Comic-Con 2011: Jane Espenson And The Cast Of Torchwood On Miracle Day

By Kelly West 2011-07-23 10:31:12 discussion comments
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The cast of Torchwood and writer Jane Espenson sat down with the press yesterday to talk to us a little bit about Miracle Day. While they avoided giving up any major spoilers, we did learn some interesting things about what’s to come for the characters. Find out what they had to say about Gwen and Jack’s relationship, Rex’s fate, Oswald’s mindset and some upcoming fights involving the characters!

After attending the Torchwood: Miracle Day panel I knew these guys were a pretty animated group. John Barrowman is a true entertainer, who offered up comedy and even a song for the audience, while Eve Myles joked and showed some amusing facial expressions in reaction to John. The cast was still in good spirits when they met with us later at the press room.

Among the writers of the show is Jane Espenson, who’s written for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, and more recently, Game of Thrones. She talked about enjoying “making a meal out of appetizers” as she’s jumping from project to project, contributing her talent to various shows rather than focusing on on big project at a time. This includes Torchwood, the upcoming Once Upon A Time and a webseries about a newlywed male/male couple called Husbands. “I don’t see how a network doesn’t buy it and put it on TV,” Espenson says of the series.

On Torchwood Espenson spoke of the newly developing group dynamic in Miracle Day, saying “This group starts to refer to themselves as Torchwood and I think that’s really significant. If there was another year, I assume some version of this Torchwood is what would continue but that is Russell’s area.” So, we might be seeing the start of a new team, should Starz renew Torchwood for another season.

If you caught last night’s episode, you may have enjoyed the late-night phone conversation Jack had with Gwen, during which (spoiler alert!) they had a heart to heart, but then Gwen got distracted by a web-chat with her baby and left Jack talking to himself. Espenson was proud to have written that bit:

“The phone call in the middle of the night with Jack and Gwen was the thing I was most proudest of in the episode, because it was not part of the outline that we broke in the room. It was the thing as I started writing the episode, I said, ‘I need this moment. I think this moment will shape the episode, because we haven’t had it yet.’ We need to hear about Ianto, we need to hear about what they are thinking when they get a chance to stop and take a breath. The whole episode is about stopping and taking a breath.”


Considering all that’s happened since the start of Miracle Day, I’d say they were all overdue for a breath (and whatever else they decided to get that night).

Espenson spoke about finding the humor in dark moments and understanding the importance of that “glimmer of light” in the darkness. “One chuckle in a dark scene goes a long way,” she said. I think that’s a big part of what makes her writing stand out from other writers. There’s a range of emotions utilized that doesn’t detract from what’s going on or throw off the rhythm of the story.

John Barrowman, who plays Jack in the series, and Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper) talked about Jack and Gwen’s relationship and they seem to universally agree that a romance between them is a bad idea, or at least, wouldn’t be as good as the relationship they have. “Jack and Gwen are not in love. They love each other for very different reasons,” Barrowman said. “It’s not a sexual love. It’s a love of the person he would do anything for as she would do anything for him.” Myles sees the sexiness in the non-sexual nature of Gwen’s relationship with Jack. “What they share is far sexier than sex,” she said. “It’s more psychological than that. It’s a very unique, respectful, loving friendship and they could easily [get together] but it’s because they choose not to, it’s more exciting.”

I’m going to agree with both of them on that. Earlier in the series, I expected Gwen and Jack to get together but I think that ship has sailed. The relationship they have isn’t perfect but the complexity of it stands on its own and really doesn’t need a romantic element to complete (or complicate) it.


Barrowman also talked about how frustrating it is for Jack to need to be taken care of. He’s used to being the one to protect other people, especially Gwen. But now the tables have turned, with everyone else being immortal and him being vulnerable. Gwen’s not only looking out for Jack. She has a daughter to think if. On being a mother, she said, “It’s a lioness with a cub. Everything is more heightened for that woman now. She’s got to save the world because she’s got a little girl in it, and that little girl is everything.”

John got to talking about Jack finding out what he really wants and it was at this point that he started to get nervous about giving too much away. There were references to his role on Doctor Who and that there are parallels to his life prior to what’s going on in Miracle Day, which plays a role in how everything turns out.

When Barrowman’s not playing Jack Harkness, he’s performing on a BBC show called Tonight’s The Night that makes people’s wishes and dreams come true through performance.

Another bit of Torchwood news that’s kind of spoilery: There’s an upcoming episode that’s going to feature an argument between Jack and Gwen. There seemed to be some confusion over whether this happens in Episode 5 or 7. Regardless, the two are going to have it out and from the sound of it, it’s going to be really good.

Eve Myles said the fight was her favorite day of shooting the show, ever, and that we’re going to find out things we didn’t know about Gwen. “It’s such a good episode. It’s so good. You get to the bottom of Gwen Cooper. You get to the bottom of Jack Harkness. You get to the bottom of their relationship, and they have it out, and it’s brutal.”


Myles doesn’t feel like there’s been a major shift from the transition to Starz. “It’s been so organic. It’s just worked.” It sounds as though the new cast-members are enjoying the experience as well. Mekhi Phifer (ER) talked about getting on board with a show with an established fanbase and wanting to honor the show, “The great thing is, there’s a great following. You have all these people that are going to watch and be tuned in. But at the same time, it’s a little nerve-racking because I’m the new kid on the block. I’m the FNG! I want to maintain the integrity of the show and what they’ve already established, so that is the challenge of that.”

If you’re concerned about Phifer’s character, rest assured that he is actually healing. According to Phifer, Rex is getting better, it’s just a slow process, which probably isn’t helped by all the running around he’s doing. He expressed apprecation for working on a sci-fi show. “When you suspend reality a bit, there’s no limit to where you can go.” “We’re playing it like it’s real, but obviously there’s an element of fantasy to it, which gives the writers, like Jane, free reign to have fun with it and right her heart out. Anything she’s ever dreamed about, she can put on paper and we can portray it.”


Bill Pullman talked a little bit about the mindset of convicted killer Oswald Danes and some of the questions going through his mind. “He’s no longer going to die and they can’t incarcerate him anymore. What is it? What is now? Where do I go? What is power? Why are the things I’m saying of interest to people? Do I have a motive? Would I know myself if I had a motive? Do I know anything about how I work as a human being? It felt like all of that was on the table.”

Pullman wasn’t giving anything away on where the man’s head is really at, but at least we know he’s wondering the same things we are! As for Esther, actress Alexa Havins is grateful for the cast of the show and is hitting it off rather well with Eve Myles. “We just had to found our rhythm and it was quite easy because Eve and I are absolutely in love. We’re out of our minds. We may leave our boys for each other,” she joked.


Esther apparently has a fight coming up and hair-pulling may be involved. “It’s raw,” she said of her upcoming fight-scene. “It’s a little wobbly and a little off. It looks like kind of a bar brawl, mixed with like chick-fight over a dude. There’s hair pulling because it’s with someone who’s not as experienced, so it’s kind of neat. We’re equally matched as far as experience level.” She also joked about the ridiculous high-heeled shoes she’s running around in and how they might come in handy in a fight. “It’s fun, but more than anything but I’m like, ‘can I use the heel as a weapon?’”

All in all, it seems like the cast is really enjoying Miracle Day and from the sound of it, we’re in for more big things. Barrowman put it best when he told us, “You’re in for the fucking ride of your life.”
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