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Feature: Tom Welling
Tom Welling is just starting to prove he’s a man of steel in the film industry – but, for his fans, his place as a Movie Idol is already assured…
They’re the most famous chiselled abs in Hollywood. In five years Tom Welling has enjoyed a kryptonite-induced transformation from jobbing bit-part actor to an international superstar, and there’s every sign that this is just the beginning. Today he’s a TV star who is starting to make his name as a Movie Idol – yet we reckon that Tom has all the attributes to be soon a major force in Tinseltown.
It’s been an amazing journey for the talented 28-year-old Thomas John Patrick Welling, born April 26 1977 to a father who worked as an executive for General Motors and a mother who describes herself as a “home engineer”. Perhaps not the environment one might immediately expect to promote a career in performing, yet Tom’s elder brother Mark is also an actor – you can see his work in the film Wrestling.
Tom graduated in 1995 from Okemos High School in Michigan, where he first caught the acting bug. Yet his working life actually started in the construction industry, which paid the bills until that stunning 6’ 3” frame was put to good use as a model, working in print and advertising campaigns in New York through the renowned Lousia Modeling Agency. Coincidentally, Tom would be modelling alongside fellow celebrity-to-be Ashton Kutcher, and the pair have remained good friends ever since.
It was driving ambition that led Tom to Los Angeles, and the determination to make the leap from modelling into acting. He hit gold quickly, landing the recurring role of Rob Meltzer on CBS’s popular Judging Amy (2001). Rob was introduced as Amy’s love interest, he was 10 years her junior, and he also just happened to be the karate instructor of her daughter. The show had a sizeable audience, Tom had made a memorable début, and it was clear that much more work would follow. He would be seen in the unremarkable bit part of a victim in that year’s Special Unit 2 and pop up as Tom the Frat Guy in Undeclared, before the role came his way that would be life-changing.
The WB had decided to return to the story of the Man of Steel in a new series geared at its teenage audience. Smallville (pictured above, and available on DVD) would tell Clark Kent’s story before he became Superman and worked for The Daily Planet. Tom’s agent put him forward for this starring role, and the rest is history. The producers and The WB had hit gold. “As soon as he walked in, we knew,” they later said. Tom admits that he had never been a Superman fan as a child, and this could be a factor in his success at the audition: certainly he arrived with no baggage. He stripped away the super-powered iconic hero, and just saw Clark Kent as a normal kid, struggling at an everyday high school. And this, it transpires, was exactly the character that the producers were trying to create.
Tom remembers the fateful day he won the role.
‘I went to the final screen test and on my way home I stopped at a gas station,’ he told The WB’s website. ‘I called my manager to tell him how it went, because I don’t have a cell phone or anything. So I’m at the pay phone. By the time I called, they had already called him to tell him I had it. And so it was kind of like, “Hey the audition went well!” And he goes, “Yeah, I know. You got it”. I didn’t believe it at first.’
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