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The Lane least traveled

From Sept. 2006 right before Season 6 premiered.

LOS ANGELES – So what if someone else played Lois Lane in the latest Superman movie.

“We all know where she ends up,” says “Smallville’s” Lois, Erica Durance. “The beginning — that’s what’s interesting.”

Cast as Lois in the TV series — which chronicles those early years — Durance says she’s able to learn new things about the character — things other actresses haven’t been able to mine.

Lois is comfortable around men, Durance says, because she grew up on a military base. “So when she sees Clark, this good-looking guy, she’s not all that swoony. Just because everybody else thinks he’s the cat’s meow, she doesn’t.”

The desire to become a reporter? “She has a very curious mind. She likes to get to the heart of every story. She’ll go into a room, assess each person to get what she needs out of them without revealing too much about herself. It’s the same way with her relationships.”

Playing that “discovery” period is easier than stepping into the role Kate Bosworth inherited for “Superman Returns,” Durance says. “Being able to play the youth of it gives me the ability to make mistakes. It was very courageous of (Bosworth) to fill a role like that…and she was good at it.”

But Bosworth wasn’t walking in Durance’s shoes.

A native of Canada (where the show is shot), Durance has been in several sci-fi series — “Andromeda,” “Stargate SG-1” and “Tru Calling” among them — largely because they’re filmed close to home. “I’ve always liked sci-fi,” she says. “It’s part of my growing up experience and there’s a certain kind of nice security.”

Also in “Butterfly Effect 2,” she’s keen on the genre because it delivers morals in an entertaining fashion. “Can we play God if we have choices?” she asks. “Everybody assumes if they had the chance they’d go back and change things for the better.”

Durance, however, is quite happy with the way her life has transpired.

Growing up, “I had an older brother who was in charge of the TV. So we watched what he wanted to watch.” His choice: Superhero and sci-fi shows. “I grew to love them as well.” Lois Lane? “She wasn’t like other women on TV. She was sassy and independent. She relied on herself to get out of situations. She didn’t have a super power. But she was smart.”

When Durance was cast in “Smallville,” “I only had two days before we started. I couldn’t do hours and hours of research. I relied on the creative team and their collective criticism to be able to play a younger Lois.”

In time, she says, she was able to find the right approach.

Now, the 28-year-old is eager to explore the “reporter” phase of Lois’ life. “I’m definitely different from her, but I do go into an audition and try to figure things out, determine who it is I’m dealing with. I watch reporters, too, and see how they operate.”

Old movies — like “Bringing Up Baby” — have helped her tap into that independent spirit.

The end of the series, she says, will likely involve romance between Clark Kent and Lois Lane. “I’m not interested in that. I like watching how they dance around each other, bait each other and not quite fall into the sentimental love story. It’s interesting to see them fight.”

The more screen time she gets, the more Durance gets recognized — as Lois. Fans will identify her as such in public and they’ll ask her questions about “Smallville.”

For the most part, though, people “think I’m their cousin. They’re not quite sure where they’ve seen me. They just recognize me from something.”

Source: Sioux City Journal

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