How Karen Gillan Elevated David Dastmalchian’s All Creatures Here Below

Karen Gillan in All Creatures Here Below

Although both Karen Gillan and David Dastmalchian are Marvel Cinematic Universe veterans, Nebula and Kurt’s paths haven’t crossed in this ever-expanding superhero franchise (just imagine what that would look like). Instead, the two actors finally got to work with each other through the new movie All Creatures Here Below, which Dastmalchian also wrote.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing David Dastmalchian about All Creatures Here Below and various other subjects, and right off the bat he offered effusive praise towards Karen Gillan’s performance in the movie, particularly with how she was able to fully immerse herself in her character, Ruby, who is living a troubled life with Dastmalchian’s Gensan. Dastmalchian explained:

I think [Karen] is our Daniel Day-Lewis. I really do. I feel like she’s got the ability and works very hard, but beyond just her work ethic, she’s one of the most chameleon-like talents I’ve ever witnessed firsthand, and it’s really mind-blowing what she can do with her face, her body, her voice. So the fact that she wanted to come be in our tiny, no-budget movie… the fact that she came and gave that performance, it’s so humbling. I’ll be grateful for that performance for the rest of my life that she brought that character to life so beautifully.

While she’s arguably best known for playing Nebula in the MCU, Amy Pond on Doctor Who and Ruby Roundhouse in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, the actress is no stranger to more dramatic projects, and All Creatures Here Below provided her another opportunity to explore a truly dark role. Gillan had just finished work on Avengers: Endgame when she came to All Creatures Here Below, but as David Dastmalchain noted, she brought a positive attitude and great energy during her time on the much-smaller movie.

All Creatures Here Below follows Ruby and Gensan as they’re struggling to make ends meet in Los Angeles and then are forced to flee to Kansas City after committing a crime. It’s hard to go into more detail about the plot without spoiling anything, but suffice it to say that if you’re familiar with Karen Gillan’s through her fantastical work, this thriller will show you a new side of her acting chops.

As for how Karen Gillan joined All Creatures Here Below, David Dastmalchian explained that while he had seen her in a number of things beforehand, he didn’t realize she was the same person in some of those projects. When he and his team started putting All Creatures Here Below, producers wanted to pitch the role of Ruby to a “name actor,” i.e. somebody with an established name in Hollywood.

David Dastmalchian assumed an actor of that caliber wouldn’t want to join the movie, but the All Creatures Here Below script eventually made its way to Karen Gillan’s agents, and because she’d been looking for something that was “independent and really challenging and gritty,” she was game to star in the movie. One meeting with Dastmalchian and director Colin Schiffli later, and she was in.

Suffice it to say that David Dastmalchian had a great time working with Karen Gillan, calling her a “kindred spirit” and good friend. He told me that he would like to “do as many roles” with her as possible, saying that she helped him become a better actor because of her work ethic. While both actors have gone their separate ways for now, perhaps his wish will eventually come true, especially if he writes a script with a character he can only imagine her playing.

You can watch All Creatures Here Below on VOD now, and if you’re curious about what movies are headed to the big screen later this year, look through our 2019 release schedule. As for Karen Gillan and David Dastmalchian, the former’s upcoming movies include Stuber, Jumanji 3 and Call of the Wild, while the latter will be seen in Dune, Jay and Silent Bob Reboot and the Hulu series Reprisal.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.