Ackles departed Days of our Lives in 2000 and went on to appear in the mini-series Blonde, about the life of Marilyn Monroe. He also auditioned for the role of the young Clark Kent on Smallville, a role offered to actor Tom Welling instead. Next he appeared in a guest role on the James Cameron television series Dark Angel on Fox in 2001 as serial killer Ben/X5-493, the brother of main character Max/X5-452 (played by Jessica Alba). His character died in the episode, but Ackles returned to the show as a series regular in the second season as Ben's sane clone, Alec/X5-494. He remained with the show until its cancellation in 2002.
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