Apr 16, 2010

Playing Doctor with Matt Smith

As I mentioned yesterday, earlier this week I got to do something that made tons of Doctor Who fans jealous. I sat down with the talented Steven Moffat, writer of some of my all-time favorite episodes and the new Executive Producer, Karen Gillan, the drop-dead gorgeous new Companion and the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith (my future husband) and talked about all sorts of things.

I got two great articles out of my time with them, and the Q&A with a room full of fans at the Paley Center afterward, but there was even more! I was originally going to do a review of the premiere episode today but decided my time would be better spent giving you guys more of the good stuff because, well, the new episode is awesome and there's not much more to say than that. Here's some fun stuff from the "cutting room floor" that didn't fit into either piece but that I knew you guys would get a kick out of.

This was Matt Smith's first trip to New York and he's fallen in love instantly. "Wow, what a place!" he said, "I could live here. I love it here. What a city! You’ve got everything here man. So cool.” Not only that, but he totally blends in. He could absolutely live here.

That being said, would the crew ever like to film an episode in NYC? Smith quickly jumped in with, "Yes. There’s a lot of people in charge as well as Steven so start the political campaign. I would love to do an episode here." Moffat gave him the solution, "It’s very easy to set us in New York. You know what will happen, you’ll be standing in front of a green cloth."

Slight spoiler in this paragraph for the first episode but nothing huge. I asked Smith if he really ate fish stick and custard. “Yes, sort of," he said. "I had to eat twelve of them but look, the fish sticks were actually coated coconut. But twelve of them, it’s a lot. That’s just sort of a three, four minute scene and of course, he’s just got out of the TARDIS and stuff so he’s so hungry. He needs food. But it’s a clever scene, isn’t it? Clever on Steven Moffat.”

A fan asked Moffat if he was looking for someone a particular age to play the new Doctor. With a straight face he replied, "The Doctor is 907 and there are hardly any people in that age group." But what is it like playing a character who is almost 1000 years old I asked Smith. “Really interesting. What interests me about the Doctor is that I think he’s got so much blood on his hands. And clearly he’s the most intelligent man in the universe and one of the most humane but you know, there are so many facets to exploring that man and it’s been a real privilege.”

Was there a big transition from the Tenth to Eleventh Doctor? "I think the Doctor is the Doctor always. Luckily I have great support from the people around me," said Smith. "I just try to be as clear and creative as I can be. I was very grateful that I was given the freedom and platform to do it."

A very important character was introduced last season in the episode "The Forest of the Dead," named River Song. Played by the talented actress Alex Kingston, Moffat explained he never meant for the character to develop the way it did. "I had the scene in the library with the Doctor meeting someone and I realized this person had to trust him immediately," he said. "I thought, the easiest way to do that would be to have her be an old friend of the Doctor’s but I thought, ‘Oh, that’s lame. How about an old friend he hasn’t met yet?’"

"And then of course that plot line just took over the rest of the show," he continued, "I think the stuff we’ve got with River Song this season is really, really exciting." Smith said Kingston does not disappoint. "It’s rubbish when you meet someone you watch on TV and go, ‘You’re really boring.’"

A fan of one of Moffat's penned episodes, "The Girl in the Fireplace," wanted to know if the Clockwork Men would ever make another appearance. As awesome as they are, don't get your hopes up. "They were sort of just repair robots that went a bit wrong," he said. "We don’t have too many stories about repair droids with rubbish plans to fix things. This time they’re going to steal the ear of Henry the VIII!"

Speaking of historical figures (spoilers for future episodes), I asked Moffat is there was anyone in particular he'd like to use in the show. "Do you know, I’m a bit rubbish at that," he said, mentioning the two he'd be utilizing this season, "The only idea I ever had was, it would be really cool for Winston Churchill to meet the Daleks and after that I’m a blank. Richard Curtis came in wanting to do Vincent Van Gogh, kind of a very, very good idea so I went with that. I do slightly wonder have we played that gag too many times now, I mean, we’ve done it twice this year with Winston and Vincent so I haven’t got big plans until I’ll get up tomorrow and think, ‘Oh, that’s good.’”

I'm not only a fan of Moffat's Doctor Who work, I also love Coupling and Jekyll. With Meera Syal making a guest-appearance this season, could any other Moffat alums be in the cards too? “You’re talking about Gina Bellman aren’t you? Honestly, I may look as though my career is like I just go around choosing my old friends but I don’t really," he said. "I mean, it would be great if they were right for it, so far it hasn’t happened but I’m not against it, I’m not particularly planning it. I think all the Coupling lot are off in L.A. at the moment being wildly successful.”

It just so happens that a fan in the audience had a Coupling related question to ask Moffat, one which not everyone understood, but is particularly humorous if you watched the show. She asked if the catchphrase "Geronimo!" was a reference to the comedy. "Ohh, no!" cried Moffat when he realized what she was alluding to. "What the hell happened in Coupling?!" cried Smith when he didn't. "It’s used in a very different context," said Moffat, "No, it wasn’t and you know what? It’s not really a catchphrase. I wrote it into the regeneration scene and Matt’s been saying it ever since whenever he can’t remember what he’s supposed to say."

That, my dear friends, is how you play Doctor.

4 comments:

Rebelcomix said...

...I'm gonna be honest with you. There's a slight chance I would sell my soul to switch places with you in that picture with Karen Gillan.

Damn. That may be the sexiest case of "red eye" EVAH.

Psychotronic said...

If there ever was a call to play Amy Pond's American cousin, you would be the perfect choice.

Lord Darian said...

I must say, when I first read about Matt Smith being the new Doctor, I was a little apprehensive.
My fears were all for nothing however and I am very pleased with Smith's performance as the eleventh Doctor.

Elise Mianowski said...

David Tennant was super hot but now I got a crush on Matt Smith
( sorry but you got competition)
also u really do kinda look like Karen Gillan