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October 4, 2015

'Smallville' Star Cassidy Freeman Talks Granny Goodness, Michael Rosenbaum and Tess's Journey

by Laura Prudom, posted Apr 15th 2011 12:00PM
Cassidy FreemanAs the unpredictable Tess Mercer (aka Lutessa Lena Luthor), Cassidy Freeman has spent the past three seasons of 'Smallville' vacillating between villain and trusted Super-sidekick, acting as both CEO of LuthorCorp and the interim brains behind Watchtower in Chloe's absence.

Though her generally straight-laced character has a tendency to keep secrets, the effervescent Chicago native has none of Tess's cool reserve, and she was happy to drop a few hints about what's coming up for Ms. Mercer after 'Smallville' returns from hiatus tonight at 8PM ET on The CW.

Join us after the jump for Freeman's thoughts on meeting Tess's absentee half-brother, Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum) for the first time, her most memorable moments from filming the show, and the conclusion of Tess's story as 'Smallville' comes to an end. Spoilers ahead.

TV Squad: From previews we've seen for tonight's 'Kent,' Tess is once again going to be the object of Clark Luthor's affections -- will she be able to resist him?
Cassidy Freeman:
He's pretty irresistible, but I think that she's more worried about the big picture at this point, you know? As nice as it is to feel wanted, it's also like she's got so much at stake with this, so I think that she's pretty strong willed in what she wants right now. That's not to say it isn't difficult ...

What else can you tease about Tess's arc in the last few episodes?
It's pretty great part, I've got to say, even Tom commented to me on how cool my story was at the end of the show. I was like, 'if you want, we can change costumes, play the other parts, I don't know, I look kinda like you, if we just add a few inches of height ...' [Laughs]

I love her story arc, because it's about choice over fate, and I think that that's a very controversial and different thing to put in a superhero show. Most people on superhero shows -- because we know their arc already -- have a fate of if they're going to be good or if they're going to be bad, a hero or a villain. Something that's interesting about Tess is that we found out that her bloodline is villainous, but that she has to kind of make a choice to go with the good guys.

I think that we all have a sense of wanting to belong as she does; I think that Lionel is very manipulative and very persistent sometimes, but, I also think she's trying to follow her heart and I'm not sure she knows what that is yet. So, that's her arc at the end of the season: does she go good, or does she go bad, and the beauty of the fact that that's her choice.

Do you feel that Tess has redeemed herself this season? She was certainly straddling the line between good and bad at certain points over the past three years.
Yeah, I think my first reaction to that is like, for what? I don't think that what she did ... I mean, yeah, she killed a few people, but we've all killed a few people right? [Laughs] Yeah, I think she's definitely proved herself and her loyalty -- but I think that I'm also biased!

Did you get the chance to film any scenes with Michael Rosenbaum in the series finale?
I did, I was a lucky person, and it was really cool. It was almost more exciting than what was happening, and what we were saying; the fact that after two years, I actually get to meet him and work with him. Everybody talked about him so much that I felt like I already knew him.

What else can you tell us about your role in the finale?
Well, [as for Tess's choice between good and evil], we won't find that out until the finale, which is really cool for my character. It builds up and it builds up and it builds up and you're not sure, you're not sure, and you find out at the end which way she goes. It's really cool.

I hear that Granny Goodness is also returning for the finale, will she and Tess get a rematch?
We will get a little bit of a rematch, but it's nothing compared to our entire episode together ['Abandoned'], but it is good. It wraps things a few things up between us and she does come back and Christine [Willes], who plays Granny Goodness is a really fun actor to work with, so that was fun.

Will we see any resolution with Tess and Emil after that hilarious video at the end of 'Fortune'?
[Laughs] Yeah -- it's not hit straight over the head because you know, with only six episodes left, there's a lot of other stuff to figure out, but it is touched upon and resolved.

How would you describe Tess's relationship with Lois in the last few episodes? They've been antagonistic in the past, but seem to have found some equilibrium now.
Yeah, I think Tess and Lois have finally figured out a friendship, which makes me really happy. You know, I think it's very common for girls, if they're not related on 'Smallville,' then they're catty with one another; Lois [Erica Durance] and Chloe [Allison Mack] even have some issues and they're cousins. So, I think it was nice for us to be two strong women who played very different roles in Clark's life and Oliver's life both, and also in each other's lives. So, I'm happy with how we ended up.

Cassidy FreemanWhat has been the most fulfilling part of playing Tess over the past three seasons?
I think I learned a lot as an actress, playing someone who's so unlike me; it really showed me how much of this work can be technical and how it broadens your horizons as an actress. But, it was also really cool to watch her sort of have some humanness breathed into her in this last season: Getting to laugh and getting to have scenes with Little Alexander, getting to play the many roles of a human instead of just the one role of a villain.

If you had to pick just one, what has been your favorite episode to shoot over the course of the series?
I really enjoyed 'Power' in season 8 with Allison directing, not only because I got to totally, like, kill someone and have blood splattered on my face, but it was cool to watch Allison, as a co-creator, direct. But, I don't know, that's a really hard question. There's maybe like two or three from each season that I love a lot and I couldn't think of names right now for you.

Do you have any projects in the pipeline now that 'Smallville' has wrapped?
We start shooting 'Longmire' [a pilot for A&E] at the end of the month -- I haven't even met the rest of the cast yet, but I'm pretty excited about it, it should be fun. And a movie that I produced with my brother, actually two years ago, is coming out in theaters in June. It's called 'YellowBrickRoad' -- it's a horror movie. It's about a group of people who follow a trail that an entire town once walked down and disappeared, but they walk down it to try and figure out what went wrong. The tag line is "They went to find the evil in the forest, but the forest found the evil in them." It's pretty fun and my brother and I got to play brother and sister in a movie, which was unique.

'Smallville' returns with an all-new episode tonight at 8PM ET on The CW, followed by an all-new 'Supernatural'. Share your predictions for Tess's fate below!

Follow Laura on Twitter: @LauinLA

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