Last week, KJ Apa, star of The CW series Riverdale, crashed his car into a lamp post while driving home after a 14-hour work day. Though Apa was uninjured, the crash has sparked a controversy over safety concerns and long working hours. However, two cast members of Smallville are saying that they warned The CW of the risks years ago.
A large number of The CW’s shows, including Riverdale, Supernatural, iZombie, and all of their Arrowverse shows film in Vancouver. Preceding all of them was Smallville, which aired for 10 seasons from 2001 to 2011. Based on the story of Superman, the series also filmed in Vancouver. As the network’s first major show featuring characters from DC comics, Smallville has been described by fans as the blueprint for the highly successful Arrowverse.
Michael Rosenbaum, who played Lex Luthor, and Tom Welling, who played Clark Kent, recently discussed their own safety concerns with Warner Bros. on Rosenbaum’s podcast, Inside of You. The company’s TV policy makes actors responsible for their own transportation, and at least during the production of Smallville, the actors were unable to have drivers on set. The problem with that is that the cast had to work long hours. Rosenbaum recalled that the cast would have to drive an hour to the set at 4:30 in the morning, which was especially challenging for Welling, who had to work the longest hours. This led the cast to take action.
“I think it got to a point where we all signed a letter for you because we were like ‘You’re going to kill Superman.”
John Schneider, who played Clark Kent’s father Jonathan Kent, and Rosenbaum organized the cast to convince the studio to allow Welling to have a driver. The studio agreed on the condition that the other actors surrender their own rights to have a driver, since it would normally be unfair to give that treatment to only one actor.
Schnieder and Rosenbaum’s concerns for Welling’s safety, and the action that they took, are reflected in last week’s accident following a long day of filming on Riverdale. Apa’s car crash has caused the cast and crew of the teen series to protest the long hours and lack of transportation late at night. The cast and crew are hoping that the accident will prompt Warner Bros. to change its policy.
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