so I could own the rights to the
music and I could also retain the creativity, because I knew
that I wanted to do the production and I had already written
the material, and to take care of my own style and image, because
I think that some of the decisions that I've made on the CD,
wouldn't have been the decisions that a major record label would
have made. I think somebody would have tried to take somebody
like me and make 11 or 12 songs that sound exactly the same,
and market me to one group of, like, 12
year old girls, and that would have been it, and I wouldn't
have had any say in it, and I didn't want to go in that direction.
So, the music is pop. It's all pop. You know, whether it be
on the extreme of the hip-hop/rap side, or on the extreme of
the blues jazz acoustic side.
to me, the beautiful thing about it, is that I think anybody
that gets their hands on the CD, whether you're a 70 year old
man, or a 12 year old girl, I think there's gonna be at least
one song on there that you'll connect to and enjoy.
[You can order the CD at AlanRitchson.com
- the site is constantly improving, and soon will allow capability
for credit card orders and more.]
You're very fit. How often do you train?
AR: [Laughs] Actually, I've been on a better regimen
since I've been back from Canada, than before I went. I mean,
I've worked out every day; I haven't missed a day since I was
back. Just because of the nature of what I do, if I don't work
out, I don't work as much.
went up there I was working out three or four times a week,
consistently, so I was trying to stay consistent. I didn't really
think anything of it, as far as the character goes, but I guess
I knew they wanted somebody that could take their shirt off.
I don't know. I've been working out more since I've been back,
because I've been like, oh, gosh, if I start doing Aquaman stuff
all the time, I've really gotta be on it. [Laughs]
Have you seen any footage from the episode, and how does it
AR: I've seen a little bit of footage from the episode,
when I was doing some ADR work. There were no special effects
that I had seen yet, I think, so it was still kind of raw footage,
but just to see everything edited together, it was really impressive.
Cause when youre there, you wonder how this is gonna
I know that the people that work on the show behind the scenes
are just phenomenal, but to see it come to life, it kind of
blew me away. It looked really good.
would again like to thank Alan Ritchson and his management for
taking the time to arrange this interview, and thanks to Wendy
for the editing assistance. "Aqua" airs on Thursday,
October 20 at 8PM on the WB. Not only does the episode introduce
Aquaman to the mythos, but we also first see James Marsters
as Professor Milton Fine!