Michael, how you doing?
You sound pretty tired, man.
Oh man, they got me working around the horn.
Anything exciting you can tell us about the next few episodes?
Well, I guess Lex steps over the line.
Yeah, but he does it with the wrong person this time, and people just find out some of his motives and what he’s up to. He can’t really lie his way out of this one.
Well, he’s got to turn into the nefarious villain sooner or later.
That’s what I’m saying. In fact, there’s a scene in the last episode where he loses himself for a minute, which had been building up. In the wedding episode, five minutes before he gets married, Lex kills this guy below the church in the basement, and then five minutes later, walks up the stairs and gets married. But that’s just Lex Luthor. Inevitably, he’s going to become evil, but he’s still fighting it.
The last few seasons have revolved less around villains falling into the same body of water, getting mutated by kryptonite and attacking the town. The episodes seemed to have shifted into more complex ideas.
I think that was really the turning point, when we stopped doing the 'freak of the week'. I mean, when you’re doing 22 episodes a year, you sometimes have to go that route. But, I think people got tired of it. We found what worked and we worked more on character and focused on Lex Luthor’s future and why he becomes who he is. I think fans like it.
He has to change eventually.
It’s great. Kids are a little more frightened, and they look at me like, “Oh my god…he really is a bad guy!” That’s kind of cool. I like to scare a kid every once in a while.
When you were a kid, you couldn’t have possibly seen yourself as a Lex Luthor.
No way. I remember being a little kid with Superman Underoos, flying up the stairs and acting like an idiot. I never thought I would be the bad guy. The irony is, I was always thought of as the funny guy, all through college, doing sitcoms and doing stand-up. I always thought that is what would get me known and somehow, I land one of the most serious parts on TV. Once they shaved my head, the eyebrow kind of lifted up, and it changed everything.
How many interviews do you do that start of with a question about the hair?
It used to be the very first question they would ask. For the first year or two, I think I liked it, but I’m ready to grow it back for good. I have to be one of the youngest characters on TV to be bald. Can you think of any?
Also, it’s not just shaving my head, but wearing three layers of makeup so you can’t see the hairline. I’ve definitely become a little burnt out from it. One time, I was so bored in the makeup trailer that I actually added up my time in the chair and it was like 600 or 700 hours over the course of six years. That’s pretty wild.
There must be a little worry every season that after shaving it and not seeing it for so long, that there would be less of it there.
That would be the worst thing ever.
Wouldn’t it be ironic? You may literally turn into Lex Luthor.
Oh man, I would be crushed. I would have to go and get the transplant. I can’t walk around lie that.
It would probably pigeonhole you as Lex for the rest of your life.
That it would, but that’s the good thing about being bald right now, is that everyone associates me with Lex.
You’d think that in season two or three, they could have had Lex fall into the pond with all the meteor rocks and all of a sudden, he comes out with a full head of hair.
I wanted to do that. I went through every scenario. I was like, “Hey, come on! This is Lex Luthor! Look at Gene Hackman. He wore wigs in all the Superman movies,” and they were like “Yeah, but that’s later and that was a little cheesy and we don’t want you to be cheesy. We want you to be real.” I went through everything, believe me.