On the cusp of New York ComicCon, series lead Eve Myles gamely shook off her jet lag to discuss the upcoming new season of the BBC America’s hit Torchwood. Season Three’s Torchwood: Children of Earth, a five-part miniseries, will make its highly-anticipated debut later this summer.
Myles talked to Fancast about the Doctor Who connection to her character, Torchwood’s omnisexuality, and which American drama is in constant rotation on her DVD player. Read on:
What’s the most surprising or interesting thing you find about fans of the show?
I find it fascinating, the energy and the commitment the fans have for this show. It’s off the scale. It’s incredible how passionate the fans are. Almost as passionate as I am about it! I’ll never get used to that, actually. I’ll never get used to the kind of attention ….I will always be in awe of it, and I’ll always be surprised by it. Or I hope to be, anyway. I think it’s much more healthy to be surprised by it. It’s overwhelming. Absolutely overwhelming.
Do you pay attention to the message boards and chat rooms and kind of delve into what they’re saying [about the show]…..?
I don’t do anything with the computer. That’s basically because I have no idea how to work it. I can seriously just put my television on with the remote control. I’m a complete technophobe –useless! I can key the front door – that’s as technical as I get. So no – I don’t tend to do that. But I enjoy very much meeting people and getting feedback. I’d not done a lot of conventions before, basically because I thought I’d find it very overwhelming being amongst so many people who want something from me. But then I did a convention in London, and it was the absolute antithesis to that……people were there because they were supporting me, and they were encouraging, and they were truly sensational. And that’s the reason that we do this, because we’re giving so many people a great ride. So I’m really, really excited to meet people tomorrow and get feedback from this side of the world. I do meet fans, and I get approached a lot. But it’s a very different beast over here. It’s a completely different audience. So I’m really, really excited to see what they think. I’m very excited about it.
You know, when you do theater and things, you instantly get feedback. It’s kind of there. But with a TV show, you do the show, and then something else, and seven or eight months later – unless you’re amongst close friends – you don’t actually see how people have enjoyed it, or not. So these kinds of situations like ComicCon…… when do you otherwise get to sit in a room with like a thousand other people and [get feedback on] a TV drama? It’s a stroke of genius.
Now, is there definitely a season four coming after this miniseries?
Well, there’s been no talk about it yet, but it depends on how well the third series will do, which will give them a gauge on making another series. But you know, I’m quite hopeful about it. I would think that there will be.
About your character – at some point, assuming the series goes on – will it be inevitable that Gwen loses her girl-next-door quality? You know, as she amasses more experiences and becomes….not jaded, but….
I fight that all the time, and I think that with Gwen, she’s….what’s wonderful about this series is that they’ve married a domestic drama with a sci fi show. I think Gwen brings a lot of the domestic side to it. She is very much the girl next door, but you know, she’s an ordinary girl caught in extraordinary circumstances. And she deals with it as any human would try and deal with it. She’s literally got the weight of the world on her shoulders. While she’s in Torchwood, I think she will never stop being shocked at what she witnesses. What with the Doctor Who connection – seeing that my character is connected with a character in Doctor Who – it goes back generations, that Gwen is part of a generation of family that protects the rift. They’ve always protected the rift, so it’s kind of her destiny to be a part of this deadly organization.
I see on the chat boards that a lot of fans want Rhys out of the way to clear the path for Gwen and Jack to be together. But – with every action having an equal and opposite reaction – if Rhys were out of the picture, how would that change Gwen?
Oh my goodness…I really think that Jack is everything that Rhys isn’t, and Rhys is everything that Jack isn’t. He keeps her grounded and he keeps her sane. She can share the world of Torchwood with him now – whereas before she couldn’t – so I think if Rhys was out of the way………? I always believe that the chase is far more important than the actual catch. And I think if the romance blossomed….right now I think there’s a huge amount of respect between Jack and Gwen. I think if the game was up and they both got caught, I think we’d lose the sort of strong drive – the “Will they or won’t they?” thing, which is just superb to play…..I think there are people who want to see Rhys and Gwen stay together, and then there are the people who are hoping for “Gwak,” as I believe they call it – they want that. And some want Rhys and Jack to get together, and get me out of the way! It’s good stuff, and people get involved…..and that’s exactly what we want to be doing.
You bring up a good point, too – I notice that the word “omnisexual” gets bandied about a lot in describing this show – not just the gay and straight, but the inter-species stuff….
You know what? I’m just waiting for the day when Jack falls in love with his table…….
It’s sci fi – it could go in that direction……
It’s terrifying in that actually anything could happen whatsoever….
One of the things that’s so great about the show is that it manages to pull all that off in a way that’s weirdly genuine – especially a lot of Jack’s scenes – and I’m wondering…how do you think they’ve managed to pull that off without delving into, say, [salacious soap opera] territory?
By extraordinary writing. And the premise isn’t…… that we’re on a spaceship, or on a planet….it’s set in a very small town in south Wales, in Cardiff, and there are real people involved in it, and things from outside keep on making life difficult for us. And it’s that marrying the domestic with the sci fi again – there’s two genres within there, and you’ve these grounded, real people. Apart from Jack, who’s not a mortal – he’s the only extraordinary character. The rest are people who you might be living next door to. You want to keep that premise. You want to keep that very real and we want everybody to feel that they might know a Gwen or a Ianto or a Rhys. But they’re born fighters. And protective. They’ve got to be.
Can you comment on the last scenes you had with Tosh, and then with Owen’s departure as well – can you just address their departure from the show?
Yes. You know it’s a very strange thing – you’ve gotta keep coming back to reality and thinking, you know what? It’s drama. It needs to pull punches, and it needs the audience to fall in love with the characters, and it needs the audience to hate the characters, and it needs us to want to be like the characters…..we try to involve the audience as much as possible. They took those two wonderful characters and just highlighted that the world is a very, very unsafe place to be. And anyone at any point can go. They are a constant reminder to Torchwood – and to the viewer – that life is unsafe every day, that life can be over in a flash.
Given the subject matter of the miniseries, did you have lots of scenes with the children?
And how did that go with lots of little co-stars running around?
They were absolutely superb. And I mean that. They worked very long hours and, you know, we had bad, bad weather. It was cold and it was raining and they were like little troopers, every one of them. There were shots, where some of it was very, very traumatic stuff, and in between takes, we’d be singing and playing games and jokes. We were playing a game – I don’t know if you know it out here at all: X Factor? Basically you have to come in and audition and sing. And my inner child came out with those kids on the set……I was acting like a five year old, which I do most of the time anyway….well, normally it’s seven, so I went down two years. It was good fun, and Euros Lyn, the director, was superb in keeping up their energy, but also in keeping control, because there was a lot of them.
So, what can you reveal about this miniseries? What are you allowed to reveal?
Well, it’s hard, because I just want to get it out there! I think what you’re going to get is five episodes of course, but it’s absolutely jam packed. There’s no room in there to breathe. There’s a very dark tone to it but huge amounts of humor. And you get to see a lot about the past – Jack’s past, and Ianto’s. But you’ll see the theme is very much…..you have to lose something to gain something. And they each lose something.
That sounds exciting…..
It is. I can’t wait!
Now, how would you bring fans on board if they’ve never seen Torchwood before? Do they need to have been watching prior to this?
Not at all. I think you can come fresh into it with this series. It’s one story and it’s compact. You don’t have to have seen Torchwood before in order to enjoy what’s happening in this one. Because we try and …you’ve got to pick it up every year, and make it fresh, and make it original, and new viewers are welcome all the time.
And quickly – are there any shows that you are a fan of – schedule permitting?
Oh gosh. I’m a huge fan of – and I watch it over and over again….it was out years ago, and I have all the DVDs…..when I get some time off, I still put it on, I personally think it’s one of the best shows ever made – after Torchwood, of course: and that’s Six Feet Under. It’s just in a completely different class to anything that’s been on before.
And any comedies you’re a fan of?
I like The Office….
The British version or….?
Yes! I’ve seen the American one, which is great too. And Curb Your Enthusiasm – I enjoy that. And then I like the oldies like Fawlty Towers.
Excellent choices. Thank you so much for your time. Any closing words on Torchwood?
I hope you enjoy the new season! Thank you!