Welling, however, is the only actor to have appeared in every single episode of the show — a Herculean task given the grueling production that often included groundbreaking and, therefore, labor-intensive visual effects.
But Welling’s job was made infinitely harder by the fact that it was also his first of that magnitude.
The series introduced the world to stars Tom Welling (who played Clark Kent), Kristin Kreuk (who played Lana Lang), Michael Rosenbaum (who played Lex Luthor), and Allison Mack (who played Chloe Sullivan).
“I never saw him as a bad guy, because that would be too easy,” he said of Ryan. Like, really hard for her — and I think we did a good job of that.”While Welling has found roles in Hollywood that coincide with his professional desires, thus far those opportunities have only allowed him to act. “I grew up unknowingly looking at guys like [Robert] Redford and [Warren] Beatty — guys who created opportunities for themselves as soon as they could,” he said, which is why he launched Tom Welling Productions toward the end of Smallville’s run.
And when thinking about what he wanted his next role to be, Welling turned to that team.
But it needed to happen.”When Welling emerged from his self-imposed six-month isolation, he had two goals: “I wanted to play a human and I wanted to be a part of a film whose theme was bigger than whatever character I was playing,” he said.
“By being on Smallville for 10 years, I was able to make some really fantastic choices with that character, but now I'm drawn to real people trying to live real lives.” And financially speaking, Smallville afforded Welling the ability to be choosy.
Welling had come to Los Angeles at 23 to do commercials and modeling, but soon after his arrival in 2000, he earned a six-episode arc on the critically acclaimed CBS drama Judging Amy. That set felt a world away from his friends and family, scattered across America, and Welling had no idea how to handle it.