Comic Con 2011: TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY Interview Roundup

     July 25, 2011

Comic Con: TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY Interview slice

When Captain Jack Harkness enters a room at San Diego Comic Con, everyone salutes.  Especially when he (John Barrowman), comes along with Eve Myles, Alexa Havins, Mekhi Phifer, Bill Pullman and writer Jane Espenson.  During this year’s Comic-Con, I was able to speak with the stars of Torchwood: Miracle Day after their panel.  They talked about if it’s a good idea for Harkness and Gwen to hook up?  How will Harkness deal with mortality?  What brought the new talent to the Torchwood: Miracle Day?  Hit the jump to find out.

Jane EspensonJane Espenson (Writer)

When asked, “What’s it like being the hardest working person in show business?” Jane said that she told her agent last writing season that she wanted to “make a meal out of appetizers.”  She loves joining a show already in progress.  And working on Torchwood?  “It’s been perfect, I’m going to only eat appetizers all my life.”

This is the first time that she’s written a show without act/commercial breaks and she relishes the chance to write it fluidly all the way through.  The hardest part about writing for her, is structure — emotions, themes, voices, titles, those come naturally.  She’s thankful the writer’s room is a room full of people there to help.

*Most perfectly structured movie?  “It’s hard to get more satisfying than Tootsie”

*Balancing humor and horror — “One chuckle in a dark scene goes a long way.  A glimmer of light in the darkness is all the more brighter.”

*”It’s nice to have a comfortable budget so that you don’t have to write to budget first draft.”

*The “sex” element associated with Torchwood — “Episode 7 gets far sexier.”  She doesn’t understand why sexuality is taboo and violence is okay. “Shouldn’t it be the other way around?”

*Check out the webseries

John Barrowman torchwood

John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness)

The first thing that Barrowman did, after addressing the reporter dressed as Slave Leia at the table with his own impromptu Jabba the Hutt impression, was talk about the new revelation for his character with Miracle Day — His mortality.  “All of the sudden you have this immortal man… who sacrificed his grandchild to save the world– now has to rely on the others who are immortal to help him.  As the story progresses, a man who was not comfortable with his immortality, you start to learn more about him as a mortal man and you find out what he really wants.  The character lived his life selfishly, but became selfless through working with the Doctor on the Tardis.  The parallels that happen within this — the outcome of why he has become who he is — when you get to Episode Ten – the questions are all answered?”

When asked about the relationship between Captain Jack and Gwen, he said, “Jack has secretly [prior to the start of Miracle Day] been protecting Gwen.  They almost become equals in that sense.  Gwen puts herself in harm’s way to help Jack which is what he’s always done for her.”   He said that their dynamic would be explored in depth during this season and that Episode Five was series creator/showrunner Russell T. Davies’s gift to John and Eve and their characters.  “Jack and Gwen are not in love.  It’s not a sexual love. It’s the love of a person.  They would do anything for each other.  But there’s another dynamic in there somewhere and it’s shown.”

For those wondering, Barrowman would love to strut his stuff back on Doctor Who and would like the fan support to make it happen.  John repeated that he “would love to do it.”  (If you take anything away from this article, please start that petition – Nico)

Outside of Torchwood, he keeps busy with his UK show Tonight’s the Night where he makes people’s wishes come true through performance.

Torchwood Eve Myles

Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper)

When asked how she felt about Comic Con, Eve Myles said, “It’s like a big grown up dress up fest.  It’s great.  I love it.  I’m going to come dressed up next time.”

She doesn’t feel like there’s been a change in the shift to Starz and America.  It is a bigger production telling a bigger story.  Myles went on to reiterate Barrowman’s thoughts on the Jack/Gwen dynamic — “They should never get together.  The relationship between Gwen and Jack, what they share is far sexier than sex.  It’s more psychological.  It’s a unique loving friendship.”  She called the episode that Barrowman mentioned, just the two of them and a car, her favorite thing that she’s ever shot for Torchwood.

*In describing Gwen’s motherhood — “She’s a lioness with a cub.”  She has to save the world because she has to for her little girl.  The domestic part of the science fiction, amongst this madness is this family.

*Myles now gets her hero statement of “I’m Welsh” while shopping at the supermarket — “beep beep beep ‘I’m Welsh.’”

Alexa Havins torchwood

Alexa Havins (Esther Drummond)


While new to Torchwood, Torchwood wasn’t new to Havins as her husband is a huge fan of science fiction in general and the show in particular.  She feels that her character of Esther is the character that grows and changes the most because you can’t be by the book with Torchwood, which is how she starts in Episode One.  She purposefully started Esther as nervous and out of her element so that she has someplace to go.

Havins said that it’s fun for females to have strong roles like that of Gwen, strong female characters. The character of Esther gets to throw down though Havins is the first to admit that “It’s not as polished as a Gwen fight… there’s more hair pulling.”

Bill Pullman torchwood

Bill Pullman (Oswald Danes)

When asked “where’s your character going to go?”, Pullman responded succinctly “he’s trying not to go to Hell.”  That covers the description of the killer’s wants aptly.  Known for his many more socially upstanding, kinder, friendlier roles, he said, “Being nice is a lot of work.”  and that the character of Oswald is like the comfort that accompanies a the placement of a hot towel on the face.  Pullman then spoke highly of series creator Davies and said that the great journey the characters go through comes from Russell’s sense of humanity.  He said that Davies is ready for any character to take surprising moves and called it his mischievous nature of turning it around and then turning it around again.  Pullman said that the gift of acting is to go off and build a separate reality and clearly delineated characters are the easiest to do. “The Male lead in a romantic comedy is the toughest to prepare for.”

*Regarding any movement on a “Spaceballs 2” film — no one has talked about it with him.


Mekhi Phifer (Rex Matheson)

“What’s great about playing a strong character like Rex is the arc — he’s hard edged and set in his ways — once he realizes that he needs Torchwood and they need him, he starts to peel back like an onion.”  He also commented on the conundrum of Rex’s situation noting that Rex is gung ho about solving this mystery, but he’s also worried that if he solves it does he drop dead.  Rex is healing, but it’s a slow process and he does bleed out from the stress of the situations.  Rex is an introvert, so he doesn’t like people to see him in pain, vulnerable.

Phifer watched Children of Earth as preparation.  The fantastical elements of the show are a definite appeal to him.  “It’s great because there’s no limit to where you can go.”  While the show is fantastical, he also loves the humor that comes out of the real situations and enjoys that the show is more character driven than procedural driven.

And the fans of the show?  “Avid fans are more fun.”