The talented actress who portrays Lois Lane on the CW series gives us some of what to expect from the show's eighth season

For the last four years, Erica Durance has portrayed one of the most iconic female characters, that of Lois Lane, on the CW's smash-hit series, Smallville, which debuts its eighth season on Thursday, September 18 at 8 PM ET. I had the chance to speak with this Smallville siren over the phone, and here's what the beautiful actress had to say.

It looks like Lois really ups her presence at the Daily Planet this season. Since this is the Lois we're all familiar with, the Lois at the Daily Planet, is there any familiar shades to any previous Lois' or is this mainly your own?

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Erica Durance: Well, it just ends up being I'm doing what I'm doing with it. I think what's similar is she's coming in, they are placing her in that similar environment. It will never be exactly how they did it because I've got my own kinds of mannerisms and such, but it is becoming that Lois Lane that people are excited about seeing, and that is giving her more intellect, giving her more independence, using all her street savvy to get the answer. What's fun is they always, in this season, given a great parralel to where Clark also finds the same answer, but his is his superpowers. I think he's also forced to admit, to himself, that, wow, Lois has got some chutzpah. She is getting it all on her own. She gets herself in, still, quite a bit of trouble. It's there, it's persistent and they're giving a lot of interplay to the Lois and Clark relationship. They obviously have more free time together, they're working together at the Daily Planet and there's a lot of those underlying kinds of things going on.

Do we get into the Lois and Clark thing right away in the season premiere tomorrow?

Erica Durance: It's always sprinkled in a little bit. If people watch closely, they'll see that it's something how Lois feels about and he's not really ready to admit that yet. They're being very careful about how they're building it, to make sure that when the audience gets that big pay-off, it's a good one. So, they're building it continuously throughout the season, so as we get into the different episodes, they'll see something else that's fresh, new and maybe a little more dangerous between the two of them. I really like how they're doing it. They're using all sorts of tools with the danger and the drama and then there's some that's just very comedic. It's been very fun this year.

So, by the end of the season, will we see some pretty big sparks flying between Lois and Clark then?

Erica Durance: I hope so. We've earned the right, haven't we?

So, what episode are you guys on right now?

Erica Durance: We're filming Episode 8.

I read that they were going to split up the season, and start airing Reaper in between that. They were going to air 10 episodes and then the 11th was going to be awhile after that. Is there anything you know about that?

Erica Durance: You know, I'm not sure. You sound more informed than I do. I know that we've gotten quite ahead and then we've got a couple of breaks that they've built in for us, but I'm not sure.

One of the other changes this season is the absence of Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor. How do you think that is going to affect the show? Are there a lot of other new elements in place?

Erica Durance: Well, when you have a character that's on a hiatus and he's just so beloved by people and he's done such a fantastic job, I think that people will take a little adjustment and will definitely be watching closely to see the changes and stuff like that. I really believe that the people that they've plugged in and the storylines that they've written create a lot of excitement and a different feel and these characters are really great characters. They're bringing in Doomsday, which is the actual nemesis that has the ability to kill Clark Kent, so I think they'll create some really great friction there and sometimes, yeah, you have to go through some of those growing pains to find something new and something fresh.

Does Lois have any chance to interact with Doomsday at all?

Erica Durance: I didn't originally, at the very beginning, but we have this huge, significant moment that actually means a lot to Doomsday. I don't want to go into it too much, but there's an episode that we haven't shot yet where you see Lois and she has all these superpowers and she actually has to go head-to-head with Doomsday. It's really good.

With Lex gone, LutherCorp is going to be run by Tess Mercer. What sort of relationship is Lois going to have with her?

Erica Durance: Umm, it's not good (Laughs). Any relationship that's new, Lois is usually... Lois is one of those people that you usually end up loving after awhile, but at first, you're like, 'Whoa, back off.' She doesn't react kindly to this person. What I've gotta say about Lois is that she's honest and she senses there's a quality about this Tess Mercer that she doesn't trust. She doesn't like her, she works for Lex, Lois doesn't like Lex, OK. They definitely go head-to-head.

Will Tess be running the Daily Planet on a daily basis?

Erica Durance: Well, right now they have her in and she's dealing with Clark a lot. I've had a couple of scenes with her but it's not like daily she's coming down and having that hands-on thing. I think that her whole thing with the Daily Planet is it's a front to all the other clandestine activities that she has.

There are a lot of TV series' now that are planning end dates, like Lost already has an end date planned for 2010. Has there been any talks of a Smallville end date that's being planned or are you just going to keep going as long as you can?

Erica Durance: I'm not privvy to that kind of information. That's really a studio question. We kind of go from year to year and we see what happens with the reaction of the series. I'm sorry, I don't have an end date yet, but I'm also not one of those actresses who will sit back and say I'm going to be here for 10 years either. I enjoy it while I'm there and try to soak it all up.

Oliver Queen, played by Justin Hartley, is back as a series regular this season. Will there be any additional fall-out from your previous romance with Oliver?

Erica Durance: There's a moment that they created, which is really nice for him. There's an episode called Toxic, which actually reveals a lot more about the beginnings of the Green Arrow character and he comes very close to possibly dying, and I won't tell you guys what actually ends up happening. But she has to deal with the fact that it was somebody she was in love with and you can be in love with somebody, but if you see them in a situation like that where they can be dying, a lot of feelings come back up. What it did, I thought, was it created another moment for Clark and Lois to have some real intimacy because he sees her in this vulnerable position and they have a talk about dealing with relationships. Lois still isn't in love with Oliver, but what it did was it created another moment to build on that relationship with Clark.

We see that Kristen Kreuk is back as Lana for a few episodes. With Lois beginning to develop feelings for Clark, how does that whole dynamic play out with Lana around?

Erica Durance: You know what? We haven't done that yet, so we will see, but I'm sure, like with anything, I just hope that they create it in such a way that it keeps Lois' feelings for him mature and intelligent and I don't want it to get into too much of a young, petty jealousy thing. Trusting them, they've been doing such a great job with the show and with this year, I think it will be developed in a very good way and it will definitely be some exciting moments for me, hiding 'Do I tell?' 'Do I not tell?'

Along with Lois' relationship with Clark, are we going to see, by seasons end, Lois blossoming into the journalist that we've all come to know her by?

Erica Durance: That's where it seems to be going right now, absolutely.

Will the relationship change with your cousin, Chloe at all, or is there anything you can talk about that?

Erica Durance: The thing about this whole season is everybody's growing up. Chloe is also growning up and there's talk of her moving on and finding love with Jimmy Olsen, which I think is a really great storyline for them as well. Speaking, of course, from Lois' point of view, she also has to accept the fact that she's been protecting her cousin her whole life and she's got to let her go and let her find love. It's all part of growing up.

Warner Bros. seems to be completely retoolling their Superman film franchise, and it seems the fans are kind of wanting Smallville to play a part in that, in some way. Has there been any talk about any movie whisperings?

Erica Durance: I haven't heard any whisperings, at all. Either they're doing it and they decided to re-cast (Laughs) or who knows.

Great. Well, that's about all I have for you. Thank you so much for your time today, Erica.

Erica Durance: Thank you.

You can catch Erica Durance as Lois Lane along with the rest of the Smallville world when the eigth season premieres on Thursday, September 18 at 8 PM on the CW Network.