In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly’s editor in chief JD Heyman, Justin Hartley reflected on his time on the hit television series Smallville, which aired on the WB/CW from 2001 to 2011.
The This Is Us star, whose character Kevin Pearson starts the show wanting to be taken seriously as a dramatic actor, became a recurring guest on Smallville during the drama’s sixth and seventh season before being promoted to series regular in season 8 through season 10.
Hartley played Green Arrow, real name Oliver Queen, the leader of the Justice League and friend to the show’s protagonist Clark Kent. He told Entertainment Weekly that although he was only meant to appear in four to six episodes, the fans’ reception to his character convinced series showrunners Alfred Gough and Miles Millar to bring him back.
If I had to guess why the fan reaction was so high, it’d probably be because of the superhero costume, which Hartley says made him the first Smallville character to wear one.
In the article, he goes on to explain that one of his favorite things about Green Arrow was the fact that he wasn’t indestructible. This should be seen as no surprise when considering that This Is Us deals heavily with the theme of mortality.
Hartley had this to say about his time on the show in general:
“When you saw that show and you saw when Oliver came on and how he interacted with Clark and what he brought out in Clark and how he moved Clark in a direction where we know he’s going – Superman – it became like an essential part of the show and I’m really proud of it.”
Before appearing on Smallville, Hartley was best known for appearing as Fox Crane on the NBC supernatural soap opera Passions from 2002 to 2006. Following his stint on Smallville, Hartley would have a recurring role on the ABC drama Revenge from 2013 to 2014 and a series regular role on The Young & The Restless from 2014 to 2016 before This Is Us premiered later that year.
You can catch Justin Hartley on TV again when This Is Us returns on Tuesday, March 10, at 9pm ET on NBC.