Q&A with the cast of ‘Torchwood: Miracle Day’
The recent London MCM Expo at the ExCel Centre played host to a number of big names from the world of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Among the stars were several members from the cast of ‘Torchwood: Miracle Day’, including Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper), Kai Owen (Rhys Williams), Alexa Havins (Esther Drummond) and Arlene Tur (Dr. Vera Juarez). They shared their thoughts on moving to America, ‘Miracle Day’ and the future of ‘Torchwood’.
What was it like making the transfer to filming in America?
Kai (KO): Americans stink!
Eve (EM): I think that with ‘Torchwood’ we’ve been very lucky. Every season we’ve had a year, maybe two years between each series and they’ve always brought it back different, whether it be 13 episodes or five episodes or maybe a film, we don’t know. To take it to America was simply unbelievable because we had this little show that was happening on the BBC and all of a sudden it went from BBC3 to BBC2 to this massive thing on BBC1 and then exploded.
California is a little bit different to Wales?
EM: It’s exactly like Mieth in Swansea Valley, it’s damp, boring.
EM: Full of really dull people.
Arlene (AT): Cloudy.
EM: It truly was outrageously lovely and the welcome that we had because so many people formed ‘Torchwood’ out there that we didn’t quite realise.
Did you know about ‘Torchwood’ before you joined the show? [at Alexa and Arlene]
Alexa (AH): I did. My husband’s a really big fan of ‘Torchwood’ so when it came about he pretty much shut me up and said: ‘you don’t have a choice’. I had just had a baby so I was like: ‘I’m not sure if I’m ready to go back’ and he was like: ‘you get to that audition right now and you book that!’
You’re quite affectionate with each other, is it really that nice?
AT: We’re faking it. We’re actors.
KO: I know, people always say that, it’s so great but we really do, everyone got on great.
EM: You see companies come together and you think: ‘you can’t get on that well’. We did. We were so pleased to be there making the fourth series of ‘Torchwood’ and whoever we’ve had come onboard was welcomed, genuinely welcomed with open arms.
AT: Genuinely. And Julie [Gardner] and Russell [T. Davies] as well. They were equally as open and encouraging.
KO: Oh yes, because they care passionately about it and they want everyone to get on. They cast well, they cast the team well. They make sure that everyone gets on.
AH: And I hope that you can see when it doesn’t. I’ve been on casts and sometimes you don’t get along as well. I get what you’re saying, is this all for show? We guys really like each other.
Eve, do you miss doing the single episode stories?
EM: No, I don’t. We were fortunate from the second series to get, I think, 6,7,8 which was Burn Gorman’s story which was him being dead and broken and trying to live a real life. I found it fascinating that we were able to stretch a story over three episodes instead of it being a beginning, middle and end in 40 minutes. As an actor it gives you more and you can just invest more in it more and enjoy it more. I feel it’s more of an adult theme and that’s more where we want to be with ‘Torchwood’. Russell wanted ‘Miracle Day’ to be made from day one but never had the facilities and the amenities to make it.
KO: He always had that story in mind.
Which episodes stood out for you?
AT: I loved the first one, I watched it four times and my heart was always racing – and I knew what was going to happen.
KO: I thoroughly enjoyed this series more than most of the others ones in the past, really. I like the one where it went back in time.
AH: I did too.
KO: I really did like that episode an awful lot. And I thought 10, the climax was amazing. But episode 7, where Jack went back and met Angelo, I thought they really nailed it.
AH: They did a really great job with the period and everything.
Considering how ‘Torchwood’ kills off characters, have you ever felt safe?
KO: Me? Rhys is the most killable character of the whole lot! They don’t kill me because it works so well. Rhys is a very killable character. I’m constantly on edge going: ‘this is the end’.
EM: He was supposed to die in episode 6 of the first series and I knew that and I had a word with him and I said ‘you’re going to die, we’ve got to do something really special here and make this relationship work and make Gwen and Rhys real. Not for me. We need to make them real, we need to make them laugh and we need people to enjoy seeing them together and just enjoy their relationship and watch it.’
KO: And no one’s safe and I feel myself very, very blessed.
EM: I’m waiting for the chop.
AH: You know that when coming on, you know. But we’re in good company.
EM: That’s what happens in ‘Torchwood’, it’s a deadly organisation.
KO: I think the audience got the shock of its life when both Arlene and Alexa died. They just did phenomenal work on the whole series. My mates were stunned at what happened. The way Dr. Juarez went was just oh my god!
AT: That was just so fun to shoot though!
In 2013 ‘Doctor Who’ will be celebrating its 50th anniversary, will ‘Torchwood’ be playing a part in it?
EM: I wouldn’t have thought so. We have lots of adult themes running in ‘Torchwood’ and I think it would be inappropriate for us to have anything to do with ‘Doctor Who’ because it’s predominantly a family programme. I think that where ‘Torchwood’ is, it deals with darker subjects and I think inter-mixing them, if they want to do that, then fine but I can tell you that I’m not involved in it – they won’t give me guns or a bazooka.
What’s next for ‘Torchwood’?
KO: Who knows? It would be different. It might come back as a special.
EM: I think the next step would be a movie. We change every year. We have to change every year to keep it fresh and different and keep people interested because by the third, fourth, fifth series of ‘Lost’, ‘Sopranos’ however good they are, they’re extraordinary, but you know what you’re going to get. With ‘Torchwood’ we can live up to the name that you never know what you’re going to get.
KO: They can do whatever they want with the show.
EM: He [Russell T. Davies] amalgamated a wonderful kind of genre and it has been done before with ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’. He amalgamated Sci-Fi with really strong domestic drama and you’ve got characters in there that are normal and ordinary dealing with extraordinary circumstances which people find fascinating. We had 5 million every week, watching it and dedicated fans, people who had never seen Sci-Fi in their life. My mum’s in her 60s, my father’s in his 60s, they’ve never watched ‘Star Trek’ and they just got it. They had people within it that they could connect with.
KO: Because it has that real heart in the middle of it that Russell writes, real people and the fantastical element of it all. People who have no interest in Sci-Fi will sit and watch and be glued to ‘Torchwood’.
EM: I feel very honoured to be a part of it and whatever happens in the future happens. But up to this point, I’m very honoured to have played Gwen Cooper and am very honoured to have been led by John Barrowman and Russell T. Davies and Julie Gardner.
KO: I completely second that. It’s the best job ever and if they wanted to do five more years of ‘Torchwood’ or ten more years of ‘Torchwood’ and they wanted me in as part of it, if I was lucky enough to be a part of it, I would do it every time.
For more information about MCM Expos across the UK visit: www.mcmexpo.net
Image credit: Neela Debnath/The IndependentTagged in: doctor who, science fiction, torchwood, tv&radio
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