Erica recently claimed the role of "Lois Lane" on The WB's drama series "Smallville", where she has been appearing since September 2004. Her acting credits include the 2002 movie "The Untold", 2003 movie "House Of The Dead" and TV show "Devil Winds." Erica Durance was born in 1978 in Three Hills, Alberta, Canada. Born in Calgary to a truck driver, Joel, and librarian, Gail, Durance grew up with an older brother and sister on a turkey farm in Three Hills, Alberta. After school, she moved to Vancouver to start her acting career, which has primarily included low-budget horror films and guest roles on sci-fi TV shows. Also sometimes credited as Erica Parker, she has appeared in episodes of Andromeda and The Chris Isaak Show. She was also in the movie "House of the Dead." "Of all the different female leads in comics, Lois Lane was always my favorite because she was so involved," she said in a New York Post interview. "She was always so involved in everything going on — she's a go-getter, she was really in there, quite tough and kind of a hero in her own right."
Erica Durance is Getting Married
Best wishes to Erica Durance, who we have learned is getting married on Saturday, January 8, 2005. Her husband to be is David Palffy, who played "Anubis" as recently as Season Eight of the TV series Stargate SG-1.
A small wedding is planned, but don't look for the two to be honeymooning anytime soon. "Not right now, because we're both kind of busy," Palffy told the popular Stargate website GateWorld. "We're just going to wait for the next opportunity to put together a honeymoon. We recently bought a house together, so we've been fairly busy. Some people buy a house and get married next year, but we're doing it all at once. Get it all over with!"
Erica Durance: Changing Lanes
In the biggest peiece of SMALLVILLE casting since, well, Clark, Erica Durance talks to Paul Simpson about taking on Lois Lane...
Virtually ever since SMALLVILLE began, fans have been asking which other characters from the Superman universe will be making their way to the small Kansas town. One of the most eagerly anticipated has been Clark Kent's future wife, Lois Lane, with numerous theories abounding that somewhere down the line Chloe Sullivan would change her name and become Lois. That theory was knocked in the head in "Delete" when Chloe revealed that Lois Lane was actually her cousin, and in the first episode of the fourth season, Lois comes to Smallville to try to find out what happened to Chloe when the safe house she was in blew up (in "Covenant").
Lois is played by Canadian actress Erica Durance, who very kindly took a few minutes away from her lunch break filming "Devoted" (the fourth episode of season four) to talk about arriving on the SMALLVILLE set.
"I'm from a town in Alberta called Three Hills," she explains. "There are only about 3,500 people there. I actually grew up on a turkey farm-very Smallville. I know about small towns! I grew up there and did all my schooling there."
Acting is something that has brought her pleasure throughout her life. "I've always loved the whole acting thing," she admits. "I got into it through singing. I did vocal training for about 12 years and got into the whole Broadway musical type of scene. I had a fantastic teacher who was into drama, and she inspired me. It's a bit intangible trying to explain what fascinates me about it, because it's the whole idea. I was just born with it. It was something that pulled me to it. I want to be a part of interesting stores, and I love the challenge of making them come to life, and challenging
myself. It all sounds a bit cheesy, but I just love it. I've always come back to it. I find myself the most excited and happy when I am performing or acting."
After traveling to festivals and appearing in school productions, Erica decided to try her luck professionally. "I moved up to Vancouver," she says. "I wanted to get my feet wet in a smaller area than Los Angeles when I gave it a try. Then I fell in love with Vancouver, so I keep staying here and not moving down to LA!"
Like many actors who appear to have come out of nowhere, Erica has worked hard and gone through what she describes as "the whole scheme of what people have to go through." While continuing to study acting, she took on some background work, appearing as an extra in the various productions that shoot around the British Columbian capital, and then graduated to doing some commercials. "I did some bit parts, and then last year, I launched," she says. "I read for the pilot of TARZAN for [SMALLVILLE pilot director] David Nutter and he brought me down to Los Angeles to test with Warner Bros. They ended up signing me for that year for the pilot season. I didn't do TARZAN, but I did get another one of their pilots called 111 GRAMERCYPARK. That didn't get picked up, so I came back to Vancouver, and kept studying. I went on the various series here--I did guest appearances on ANDROMEDA, STARGATE, and TRU CALLING--and kept on studying. Then Lois Lane came up, and they brought me down to Los Angeles to test."
Erica's casting was only announced shortly before filming began on the fourth season, and she admits that it was quite a rush before she started work. However, she didn't need to do much homework on the character of Lois Lane. "When I was younger I was into all sorts of comics," she recalls. "I had all the different types of comics, all that kind of stuff, and for a while there my mom was concerned that I was going to continue reading those and not books. 'Can you read a book now?' she'd ask! I was into Superman--it's been something that I've always enjoyed and loved the story. As a little girl, it was quite a romantic idea. Here was a man who saved your life and flew you around the world and all those fantastic things. He's the perfect guy. What I like about the Lois Lane character is that she is also a heroine. She doesn't see herself as purely dependent upon
people, and although Superman ends up saving her and flying her around, she will still go at a problem, and say, 'I'm going to get myself out of this.' She has a fairly spunky independent spirit and that kind of intrigued me. I also went to the movies, and of course I liked the Christopher Reeve films a lot!"
She considers the legend of Superman to be almost timeless. "I think it's something that everybody connects to," she says, "Obviously, it's not realistic, but for women here's a chance to have a fellow that's smart and humble in real life, yet inside he's got all these great powers, and he's not [conceited] about it. All of a sudden he can save your life. Not that I want to be carried off and saved all the time..." But the odd occasion would be quite nice? "Yes, exactly. And what man wouldn't want to be Superman, to be able to do all that crazy stuff? I think it continues to have the same effect on everybody."
Erica has had a few opportunites to discuss Lois' character with the show's executive producers, Al Gough and Miles Millar. "Obviously I'm still discovering what they want and I'm seeing what they're putting in the writing and learning their picture of it," she points
out, "but what's interesting is that we're seeing where Lois comes from, why she is like she is, why she has the idiosyncrasies she has, as she discovers life. She still has some of the obvious younger sensibilities. She's not in her 30s and been in her career for years and years, but she has started to develop some of the personality traits that are so helpful to being a journalist."
It's not just dedication to the craft that's required. "We're seeing how she acclimates to certain situations," Erica explains. "She's a real go-getter but she can look at a situation and go, 'With this
person to get what I need, I do this, and with this person I do that.' Not that that means she's not honest, but just knows how to get from A to B with everybody. Yet the fun thing is that there's still some humanity there, and there are some vulnerable moments. Some of the things that she's still dealing with make [her development] fun. Because we're seeing her before becomeing the 'real' Lois character of the comics, we get to play with it a little bit. There are a lot of really cool things and I'm having fun seeing how it builds more and more."
The actress admits that she did feel a little nervous coming onto the set. "It all happened really fast, so I didn't have a chance to think too much, but it was potentially daunting," she says. "It's like a family there. They get along fine, and they know how each other works. It's like that when you're a day player and you're coming into this tightly knit group. But the difference between being a day player and this was that I knew that I was playing a part that was beloved by many people, and the cast and crew have been around for few seasons together, so there were definately some nerves there. I tried not to focus on it too much, because it would take away from my trying to work."
To her relief, she notes that, "I think that it dissipated when I realized who I'm dealing with here. Everybody has been extremely welcoming. I haven't had any bad experiences with people, right from the start. Tom was the first person I met and he was so real, unaffected and cool, very down to earth. The whole place has the idea of a team working together to make something good. I found that everybody has been really generous. I'm slowly getting to work with all the cast and having some fun experiences. The producers are really great, too."
She is also full of praise for the directors she's worked with. "Greg Beeman was my first director on the show. It was great to have his personality there," she laughs. "I have a tendency to be a little bit nervous, and he worked it so that I was able to relax. James Marshall had his way of doing that, and it was fantastic as well, so I started to relax and unwind. I'm slowly getting into it,
and as the episodes go by, I'm sure it'll continue."
She's also enjoying working with veteran actor Michael Ironside, who plays Lois' father, General Sam Lane. "We have a really fun time," she says. "It's different than with the others. Michael has been around for a really long time, so it's interesting to watch him work and be in a scene with him. He's been really generous, and there were a couple of times I had a few questions and he's been really great about saying, 'Hey, this might work'. He's really nice. We hit it off well, and there's some good stuff going on with our relationship. We've only had two scenes [so far] so I haven't seen him a lot, but I think we're going to have some really fun stuff to work on. Every character is obviously different and it's fun to be with that kind of personality: he's playing a part that is really
aggressive as well, and I'm meant to be an assertive person myself."
Erica also admits to noting the "twinkle" in John Glover's eyes as they filmed their scenes together for the first episode. "John and I got on very well," she laughs. "I think he's an excellent actor. It
was one of my first scenes, and he made it very easy to work with him. He was watching me playing, and I hope we have quite a few more scenes [still to come]."
She admits that "finding the fine line" in Lois' character is going to be her biggest challenge. "There are moments when she's vulnerable and she's a human being and I have to play those
carefully," she notes. "Then there are times when she's calculating and she has to guage a situation, and go in and learn what's going on. She has those moments of being really assertive, but she also needs a friend. Obviously as I get more comfortable and discover Lois, it'll feel more natural and I'll be able to fit in, and just really play. The writing will show what the producers want to do and it'll be good to be able to sink into it, but that only comes with time. It's all really exciting for me--I've no complaints!"
Newcomer Erica Durance lands a takeoff role
Who's Hot: Erica Durance
Why Now: She makes her debut as TV's newest Lois Lane on tonight's Smallville.
The buzz: With the addition of this smart, sassy actress, Clark Kent's (Tom Welling) high school fling with Lana Lang (Kristin Kruek) might be over faster than a speeding bullet.
Those of you who were holding off watching Smallville until it morphed into Superman: It's time to set your TiVos. Tonight's fourth season premiere on WB (8 pm ET?PT) moves Clark Kent closer to his heroic destiny than ever before as he's discovered naked in a cornfield and draped with a red cape (OK, it's actually a heavy blanket) by none other than Lois Lane.
Canadian beauty Erica Durance, 26, has been cast in the high-profile role which, like previous Loises Margot Kidder and Teri Hatcher (Lois & Clark), is likely to lead her down a lane to superfame.
"Finding our Lois was almost as difficult as casting our pilot again," series creator Al Gough says. "We wanted to make sure we did it right Margot was the gold standard, so we wanted to find somebody who had that combination of being very pretty, but also very smart, and with a wit."
Born in Calgary to a truck driver, Joel and a librarian, Gail, Durance grew up with an older brother and sister on a turkey farm in Three Hills, Alberta. After school, she moved to Vancouver to start her acting career, which has primarily included low-budget horror films and guest roles on sci-fi TV shows.
Durance's Lois comes to Smallville investigating the death of her cousin, Chloe Sullivan (Allison Mack). Producers will bring on actor Michael Ironside as Lois' dad, U.S. Gen. Sam Lane in Episodes 2 and 3. "(Lois) is a military girl who was sort of raised as a boy," Durance says by cell phone in Vancouver. "But she's also vulnerable."
And, Gough adds, "slightly neurotic."
Durance's first scene with Welling, 27, found her staring at the chisled actor, who stood before her in the buff. "Look at his face," Lois mutters to herself in the scene--a professional courtesy Durance struggled to emulate. "Tom had the appropriate parts covered," she says. "But I still had to tell myself, 'Keep looking up.' I will tell you he isn't Superman for nothing."
So will sparks fly between Lois and Clark durning any of the 13 episodes Durance is scheduled to shoot in the 2004-05 season?
Unlikely, Gough says. He explains that Warner Bros. Feature Division, now in pre-production on its long-delayed Superman Returns film, has forbidden Smallville's Lois and Clark from kissing so that anticipation for the movie romance can build. The Feature Division might even block Durance from returning at all for Season 5. (Can they block Al & Miles and the rest of the writers from coming back too? Just askin'.) "They have to approve her for more," Gough says.
But Durance, who in real life will marry thirtysomething Vancouver actor David Palffy during Christmas, isn't worrying about the future.
"We'll see where they take us," she says. "Right now Lois and Clark are just trying to figure each other out."
Erica Durance talks to Sci-Fi Pulse
One character that not many people would have expected to have turned up in Smallville is Lois Lane who later on in the life would become Supermans eventual love interest as well as the thorn in Clark Kent's side. However for the episodes of Smallville in which Erica Durance's Lois Lane is featured in, which by the end of season 4 could total 13, the writers are more focused on making Lois the aforementioned thorn in Kent's side. During an interview with Ian Spelling for Dreamwatch Durance revealed how excited she was by playing the 21 st Century version of Lois Lane, who to fans of Superman is just as much an iconic character than the Man of Steel himself.
The role of Lois Lane has pretty much launched Erica Durance's acting career into the stratosphere, prior to taking on the mantle of Lois Lane, Durance had been playing the part of the jobbing actor taking whatever work she could get in order to pay the bills. Prior to her role on Smallville she had taken guest roles on shows such as Tru Calling and Andromeda. To date the role of Lois Lane in Smallville is the biggest thing in television that she has done thus far, and one thing that Durance has had a tough time with is just how big of a fan base Smallville actually has, and having just come off of a flurry of her first conventions Durance has pretty much interacted directly with the fan base for a first time and it is fair to say that she is still buzzing from the experience.
“I had a couple of days of pretty intense signing.” Durance said. “It was my first situation of going at it alone and meeting the fans. It was actually quite shocking. I was like, ‘Um, I think this line is for some other actor, not for me.' They all laughed at me. I didn't have to get up on a stage in front of thousands of people at this show. I basically chatted with people on the line, as they came through, and I signed things for them.”
One thing Durance was worried about with regards to her first convention appearance was how fans would accept her as the new Lois Lane. Smallville may well be the new show about Superman, but as a franchise Superman is older than Star Trek, and there have been a number of different Hollywood performers who have taken on the role of Lois Lane, actors who some of the older members of the Smallville audience will remember. Indeed Margot Kidder portrayed the older Lois Lane in the Superman movies and in the 1990's TV show Lois and Clark Teri Hatcher played the role so Durance had some tough acts to follow. However when confronted for the first time with her share of the Smallville audience Durance's concerns soon dissipated.
“I really was worried at first because Lois Lane is such and iconic character, and what are you going to do with Lana?” Durance asks rhetorically. “Are you just going to barge in? A lot of them were really frank and said, ‘I was really worried at first, but now I think you've done a great job.' That was kind of nice, especially coming from people who know so much about superman and the whole superman mythology. I'm sure there are people who don't like my Lois, too, but you're always going to get that. I'm my own worst critic. There's always stuff I feel I need to learn.”
When this interview was conducted Durance had appeared in 6 episodes of the new season of Smallville and had just completed filming an episode titled Pariah which Durance reveals a little about.
”Pariah deals with one of the characters [Alicia Baker, played by Sarah Carter] from last year [Obsession] and it's a follow – up to the episode before it [Unsafe, in which Durance did not appear]. So it's a two episode arc about a character that Clark was involved with before. The episode deals with a lot of shadows from the past and it's a whodunit show. After that they're just looking for a way to get Lois back to Smallville for a lot longer. I'm slotted for some more episodes after Christmas. I think the idea they're looking at is that Lois has done something bad at college that has gotten her kicked out. So therefore, where else is there to go but back to Smallville? I'm sure that Lois will continue to shake things up and that she and Clark will continue to irritate each other and, hopefully, create lots of fun for everyone.”
At the time of this interview Durance was slated to appear in 13 episodes of Smallville during its 4th year, however the chances are that Lois Lane could well be in a few more episodes than the aforementioned bakers dozen, and if that does happen Durance is more than happy to come back to small town America to irritate the hell out of Clark Kent (Tom Welling). As far as a 5th season goes the actress said she would be happy to continue on.
“I would be interested in coming back, of course,” said Durance. “That would be wonderful, to be able to be on this show for another season. I think they're working on that right now and deciding how much of next season Lois might be back and where they could take the character. I know they'd love to bring her back, but there's the film coming up and there are all sorts of things in the upper echelons that I don't know reasons for, but I'll probably know what's happening for in next couple of months.”
You can read much more of this interview with Erica Durance in issue 125 of Dreamwatch magazine which is out now in the UK . The fourth season of Smallville has been airing in the US on Wednesday evenings at 8pm ET on the WB Network. British viewers should be able to catch new episodes of the series on both Channel 4 and E4 respectively in the New Year.
Twist with Erica Durance
Smallville's Erica Durance reveals what it's like to play one of the most popular comic book characters of all time.
Twist: Have you always been a Superman fan?
Erica: Absolutely. I remember growing up and watching the movies with my dad and brother. I liked the whole concept--that Clark was this hero who could do anything and save everyone. And, of course, he's this really good-looking guy. Who wouldn't love that?
Did you like Lois Lane?
Yes. She was independent and had her own ideas. Even though she got rescued at times, Lois always felt that she could save herself first. I love that Lois is such a strong female character.
What was it like joining such a tight cast?
Everyone was really welcoming, especially Tom [Welling], who plays Clark Kent. He read lines with me the day before we began shooting. It's also been great working with veteran actors like Annette O'Toole [Martha Kent]. She's so kind and has so much to teach a young actor.
So far, we've only seen Clark and Lois bump heads. Will they warm up to each other?
Romantically, no. I don't think we'll see them realize their feelings just yet, but I do think that they will start to rely on each other more. As they begin to spend time together, we'll see them show more vulnerability.
Will Lois suspect that clark has super powers?
Right now, Lois thinks that Clark is just a naive farmboy, so how could he possibly be quick on his feet? Here Clark is saving the day, and Lois often thinks she's getting them out of a sticky situation. It'll always be a riot to watch these two interact.
photo caption: "I've been studying up on Superman's history--like what all the different types of kryptonite can to to him," says Erica. "But I still have a lot to learn.
Erica Durance Anxious About The Fans
The creators of “Smallville” have made it a point to develop stories which will inevitably build toward the Superman mythos. Over the last two seasons especially, through the uncovering of his past, his powers and his own inner-strengths, Clark Kent (Tom Welling) has taken some vital steps to becoming the man of steel everyone knows and loves.
But one thing that the producers have also enjoyed tackling is the characters from that mythos.
We’ve seen a few faces from Metropolis, like Perry White (Michael McKean), Supergirl (Adrianne Palicki) and now Lois Lane (Erica Durance), the latter who will eventually become the love interest of Superman.
Durance, who made her first appearance on the comic-book prequel at the beginning of the fourth season, was originally contracted for 13 episodes, but through the success of her character, it is expected that she will be making future trips to the small Kansas town.
In an interview with Dreamwatch, Durance spoke about the shock of coming out from the cold, and onto a show with such a large and dedicated fanbase.
“I had a couple of days of pretty intense signing," she said. "It was my first situation of going at it alone and meeting the fans. It was actually quite shocking. I was like, ‘Um, I think this line is for some other actor, not for me.' They all laughed at me. I didn't have to get up on a stage in front of thousands of people at this show. I basically chatted with people on the line, as they came through, and I signed things for them.”
But like the show's production team, Durance said she herself was worried about how she would be accepted as Lois Lane, a character who holds vital importance on the Superman saga. The fact that she had to follow in the footsteps of Margot Kidder and Terri Hatcher, who both played Lane in the movies and the 1990s television series.
“I really was worried at first because Lois Lane is such and iconic character, and what are you going to do with Lana?" Durance said. "Are you just going to barge in? A lot of them were really frank and said, ‘I was really worried at first, but now I think you've done a great job.' That was kind of nice, especially coming from people who know so much about superman and the whole superman mythology. I'm sure there are people who don't like my Lois, too, but you're always going to get that. I'm my own worst critic. There's always stuff I feel I need to learn.”
With a loyal fanbase and stable ratings, it looks as if “Smallville” could be around for a while. So how will this affect Durance’s opinion of the show?
“I would be interested in coming back, of course, that would be wonderful, to be able to be on this show for another season," she said. "I think they're working on that right now and deciding how much of next season Lois might be back and where they could take the character. I know they'd love to bring her back, but there's the film coming up and there are all sorts of things in the upper echelons that I don't know reasons for, but I'll probably know what's happening for in next couple of months.”
"Smallville's" New Attraction: Lois Lane, aka Erica Durance
"I know this character has been around a long time, and I want to do honor to all that, but it's too hard to think about much. I'm just taking it day by day."
That's the word from Erica Durance - also known as the latest actress to inhabit the role of bright and beautiful Superman love interest Lois Lane. Durance joins the cast of "Smallville" this season, playing a high school version of Lois. And so what if historically, Superman and his alter ego, Clark Kent, don't meet Lois until she's a reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper? Since when has "Smallville" gone by the (comic) book?
"She's obviously not a reporter yet. She's too young. But you can already see her ability to suss out a situation and figure out what she needs to get. She's a well-rounded human being who doesn't reveal a lot of vulnerability," says Durance, "which makes her very interesting to play."
Beautiful Erica, 26, hails from the hamlet of Three Hills, north of Calgary. She misses the sweeping vistas of the landscape, now that she's living in Vancouver, where the show is filmed. "Obviously, some people don't like the prairie, but to me, it's awesome," she says.
The acting bug bit early for this daughter of a truck driver father and librarian mum. Erica has an older brother and an older sister, and her sister did some acting, but the craft held even more appeal for Erica.
"When I was young I was very interested in singing and drama, and got into musical theater. I had a fantastic teacher who got me down that road," adds the actress. Her first role was in a production called "Babushka," written by her Prairie Bible College teacher. Other plays followed, then Erica decided to venture down to Vancouver "to test the waters" as a professional actress. There she met actor David Palffy of "Stargate SG1," "Andromeda," and numerous other credits.
Erica worked with David on both series, as well as the horror movie, "House of the Dead."
"He's wonderful. He's actually my acting mentor," she coos. They've been together for three years - are now engaged -- and "the cool thing is, he's done it all before," she says.
"Smallville" came about for Erica almost literally overnight.
"I auditioned up here and put it on tape, then I got called back. Then they flew me down to Los Angeles to do a test, per usual. The final network test was Thursday, and while I was flying home Friday I got a call saying all the things I would have to do do get ready. I went in on Saturday and did all the fittings and makeup tests. And Monday, bright and early, I was on the set."
She admits, "At first, before I actually went in, I was intimidated. The show has been going quite well and they've done sixty-some episodes. That feeling went away the minute I met everybody - right from Tom Welling to everyone else in the cast, they're very generous and level-headed."
She's hoping, of course, that the showcase role will lead to more choice acting jobs. "I'd like to challenge myself in other ways as well, do a movie or two. I'm not going to tell the future."
Now Erica's bracing for the storm of attention everyone tells her she is sure to get. "Whatever may happen, my family is keeping me grounded. It's great they're not involved in the industry in every way. I'm just hoping that I can do the part justice. I'm doing my best to be honest and creative about it, and trying to enjoy the moment."
Tom Talks Erica Durance
In issue #127 of Dreamwatch Tom Welling is interviewed about how far along Clark has come in four seasons and he shared some insight on his working relationship with Erica and his thoughts on Lois & Clark's relationship. Here are some excerpts from the article written by Robert Falconer.
What are your thoughts on how the writers of Smallville have developed your new 21st century Lois Lane (Erica Durance)?
I find the Lois Lane we have on Smallville to be very entertaining. She's terribly self-reliant and self-confident (laughs)...at least she certainly thinks of herself that way. What I particularly enjoy about her characteris the side of Clark that she brings out. I love the sarcastic, tongue in cheek humor that we're able to portray in that relationship, and haven't been able to in the past because of the heavy dramatic situations that clark often found himself in with the other characters. In the past it was really only Pete (Sam Jones III) that he was able to let go with and have fun with. But with Pete leaving to go to anohter school-and Lois coming in-it's a whole other dynamic. With Lois there's that sense of 'back and forth'. Is the relationship there, is it not there? Certainly, we all know where they're going to end up later on. I think it's a great addition to the show and enables us to explore character facets we couldn't before.
Describe the chemistry between Clark and Lois...and between Tom and Erica.
Erica and I get along great. We did from day one. With respect to Clark and Lois, I think Erica and I get along so well that we have to remind ourselves that Clark and Lois aren't necessarily supposed to get along so well. I'd sum up Clark and Lois's relationship as playful--they love and hate each other at the same time.