There have been loads of Matt Smith / Karen Gillan interviews recently, focusing on the new (2010) series, but this one’s particularly great since the interviewer is a showbiz reporter on Fox News. Turns out, ‘Doctor Who’ is as big as ‘Two and a Half Men’, and maybe even bigger…
Q: Welcome back, we have two guests from ‘Doctor Who’, Matt Smith and Karen Gillan.
Matt Smith: Thanks for having us on.
Q: So the show premieres on Saturday on BBC America, and I was lucky enough to get a preview last night, I got a sneak peek, and I loved it. But since ‘Doctor Who’ is much bigger in the UK, I wasn’t even sure who Dr. Who is. So since you two are the stars of it, who is Dr. Who?
MS: Dr. Who is a 907-year old Timelord who travels through space and time in something called a TARDIS, which is a time machine. And what’s brilliant about all this is that one week he can be in the past, the next week he can be in the future. And he does all this with a companion, played by…
Karen Gillan: And that’s where I come in! I play Amy Pond, his companion, and she’s really his best friend, and he meets her in the first episode in a really interesting way. And they go on adventures together.
Q: ‘Wired’ magazine has the sonic screwdriver on the cover. What does it do that’s so amazing?
MS: The sonic basically works on anything except wood. Anything electrical. So for example, if I wanted to do something to your computer, I could go ‘Bzzzzz’ and make it work in a really fantastical way. If I’m running away from an alien, I can point it at the door and it locks the door. So essentially it sort of unlocks and opens doors. It does everything that we need it to, narratively.
KG: Don’t tell them that!
MS: But it doesn’t work on wood.
Q: Karen, I understand your character’s Scottish. Were they debating whether to have your character be a Scottish person?
KG: Yeah, she is. Well originally she could have been from anywhere, and I auditioned for the role in two different accents, and then we just went with my own ’cause it just seemed to work. You don’t hear that on television so much.
Q: And we see the younger version of you, the 7-year old version.
KG: Who’s my cousin!
Q: Tell us about that.
KG: Well, they needed someone to play a younger version of me, and because I have a sort of weird Highland accent and ginger hair, and that’s not easy to find, they asked me if I knew anyone, and I put her forward and she nailed it.
Q: Had she acted before?
KG: No. Nothing. So it’s really incredible, what she’s done.
Q: Is she just in that one episode?
KG: That’s a secret.
Q: ‘Doctor Who’ is so big in England. It’s huge. It’s as big as something like ‘Two and a Half Men’, but even bigger than that. Did you guys get nervous?
MS: Well, yes, in England it’s the number one show. We didn’t want to break it, basically. We’ve had an overwhelming response, and we really hope you guys in the US will pick it up and dig it. I mean, it’s the longest running show on television, well, sci-fi show ever.
Q: What number Doctor are you?
MS: I’m number eleven.
Q: So how does the character change, is it like a (James) Bond thing?
MS: Well that’s the principle, we see him regenerate from one man to the next.
Q: Oh perfect, so it’s actually a logical transformation.
MS: Yeah, I mean he’s a 900-year old alien with two hearts. It’s mad, it’s bonkers. He’s James Bond but cooler. James Bond gets a boat, the Doctor gets a time machine.
Q: Can you play it for more than a year?
MS: Oh yes, I think the longest ever Doctor played it for seven. So you can really do a stint.