Over the course of its epic ten-year run, The CW's Superman-inspired drama "Smallville" has morphed its tone, focus and even cast several times to keep fans engaged. And in the past few seasons, the series has synched up well with the broader plans for DC Entertainment by becoming a place where DC Comics characters from Hawkman and the Justice Society to Amanda Waller and the agents of Checkmate. Tonight at 8:00 PM EST/PST, "Smallville" casts its character net out into both the Superman mythos and the DCU once again as reporter Cat Grant and ace assassin Deadshot both make their series debuts in "Shield."
"Cat has a much different energy than anyone that's on the show right now. It makes it unique and fun and sets a different dynamic for the characters on the show already," actress Keri Lynn Pratt told CBR News about her turn as the feisty reporter who moves in on Lois Lane's turf while the show's starlet is on assignment in Africa. "You first see Cat setting up her desk at the Daily Planet and moving right in like she belongs there. She's very excited to have this job and let the world know her views and what she thinks about exposing the vigilantes, which is what she calls the superheroes. She just jumps right into it, so Clark is a bit taken aback by her at first – her earnestness and her girliness. She's very different from Lois. So it's a lot for him to take, but eventually she grows on him."
While Pratt has appeared in a number of teen dramas on the silver and small screen including "Veronica Mars," "Drive Me Crazy" and Brad Meltzer's "Jack & Bobby," the part of Metropolis' resident prowling reporter is her first on-screen exposure to the world of comics – something the actress prepared for by hitting the funny books.
"I was not aware of Cat Grant specifically before I got cast, but I have done quite a bit of research since," she said. "I think on a show like 'Smallville,' which is obviously based on the comics but happens kind of 'pre-comics,' you can change things up. For instance, Cat Grant in the comics is kind of hard-edged and an alcoholic who's had a really tough life. But for me on 'Smallville,' it's Cat before all of that, so it's quite a different feel for the character."
Pratt explained that the majority of her work in this episode was divided between working with star and executive producer Tom Welling and avoiding the assassination attempts set up by actor Bradley Stryker's Deadshot. Of working with the former, she explained, "I didn't have a ton of expectations going into it because Tom is executive producer, and he has been doing the show for ten years. So I was kind of expecting something completely different from what I got when I was there. He is very grounded and down to earth. He's great to work with and very funny. I never felt like I was acting with an executive producer. I think he does a flawless job at separating the two of those things – so when he's acting, he's completely present as an actor, and when there are decisions to be made behind the scenes, I see none of it. He keeps it all behind the scenes, which is probably pretty difficult to do, but he's definitely figured it out."
As for the Deadshot plot, Pratt expressed excitement along with exhaustion about working on an action adventure show, "I went to stunt school 101 on this episode, and I pretty much couldn't walk by the end of it. I was running, I was harnessed, there were explosions – you name it, I did it. It was grueling. It was awesome. It was a totally different experience than I've ever had."
As with all things "Smallville," the pieces threaded into tonight's episode have planned payoff for the longer arc of the final season. Aside from Cat Grant's investigations and explosions, Lois Lane will interact again with archeologist superhero Hawkman in the desert, and Pratt explained that she'll return later on this season. "It's always fun to have the range with a character and the opportunity to develop it. This character's relationship with Clark evolves in this episode, and then I'll be in the 'Isis' episode where she has a bit more interaction with Lois and she actually thinks that Lois is the Blur. So it's been fun finding those relationship moments with both Clark and Lois, which are obviously very different."
Beyond her turn as Grant, Pratt will head back to films in 2011 playing the lead in the romantic comedy "Dorfman" and shooting the drama "The Trouble With The Truth" alongside a cast that includes former TV Lex Luthor John Shea of "Lois & Clark" fame. "Doing superhero work is like this little community," the actress said.
The "Shield" episode of "Smallville" debuts tonight at 8:00 EST/PST on The CW.