July 08, 2011 9:00am PT by Jethro Nededog
'Torchwood: Miracle Day's' Eve Myles: 'There Was A Lot of Retraining for Gwen'
When Torchwood: Miracle Day premieres on Starz Friday at 10 p.m., fans of the franchise will have a few things to celebrate. First, that the series is back at all as the co-production between BBC and the pay channel has pretty much made a return possible. Then, fans will have John Barrowman and Eve Myles reprising their roles as Torchwood’s Captain Jack Harkness and Gwen Cooper, respectively.
Miracle Day is what brings the final two Torchwood members back into action. Earth is experiencing a strange phenomenon as no one dies. It’s considered a blessing at first, but becomes a global crisis very quickly.
THR spoke to Myles about where we’ll find Gwen in the Season 4 premiere, what it was like to welcome several new cast members to the fold, and if there’s anything new to learn about her character.
Warning: Spoiler Alert.
THR: Where do we find Gwen Cooper at the beginning of Miracle Day?
Eve Myles: You find Gwen in the first few weeks somewhere you’ve never expected to find Gwen Cooper. You find her living in complete isolation. She’s living in this little cottage, literally hanging off the side of a cliff in the middle of Wales somewhere, completely self-sufficient, with her husband and a baby. Yes. She’s completely cut off from the world. She’s in hiding, and she’s very lonely. Bored out of her mind. She knows trouble’s going to come knocking one day, and she has to be prepared for it, so she’s also living in constant fear. She is “Miss Paranoia.” She questions everything, watches everything, on alert constantly, 24 hours of the day on alert. And when someone does knock at the door, she’s ready for it.
THR: Why has she isolated herself?
Myles: Why she’s in hiding? Well, the purpose of her being in hiding is that she’s the only remaining member of Torchwood left, and the British Secret Service, the FBI, CIA, they’re all wanting to know where this woman is, because the last thing she had to do was the 456 [The alien villains in last season's Children of Earth], which was very much involved the government, and she knows too much. So, she’s in a lot of trouble, and a lot of danger. And she’s a mum, so she has to protect that little girl. So, the only way to protect her little girl is by making sure that nobody knows who she is or where she is.
THR: Have you learned anything new about your character in Miracle Day?
Myles: Oh, yes. There’s one scene that Gwen and Jack have. They’re in a car together, and they can’t escape. And they drive through the night. And for me this year, out of all the fabulous, big, action scenes that I get to do -- I do all my own stunts -- even though all that’s kind of wonderful and big, kind of Hollywood blockbuster kind of things that we got to do, my favorite scenes this year were the scenes with John Barrowman in the car, because it’s all character scenes. And Gwen talks about things that you would never expect Gwen to talk about or admit to. And it’s very, very character-driven. It will surprise people. And then Jack retaliates with what he thinks, and they just lay it all out on the table, and it’s fascinating. So, you learn an awful lot about these characters as did John and I about the characters, also.
THR: How far into the series does this scene in the car happen?
Myles: It’s kind of in the middle of the series. But you’ve also got -- I can’t talk for John -- but there was a lot of retraining for Gwen this year, because she’s a mum and she can’t just jump into the fire straightaway. She’s got to kind of test the fire before she jumps into it. And that’s really difficult for somebody like Gwen Cooper, who just throws herself at everything 100 percent. Sometimes with dire effect, but at least she’s got the balls to do it.
THR: Does Mekhi Phifer play sort of a version of Gwen from the very first episode of Torchwood? Is there some likeness between those characters?
Myles: I think that’s why they don’t get on, is because they’re very much alike. They’re both very strong, both very raw, both very kind of hands-on. And both like to get their hands dirty. And they don’t pussyfoot around anything. Sometimes they throw the punch before they ask the question. That’s just because they’re very passionate characters.
THR: How much of a challenge is Bill Pullman’s character to Torchwood?
Myles: Well, the character is the biggest monster that Torchwood has ever had. He is evil. Pure evil. The character is just despicable. And you will find yourself being fascinated by the character because of the way that Pullman plays him. He’s astonishing. You’ll be fascinated and grossed out at the same time by this beast of a man. And he adds real spice to the series. He adds something else really, really ugly to the series. And somehow everything and everyone around him, and everything that’s happening, he’s connected to it.
THR: Was there some transition for you and John working with a new cast? Were there some growing pains at first?
Myles: No, not at all. We were so pleased to get another season. We were so, so pleased. And then when we found out what kind of cast we had, we were just yelping with excitement and appreciation for these people. These actors are just absolutely stunning. And what John and I have always done with Torchwood is when new people come in, welcome them with open arms and give them a big kiss and John will probably give them a slap on the ass. And we have a great time. So, we’re very, very excited about the new cast, and for us. You work with someone of Bill Pullman’s caliber, you just learn. You watch and you learn every day with them. And it’s exciting. It’s marvelous.
THR: It’s well documented that Torchwood’s creator, Russell T. Davies, wrote this role for you and that you serve as sort of his muse. How does that feel four seasons later?
Myles:Even after all these years, I find it very difficult to try and put it into words, because I think I described it once as it being my own personal Oscar. You know, it’s that brilliant and great. And for someone of his caliber to depend on me as much as he does, and have the respect that he has, and to give me the story lines that he writes for me, is just touching. I will be eternally thankful to him, because he keeps challenging me as an actor, and he keeps pushing me to areas that I don’t think I can go to, and he does it with abundance. He’s like my guardian angel, and I will work hard for that man for as long as he wants me to work for him. I will work my damnedest for him. I will never ever, ever, ever let him down. And I will constantly pay him back with my best work possible. It’s quite unbelievable.
Email: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro