Amy and Rory were so beloved. Has it been daunting to fill their shoes?
It’s strange, actually. I watched the five episodes that went out recently as we were filming. It was strange to watch their goodbye as I was doing the beginning — and interesting to see where it left the Doctor as well. There’s no way to consider it other than something totally different. You fill somebody else’s shoes by trying to do the same thing — and I don’t think that’s a healthy way to look at it. It’s a whole new story, it’s a whole new character. It changes the Doctor and you’ve got to go on that journey and also go on your own journey with it, as well.
Is it true Karen Gillan left you a note?
She sent me a message. She texted me. I was pacing around, trying to figure out a scene and I checked my phone and I just had a message from her saying kind of “Good luck” and “You’re going to knock it out the park.” Then she told me eat at Woods restaurant in Cardiff. That was her Cardiff tip.
Matt Smith has been on the show for a few years now. What’s it been like working with him?
He is awe-inspiring. His work ethic just knows no bounds, really. It’s a work in progress and every day is something new and he’s incredibly creative and I feel like I’m learning more and more from him.
But in “Asylum of the Daleks” you were pretty much on your own in a room. What was it like acting with nobody?
That was really interesting. That was one of my huge concerns. The idea is you’ve really got to feel the banter and the dynamic between Oswin and the Doctor and I was really concerned about how that was going to work without Matt being there.
Basically I had a screen with a green circle in the middle which I spoke at for two days. So that kind of did help with [not] losing your mind. But Matt came down on my first day and we ran some stuff together so I could kind of get the feel of where he’d pitched it so it could really sync together. I’d seen some of his rushes as well. We did what we could to really sync us together.
“Asylum” was so funny but also so very sad.
That’s what Steven is so beautiful at. That’s the thing — it is so light and you can play so much with the comedy and he never over-sentimentalizes anything. But, reading that script, I found it so heartbreaking, the end.
It’s interesting actually — I think I can tell you this — that that was never the initial plan either, to have me be Oswin. That was part of a genius plan that Steven came up with half way through the audition process. That was already written but not written for what was to be the new companion. I was auditioning for the companion and then I got all these sides and I was like, “Who’s Oswin? They clearly don’t know what they want, they obviously don’t know what they’re looking for. They just want people to show them different things and see.” This is what I assumed when I was auditioning, not realizing that it’s basically Steven’s mad genius again.
So, you played an ultimately deceased Dalek on that show and now you are about to debut (again!) on the special Christmas show as the Doctor’s assistant. All of which obviously raises about a thousand questions. Is this a subject that is going to be addressed in the Christmas episode?
Uh… mmm… no. We’re going to have what has been referred to as a “soft mystery.” For me, filming, I’ve been totally oblivious to Oswin and the “Asylum of the Daleks.” I really have had to erase it from my memory. Yeah, Christmas is it’s own episode.
Oswin was a Dalek. Can you tell us whether your companion is human? Not all of the Doctor’s companions have been.
That’s why it’s so difficult [to talk about it]. Because of the way it started with Oswin, it’s really difficult to say much: where she’s from, what period she’s from, what planet she’s from, even.
It’s not often an actor can’t even reveal what planet their character is from.
Exactly, yeah. I know. Doctor Who’s the worst for it, isn’t it?
What can you say about the Christmas show?
I feel like I’ve been in Christmas for about six months. [Laughs]. We’re still finishing up on ADR and things at the moment. There are some absolutely stunning, beautiful, very magical, magical, magical, moments in it that’s Steven written. And it’s very icy and snowy.
Do you at any point say, “It’s bigger on the inside!”
You’ll have to wait and see.
You can check out the trailer for the special Doctor Who Christmas episode below.
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