“I felt like I was basically retired and it sort of woke me up.
But it needed to happen.”When Welling emerged from his self-imposed six-month isolation, he had two goals: “I wanted to play a human and I wanted to be a part of a film whose theme was bigger than whatever character I was playing,” he said.
And this being a Nicholas Sparks story means there’s a love triangle — only, as the marketing material reveals, it’s Travis, and not Ryan, who is destined to be with Gabby.
“I realized that my excuse to support not wanting to do another television show didn't work for me anymore. I heard myself and I was like, You're a fucking idiot.”Eventually, Welling came around to the idea.Fortunately, Clark had no idea what the hell he was doing and I had no idea what the hell I was doing,” Welling said with a laugh. “I'm very proud of shows like Arrow [and] The Flash. They're able to ground these characters so that the viewer can relate on a human level to people who used to be only in two dimensions.” Just like Smallville did — and that was an important effort Welling and the producers insisted upon from day one.“We kind of grew up together.”Smallville followed young Clark Kent as he went from anonymous farm boy to iconic Man of Steel, all while trying to maintain a sense of normalcy and find true love. “This needed to be a show about Clark Kent, not about Superman,” the actor said. When we got into Season 5, they started to say, 'Well...Yes, Ryan tries to win Gabby back after she leaves him for Travis, but he’s more interested in her happiness than his ego — and that was one of Welling’s biggest attractions to the character.“I never saw him as a bad guy, because that would be too easy,” he said of Ryan. Like, really hard for her — and I think we did a good job of that.”While Welling has found roles in Hollywood that coincide with his professional desires, thus far those opportunities have only allowed him to act. “I grew up unknowingly looking at guys like [Robert] Redford and [Warren] Beatty — guys who created opportunities for themselves as soon as they could,” he said, which is why he launched Tom Welling Productions toward the end of Smallville’s run.
But that mistake ended up informing his performance in an unexpected way.