Eve Myles, as Gwen Cooper, with John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness.
When Torchwood: Miracle Day
returns to television tonight, Gwen Cooper will have to come out of retirement from Torchwood to save the world—and the health care system—when everyone on Earth suddenly becomes unable to die. I talked to Eve Myles, the actress who plays Gwen, about what this season of Torchwood
has to say about leadership and David Cameron, what it’s like to play an action star who’s also a mother, and why Gwen and Captain Jack Harkness should never get together (though she previews a big scene between the two later this season).
I’ll be recapping Miracle Day for the rest of this season, but this post will function as an open thread for tonight’s episode. A fuller review of the show, with particular attention to its healthcare implications is here. And I’ll be curious to hear what y’all think about Torchwood‘s move to America, and the health care storyline that forms the core of this season.
Obviously transporting Torchwood from Wales to the U.S. is a big shift. How did it change your experience of the show? What about the experience of having a team that’s a blend of old Torchwood members and American intelligence officers?
Well, I mean, initially, I’m playing the same character, so that’s always a help. So I didn’t have to delve into a different pair of shoes. It’s just the surroundings and the situation have changed. The way it’s written is Gwen is finding it all quite awkward…It was just something that we had to do with the series this year. If we’re going to top Children of Earth, we have to make it bigger and better, and the only way to do that was to bring it to the United States. We wanted to make it a blockbuster, and hopefully, that’s what we did.
You’ve got all these individuals with very strong personalities. We’ve been asked constantly about us having a bigger budget and it beging more of an explosive series, because it is aesthetically better, no doubt. But the most engrossing part of the drama is when you’ve got all the individuals under one roof sitting around a table talking to each other.
The main story in Miracle Day’s also quite explicitly political—at least, coming off of health care reform, it’s going to seem that way to American audiences. Do you think it’ll resonate in the UK in the same way?
Well, I think there’s all sorts of resonances in there. There’s so much politics being written into this story…Obviously, with us having a new PM, and David Cameron being so young, it’s all about decision-making. And what the humans do to each other to get by, and it’s disgrace.
Well, and even sex is political. I was particularly struck by that scene in the third episode where Jack and the guy from the bar talk about whether you have to use protection if no one’s going to die.
If you ask people, if the universe is going to end in 24 hours, so many people would say I’d get drunk, and I’d have sex, and I’d do crazy things, and I’d have a wonderful time. But the reality of it is, is if you do get hurt, if you catch a dreadful disease, you have to live with it for eternity. It doesn’t go away. They don’t stop hurting, or being in a terrible kind of state. If you’re involved in something that happens to you because of something you’ve done to yourself, or you’ve had that one-night stand, actually there is a consequence to everything you do. It’s highlighting you have to take care of yourself, because these things do last forever.
Initially, you think it’s a good thing. But you start scratching the surface on it and it’s a curse.