Kristin Kreuk is wearing tight flare jeans and a white shawl-collar sweater, her long, dark hair pinned up with shoots and tendrils dropping; being half Dutch and half Chinese, she is totally dewy to look at. It is little wonder, then, that the Neutrogena people recently chose her to be their new spokesmodel — although they might do well to keep her in front of the cameras and not let her go out to dinner at Japanese restaurants with visiting inquisitors who ask dopey questions. Because, in response, she tends to roll her eyes, curl her lips and turn snippish.
"So, how'd you get your role in Smallville?"
"How'd I get the role? Pretty much the same way everyone gets their roles: I auditioned," she says. And she starts drumming her fingernails on the table.
That's OK, though. It's entertaining. She's entertaining. A Vancouver native, the daughter of two landscape architects and just a year out of high school, she seems to be extremely intelligent, and that makes up for a lot. For example, before auditioning for her Lana Lang role, she listened to the character description — "popular girl ... parents die in meteor shower ... dates star quarterback ... cheerleader" — and thought, "She seems like an idiot!" But when she read the complete script, she thought, "This is just amazing!" Both these sentiments are, of course, exactly true.
"What were you into in high school?"
"What was I into?" she asks. "I was a student, I studied, I got good grades."
More nail drumming follows, though it fades, as Kreuk starts building a case for herself as "the most boring person ever!" she says.
"I don't get into trouble, because I never do anything bad, and I never have. I'm pathetic. I don't even have any jokes to tell. Really, I'm boring." She is, however, a tireless worker; in addition to her Smallville role, she's also starring in a teen drama on Canadian TV. In her spare time, she likes to read; right now, she's deep into The Alchemist, though she can often be found rereading Wuthering Heights, Anne of Green Gables and Little Women. Doesn't smoke, doesn't pick her cuticles, is intensely aware of the color of her eyes ("hazel, dark-green outside, then light-green, then kinds of a browny, yellowy, speckly inside"). She lives with her parents. Her mom once told her she had to take karate lessons to protect herself. She has never gotten drunk.
She has never driven a car, either, believing that she will be a terrible driver. "It's going to be a disaster," she says softly. "I could very well kill somebody. But I won't. I'll be careful. I'm very careful. Very cautious,. I'm a very good girl. Oh, I'm amazingly boring."
You have to wonder about somebody who is so insistent of a single point. Especially when others have such a different take on her. "I look at her, and she's shy, but there's something else going on in there," says John Schneider, the onetime Dukes of Hazzard star who plays Clark Kent's dad on the show. "I mean, have you seen her? She's flawless! It's got to be interesting to have lived at all on this earth looking like she looks."
Kreuk isn't so sure about that. She thinks people have gotten the wrong impression of her. "You know why? It's because I don't open up very easily to people. In high school, I came across as a snob. Well, I am sort of a snob. I'm not very nice to people, because ... well, I'm just not. I can come across as mysterious."
She smiles wanly.
"Have a boyfriend?"
"Have you had a boyfriend?"
"Yes. But we don't have to talk about that. We mustn't."
"How many have you had?"
"Actually, I haven't been in a serious relationship. I couldn't wear makeup or date until I was sixteen, and I've had bad experiences with guys ever since I was a kid. I haven't told my mom all of the,. I've had to hide them from her. I mean, it's just guys being guys, how they follow you around and chase you and try to kiss you all the time. But that's kind of traumatizing. When you're a kid."
This is interesting stuff, and Kreuk is proving herself to be a bundle, both cold and reserved and warm and revealing. Plus, she is wonderful to look at, with a clear, prominent forehead and facial expressions that change from pixieish to kittenlike to exasperated to fed up in a flash.
"What makes you weak in the knees?"
"Nothing. I think I got weak in the knees once, out of fear of this guy. But that was it."
"So you're not pining for anyone?"
"Definitely not. I am not the pining sort. I guess I wouldn't define myself as sexual. Like, I don't need to have somebody. I am very content."
Contentedly, she picks up her napkin, folds it along the diagonal twice and starts shredding it into little pieces. And, really, she can't fathom in the least why having a boyfriend might do her some good. Shred, shred, fold, shred.
But, she says, if she had to pick one character from the show to go out with, it'd probably be Lex Luthor: "Lex is really sexy. He's got all that depth and darkness." She pauses; somewhere Michael Rosenbaum must be smiling. But Kreuk herself is frowning. "You really don't want to date anyone you're working with," she says a little later. "That would just be weird. And awkward. And not good. Anyway, I can't think of anyone that I'd really end up with."
After, she launches into a discussion of the WB's attitude toward her hair. "The WB's anal about it," she says, making an unhappy face. "It's because of the whole Keri Russell Felicity hair incident. So I can't do anything with it. Like whenever I do a TV interview, I'm not even allowed to wear it up. It has to be down, because I'm going to be known for my hair. I can't cut it or make it choppy or put streaks in it, because Lana, the small-town girl, wouldn't do that." Next she gets onto the congratulatory phone call she received from Jordan Levin, president of the entertainment division at the WB, after the show's debuta phone call she missed and decided not to return. "If I'd called him back, I would have felt uncomfortable," she says. "Because I don't know him. And I already knew what he wanted to say. Anyway, he probably didn't call. It was probably his assistant." She laughs out loud. "I guess I just don't communicate with people."
And with that, she turns suddenly philosophical: "To reach enlightenment, there's an arc that we all have to go through. In my case, I have to learn to care about people, because I don't. I care more about Mother Nature and all those exterior things. I have just never been able to truly care about people. I mean, I don't do anything bad to people, because that's mean. But everyone has their evil thoughts. Everyone has those sporadic I-want-to-kill-you moments. Blah, blah, blah. Anyway, so that's not very interesting. I tell you, I'm boring!"
Shortly afterward, she opens her mouth and bares a pointed, jutting tooth. "It's my fang," she says happily. "And I like my fang!"
She waits for a reaction.
One reaction is, if this is boring, boring sure has improved some.
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