We recently had the opportunity to talk to Torchwood stars John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness), Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper), and Alexa Havins (Esther Drummond), as well as Executive Producer, Creator, and Show Runner, Russell T Davies. Here are some highlights and things you can look forward to seeing tonight on Starz:
From a production standpoint, what were some of the biggest challenges, you would say, in the filming of Miracle Day?
Russell Davies: That’s interesting. I mean, it was interesting for us coming across from Britain to America because in many ways it’s the same industry. You have scripts, you have actors, you have a camera.
You get on with it and yet everything is slightly translated with a slightly different language. And even the lights have got slightly different names so sometimes, even three months in, you sit there and go, “What are you talking about?” to one of the sparks or grips or something. You don’t even know the names of the cranes anymore.
So, just the language was a really, really odd thing in going from one country to another. But as ever, the biggest challenge was the same challenge we always faced in Britain, which is realizing the ambition of the show. And I think we have done it. You know, it’s a show we — all of us, all the cast and everyone — wants to be bigger and better every week.
Are we going to continue to see Jack’s sins or missteps from elsewhere in time continue to come back to haunt him?
Russell Davies: I think you might have hit upon a theme there. I think the most fascinating thing about Jack is that he’s lived for thousands of years both in the future and the past.
So it’s such a gift to a writer, and I mean to the whole writing team, that you sit people in a room and they always gravitate towards that because it’s fascinating. And we’ve done that in the past and taken Jack into some very dark places. We certainly do that this time, and oh my God there is some shocking stuff to come, and it’s absolutely vital to the story.
John Barrowman: I love playing those kinds of stories. And it allows me to kind of alter Jack a little bit and look into how he has become the man who he is now.
And you know, when we’re watching him at that moment in time on screen, and to go back into the history — because I am also a fan of the genre myself — and also I enjoy that kind of in-depth look into the characters. And whether it be just with Jack or whether it’s going and looking into more about Gwen Cooper or, you know, when hopefully we look into stuff about with Rex.
Since the previous Torchwood series Children of Earth kind of saw the deconstruction of Torchwood and basically the end of it, are we seeing in this series kind of the rebuilding? And what do all the characters think about Jack and Gwen think about being involved in this again and Esther and Rex think about being pulled into this world?
Russell Davies: To be honest, at the end of Children of Earth yes, Torchwood was closed down. But it was actually leaving in an ideal place for this series to happen, which is a restart and a relaunch.
Not a reboot, it’s still exactly the same show. But the program opens up with characters like Esther saying, “Who is Torchwood. What is happening? What are they?” So a brand new audience gets filled in on the information. So it was kind of designed. It was kind of cleverly done, dare I say, so to move from one stage of Torchwood to the next.
John Barrowman: For myself as the actor to get involved again, with open arms and open doors. I love the character of Captain Jack. I love what the show stands for. I love the other characters in the show. So it was like putting a comfortable pair of shoes on back to go and do it, and shoes that were running very quickly and exciting.
[…]If you’re talking as Jack Harkness, I think Jack although he wanted to keep everything under wraps, when Torchwood raised its head again and he had to go and help Gwen Cooper and they got back together, as soon as they start to see each other, that’s it. They’re back and I think I’m speaking from Jack, he’s very excited to be back and really wants it back, although he really knows it kind of shouldn’t be back. But who cares? It’s there. Let’s do it.
Eve Myles: Torchwood is an absolute – that’s Gwen Cooper’s adrenaline. And she is an absolute adrenaline junkie. It runs through her veins and her heart and her soul.
And when it’s not there, how on earth are you possibly going to carry on your life without having something to do with that wonderful, weird, bizarre, crazy organization called Torchwood? It leaves the biggest hole ever and nothing, nothing fills it for Gwen Cooper except for Jack Harkness [and] Torchwood.
So when she is seemingly having this very quiet, very strange, secluded life when she sees Jack Harkness, when she sees trouble knock on her door, it’s not good. But in a way her heart starts pounding again and that’s the Gwen we all know and that’s the Gwen I love playing.
Alexa Havins: I think Esther is kind of a little bit of Alice in Wonderland; down the rabbit hole we go. Her curiosity gets the best of her. Like Russell was saying, the first thing out the gate is, “Did you ever hear of Torchwood? What’s Torchwood?”
And down she goes looking for the answer and who is this Gwen Cooper and this mysterious man in the coat? So she just finds herself quickly without choice. I mean her life is changed in the matter of a moment in this new world.
Is there a moment, that you can’t wait for people to see?
Alexa Havins: For me, one of the big moments was the reveal of the two characters. When [we’re in] this beautiful big space and Esther is digging, digging, what is this and then you just look up and there is Captain and his co. And it’s such a breathtaking reveal that I just think from a fan’s perspective and a viewer’s perspective it’s quite an initiation. And then for the fans of Gwen I think it’s seeing her with that badass rocket launcher.
Eve Myles: There are so many. There are lots of references and there are lots of references also to people we’ve lost and things that the fans are going to go crazy for which we went crazy for when we read it also. It’s very like when Russell brings up little elements of the past it’s fantastic.
John Barrowman: The big moments I think, there are two of the moments for me, are really when Jack and Gwen lock eyes for the first time in a long time; when she comes running out of the house in Wales and he is standing there with a gun in a Land Rover ready for her to jump on board. And that’s like the beginning of it all again, that there.
The other little exciting bit is just a quirky little thing, the fact that when Jack is covering as a CIA agent and he calls himself Owen Harper.
Don’t miss the premiere of Torchwood: Miracle Day tonight on Starz at 10pm ET/PT!