The Al Gough Interview

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The Al Gough Interview
The road to this interview was long and arduous. It was like being on the road. A long, arduous road. And not only that, but the road that it took me even to get to this long, arduous comparison of written word to metaphorical road was (you guessed it) long. And arduous. Nevertheless, I was in high spirits when I found out that, after six months of trying, I was going to get the chance to speak (by phone, at a safe distance) to one of the minds behind the WB hit, Smallville. And not just one of the guys who paints digital blurs on Tom Welling when he runs or who dabs extra makeup on poor Kristin Kreuk to make sure that her preternatural prettiness is sufficiently covered to ensure that she doesn't short-circuit the cameras used on the show. I was going to speak to one of the creators of the show. Al Gough (rhymes with "cough") was charming, funny and very cool about letting his metaphoric hair down for the interview. It made up for the lengthy wait, and for having to see interviews granted to other media outlets like "John. B.'s website where he kinda likes Smallville and shit, but also has pictures of his band, The Nephilin Sniffers, and some links to Pamela Anderson porn," before us. But I digress. On a late Friday afternoon -- on my birthday, in fact -- I got The Call From Gough. (which turned out to be even better than if Godot had shown up.) About midway through the interview, Al had to go to a meeting, and about a month later, we hooked up again, by phone. Omar: Hi! Al Gough: I love your site, by the way. I think your synopses of the shows are hysterical. I was talking to the president of Warners television. I was relaying to him that I surf the websites after episodes, and telling him about the site. [Chuckles.] They're very funny and you have very good nicknames. I like "Boobs McChesty." That's my favorite. [Note: Boobs McChesty is â„¢Wook from the forums.] OG: I was going to ask. Is she coming back? AG: No. OG: [Laughs.] Wow. So, she won't return. AG: She's done. If she comes back, she's dying. OG: How did Smallville happen? Whose idea was it, and what were the biggest challenges getting it off the ground? AG: The biggest challenge... It started with four of us. [Al Gough, Miles Millar, Mike Tollin, Brian Robbins as executive producers, and Joe Davola.] We were talking with Peter Roth, head of Warners Television. He'd been developing with Tollin/Robbins Productions a young Batman show that didn't go forward because they didn't get the rights. He approached us. We'd worked with him on another show. He told us about this. We said wow, this sounds great. It sounded like a cool idea. Smallville is a part of Superman's life you haven't seen a lot of. We found out later [that] the mythology there is squishy at best. We want basically no suit, no glasses. He can't fly, his powers are emerging. Our biggest change to the mythology was the whole meteor shower. It solved a few problems. It's 1989, so it was caught by a hundred satellites. It masks the entry of Clark into the atmosphere and also gave us stories every week. How do you build stories out of a small town? Kryptonite. Weird things happen. It's sort of Norman Rockwell and Blue Velvet underneath. It just went from there. The other idea was, what if Lex and Clark had been friends when they were younger? Out of that that incredible friendship grew this mythology. It was an interesting place to go. It's a story we've seen celebrated in story and in song.

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