Thursday, August 20, 2015
Stacy Haiduk interview - Spectacular Magazine, 1991
Interview with Stacy haiduk, by Daniel Dickholtz. Spectacular Magazine, 1991.
Looking out a 29th-floor, window of the Manhattan building where Viacom, distributors of the 'Superboy' TV series, is headquarted, Stacy Haiduk pauses. While her character Lana Lang might prefer stylish outfits and having her hair brushed out, Haiduk seems more comfortable with blue jeans, a loose, patterned jacket and her tresses pulled back into a pnytail. As she glances down and over the New York skyline, it's apparent that she's relieved, in a whimsical way, not to have to see the Teen of Steel flying by.
"The oddest thing [about working on the show]?" she wonders at one point. "Gosh. Having to say, 'Superboy,' and being in love with a guy named Superboy! I mean, come on. That's a little odd, all right? I still haven't gotten used to saying his mame. They'll go, 'Ok, Stacy, it's your close-up now and we want you to run into the scene, Superboy's flying off, and 'Superboy!' Say it, OK? Ready. And action!' And here I come, running up. Suddenly, I'll just break out laughing! It's not like saying, 'Dean' or 'Jack', you know. I mean, you try saying 'Superboy'! It really is hard."
Weathering the turbulent changes the series has undergone during the last three years has provedmuch easier for the young actress. When the show began, John Haymes Newton (COMICS SCENE #6) wore the caped Kryptonian's red, blue and yellow costume; for the last two seasons, Gerard Christopher (COMIC SCENE SPECTACULAR #2) has worn it whenver he races to her rescue. As the Teen of Steel's arch-rival lex Luthor, Scott Wells' bored, upper-class chicanery soon gave way to Sherman Howards' more manical machinations. Clark kent's first year roomate, T.J. White (Jim Calvert), was followed by the deal-making Andy McCallister (IIan Mitchel-Smith), before Clark decided he was better off living alone. And where Clark and Lana once committed as much of their time as possible to their studies at Shuster University (located in sunny Siegeville), they now have internships at the Bureau or Extranormal Matters in shadowy Capitol City. All of this leaves Haiduk as the single on-screen element to survive into what will soon be the show's fourth season. "'The old veteran,' I call myself," she remarks.
Yet when she's asked how she has managed to stay on where seeminly nothing else has, Haiduk admits, "I don't know. I think just the different circumstances. People change and they get a little greedy. My whole thing was just learning a discipline on the show and it has helped me out a lot. But, that's a hard one to really answer. I really enjoy the show. I believe whatever you start, you finish. And maybe people like me!"
SMALL TOWN GIRL
For decades in the comics, Lana lang spent her high school days in Smallville trying to uncover Clark's other identity as a fervently as Lois Lane later would. More recently, though, John Byrne revised the character' histories to have Lana learn of Clark's superhuman abilities early on, but remain a close friend of his into adulthood. The version Haiduk has brought to the small screen is "'a mess'. No, she's a person who's very curious about life and wants to venture out into as many things as posible. A part of her would love to be with Superboy, but I think another part of her has this thing with Clark. Everybody says they have this brotherly love. Well, I definitely think it has more to do with [the fact] that they're the same person, so there's something she really likes about him, but she's blind to it all. She's young. She's in a man's world, so she's trying to be as business-like as she can, but still has that ecitement and curiosity that any young person would have."
"We're seeing that she has grown up," the actress states. "At least, I've seen her grow up from way back when to now. It's a learning process for any young person who's growing up. She's going through times that are exciting, but I also feel that she's in an adult world where she has to be a little more sophisticated and not like she was before--just kind of out there, whatever happens, happens."
To tie in with the TV series, DC has been publishing a comic book (Superboy The Comic Book) that closely follows the show's continuity, one which Haiduk sheepishly confesses to never having looked at. But then, she never sought out any of the older Superboy comics to help prepare her for the series either.
"I wasn't a comic book person when I was younger," she reveals. "I did watch the Superman movies, and I remember Annette O'Toole playing Lana, but I believe you have to create your own character. you want to be original; you don't want to be like everybody else."
Consequently, Haiduk can find nothing to connect her Lana Lang with the one O'Toole portrayed. "They're totally different, plus she was dealing with a Superman and not a Superboy, so I thik there's more for my character now than hers'." And so, despite a comment executive producer Ilya Salkind once made that this TV series could fit into the films' continuity, Haiduk deosn't see her version of Lana ever returning to Smallville to become a divorcee and a mother. "My Lana would probably run off to Europe," she laughs, "and be some who-knows-what--an archaeologist like her father, maybe a designer. That's the fun part about it because you never know what it could be. You could go in any direction."
Still, there's one direction that Haiduk has already taken that she would rather no one else follow her down--backwards, into the character's past.
"It's my own personal stuff," explains the actress. "To me, she knows something nobody else does. When I'm doing a scene with Superboy, I could be thinking of the raunchiest thing in the world," she laughs, "but it doesn't come off that way. I created how her parents were, everything about her--but it's nice just to keep something private to myself. I like that, a little secrecy."
Haiduk, however, is much more forth-coming when it comes to her own background, although she must admit that growing up in Grand Rapids, Michigan was "bor-ing. I danced a lot. I mean, I was dancing since I was four years old. I hated school; I was probably the lowest grade-point-average person in the world, but I just loved to dance and that was my thing. That was what kept me going and gave me the ambition to come out here, to want to do something. [Otherwise] I would have stayed in Grand Rapids and had kids and a husband. Oh God! Can you imagine?" she chuckles.
Watching a Marilyn Monroe movie on TV with a childhood friend inpired her to go into acting, but it was her first love that finally brought her before the cameras for several music videos.
"Yeah. Dancing. Being a slurp person," laughs the actress. "And then, what happened? I became this good little girl next door. I did about six of the those music videos. That was my money when I was starting out. Then, I did some commercials, a few little TV spots and soaps; just a lot of things here and there, and then, I got this Good break!"
CAPITAL CITY WOMAN
During Haiduk's tenure on the series. Lana has found herself over and over again in the clutches of one blackguard or another (a fact which continues to kettle the actress). Yet more often than not, her peril is swiftly ended by a Teen of Steel in the form of Gerard Christopher.
"Gerard's fun. He's a cool guy," she notes. "It was hard at the beginning, because everything was brand-new [to him]. But I do enjoy working with him. We have a good relationship on screen that works."
This relationship, however, is one that she recognizes works quite differently from what she shared with the first season's Siegelville sentinel, John Haymes Newton.
"Gerry is very sensitive, which I see when it comes from his acting and from working with him. John, I think, was much harder. I'm not saying cocky or that type of thing, but he didn't let his sensitive side come out too much. That's kind of the difference between the two. Apart from that, they're great."
Considering the unsavory, sinister and often sadistic sorts that Lana and Superboy usually face, it seems unthinkable that Haiduk should actually admit to looking forward to one criminal's frequent reruns. And yet, of all the villians they must battle, "Lex Luthor's my favorite," the starlet says, "Sherman's just great. He's a wonderful villain and a wonderful actor, and I could just sit there and watch him for hours."
Although Haiduk may enjoy each new opportunity to see Luthor plot against Superboy, Lana generally cringes at being placed in the center of their feud, especially when the mad genuis' every leer hints at his, own designs for her.
"The Lana/Lex Luthor relationship, God, I still haven't figured that one out! I don't think she likes him at all. He kidnaps her all the time just to get to Superboy. I don't think there's any involvement. I wonder. Maybe, maybe what if Lana kidnaps him?" she laughs. "Who knows?"
As a professed "hopeles romantic," Haiduk would prefer to see "scripts more concerned with the regular characters and not so much the special guest stars here and there." Nevertheless, she doesn't regret meeting the array of actors called upon to either aid or confound Lana and Superboy.
For example, in one first-season episode in which Lana is captured by a deranged chain-eating old man in a junkyard who believes he's protecting her from Nazis, Haiduk went face-to-face with Abe Vigoda.
"Abe! Oh, man, he was a trip!" she recalls. "I remember doing my first scene with him. I was 19, I think. We were doing a scene across the table and we're sitting really close, and he kept shoving bread in his mouth. He kept forgetting his lines, which I felt really bad about, and I'm like, 'OK. This is cool.' So they kept on reading his lines bu then, suddenly, he starts spitting bread out at my face, and I just started to crack! I was so upset. All I could think of was my close-up with four big bread spots coming at me," she laughs. "I really like him, though. He was very sweet."
As the fifth-dimensional imp Mr. Mxyzptlk, veteran character actor Michael J. Pollard baffled the students of Shuster University on more than one occasion. "He's a wacko!" Haiduk laughs knowingly. "Oh, what can I say about Michael? He's a great guy, but he's out there. There are millions of stories I could tell, but I couldn't do it. We'll be here talking about them all the time and we'll get in trouble!"
No longer a Miami Vice cop, Philip Michael Thomas rode into Siegelville on a motorcycle as a witch hunter not above excersing his own occult prowess. "Oh, yes. He was a good actor to work with," the starlet notes. "'Always think of it as a dance' he said. I remember on my close-up, he said 'Just look into my eyes. Now dance with me.' he was a neat guy."
"We've had some really great people on the show. You know, you look back and go, I've met so man people! But being from Michigan, I would never think I was going to meet half these people, and now I meet them and I'm like, 'Oh wow!' It's great."
On the other hand, being a celebrity herself she has discovered can be somewhat unnerving. "I actually had somebody who came to my hotel last night and this morning, called me up and said, 'We didn't get your autograph from Regis & Kelly'. Usually, I don't look like I do on the show. There are a few people who know the face, sometimes just in a grocery store, and then, I look like a mess. That's when they notice who I am, when i have my glasses on and my hair's in my baseball cap. I have no problem with them. I'm probably more insecure around the fans than they are. I get very nervous; they intimidate me!"
"You know, it's like when they ask you for your autograph. My autograph's no better than theirs'!" she chuckles. "I'm writing my name on a piece of paper. i don't know. If I really want to meet someone I would like to just meet them. I never got anybody's autograph, because it's just that. A piece of paper is a piece of paper, it's material. But the moment--just savoring that moment, shaking their hand--that's always nice."
With the beginning of production on Superboy's fourth season several weeks away, Haiduk has yet to see any of the new scripts. Still, she has her own ideas on how they should read.
"If I had control of the writing staff, I guess I would like to see Lana save Superboy. Maybe there's something where he's dying and she comes to his rescue. Or I would really like the relationship between Superboy and her and Clark to develop into something. You know, start from the beginning and going into the end of the last show. It would be the romance of it, just between the three of them. God, that's so weird--the three of them.' There are only two of them. I'm sitting here, saying there are three! I think I've lost my mind!" she chuckles.
"It's like Moonlighting. You want to keep that spark going on between the two of them. So I wouldn't mind having Lana actually fall for Clark. I find Clark very charming. I really do. I like him more than I do Superboy--me, personally--but, you know, Lana has this awe for Superboy."
There is, however, only so far into the future the actress cares to look. Technically, at the end of their fourth year, Lana and Clark should receive their diplomas from Shuster University. Clark should then head to Metropolis for a job with the Daily Planet, and Superboy would have to start acting his age and consider changing his name. But if the show continues to be popular, the startlet is well aware of what could eventually happen, her business being what it is.
"Can you see us on television with our little canes and grey hair in rocking chairs?" Stacy Haiduk laughs, even as a chill runs up her spine. "Ohh, noooo!"