The day Torchwood fans have been waiting for since 2009 has arrived – tonight marks the beginning of Torchwood: Miracle Day! A couple of days ago, I was lucky enough to take part in a press call that included new cast member Alexa Havins, who we will get to know very soon as Esther Drummond, a CIA agent that gets caught up in the world of Torchwood as they take on the latest threat to our planet. This will be the first series that I’ve ever seen Alexa in, but following this call, I can’t wait to catch her in action!
As someone who is new to the world of sci-fi television, did the unusual concepts and characters in this script take some getting used to?
No. I think I just had to take a breath and just trust what Russell wrote, because even sometimes we’re reading things, and it’s this spider web of all these fabulous ideas that are so out there in the sci-fi world. But he takes them and he roots them in reality, and so I just had to trust what was on the page. Whereas before you kind of know exactly what’s happening, with this we didn’t because we didn’t even know where Russell’s mind was taking us, the journey that we were on. I would say that would be the biggest adjustment.
How would you describe joining an established series and becoming part of an on-screen team that includes two popular characters like Captain Jack Harkness and Gwen Cooper?
It’s been a great experience, especially from my standpoint it’s interesting. There is a really slight parallel, but an interesting one, between my character Esther and Gwen in the original first season. And that was an honor to take over that passing of the torch as introducing the new audience, as that was (Gwen’s) job in Season One to introduce the audience. I kind of feel like it was passed upon to us to say, “Welcome to the world of Torchwood” to the American viewers that weren’t privy to the world already. So it’s been an interesting hat to wear kind. Everything that the new audience members are asking, Esther is asking the same questions. She’s digging and finding those answers for them. Who is Captain Jack? She’ll find out for you. And it’s a neat way of quickly starting the fourth season strong with bringing in the new viewers. They don’t have to have watched the past episodes, and at the same time it doesn’t alienate the current fan. You just jump on for this ride. It’s not a ton of back story exposition, it’s here is a story, here is where we are and join us, we’re going to take you on an adventure.
There’s a romantic angle between Esther and Rex Matheson (Mekhi Phifer) at the beginning of the season. Is this going to continue throughout Miracle Day?
Well, as much as she wants more I think she’s just there is something very romantic about the idea with Rex. He’s out in the field and it’s dangerous and there is something sexy about it. And here she is, she’s stuck behind her computer and I think there is a longing not only to be with him but then to also be out in the field and work with him hand in hand. We have this little tango, the professional and the personal relationship, and you’ll see as the ten episodes go on, she tries. She gives it her all but Rex as you see, he’s tough. He’s all business, he’s gruff, he’s stern, which is what I think makes for an interesting pairing between the two of them – because she has this innocence and she’s naïve and she’s fresh. And then here is this guy that has lived a lot. He’s lived a full life, as well as the Captain Jack character and the Gwen character. They all know who they are. They’ve had time for growth, and that was what was such an honor for me and so much fun as an actor, playing a character that had clear growth. She’s not the one that had the weapons training and life on the run. You kind of see her stumble a little and pick herself back up, and she is surrounded by these strong characters that help her become who she is.
Can you tell us about the experience of being pulled into the world of Torchwood and becoming Esther Drummond?
I think Esther is kind of a little bit (like) Alice in Wonderland, down the rabbit hole we go. It’s her curiosity gets the best of her. The first thing out the gate is, “Did you ever hear of Torchwood? What’s Torchwood?” And down she goes, looking for the answer. Who is this Gwen Cooper and this mysterious man in the coat? She just finds herself quickly without choice. I mean, her life is changed in the matter of a moment in this new world.
As far as myself, it’s just been an absolute pleasure. Every single person, Russell (T. Davies) and Julie (Gardner) called me immediately, and just welcomed me with open arms into the family … and John (Barrowman) and Eve (Myles) were the same. We’re friends for life. It’s just been a great, great experience so far. I enjoyed every minute and hope you guys enjoy it as much as we did.
Is there a particular moment or scene that you can’t wait for fans to see?
For me, one of the big moments was the reveal of the two characters (Jack and Gwen) … a big reveal, I thought, and it kind of catches your breath is when (we’re in) this beautiful big space and Esther is digging, digging, thinking, “What is this?” – and then you look up and there is Captain Jack. It’s such a breathtaking reveal; from a fan’s perspective and a viewer’s perspective it’s quite an initiation. And then for the fans of Gwen, I think it’s seeing her with that badass rocket launcher.
Photo Courtesy of STARZ