Torchwood’s John Barrowman: Stepping Back into Captain Jack’s Shoes … and Coat!

Torchwood makes its triumphant return this evening with the new series, Miracle Day, and I am beyond excited for it! Earlier this week, we took part in a press call that included the very handsome and talented John Barrowman, a.k.a. Captain Jack Harkness. He told us a bit about what’s in store for the Torchwood team and what it’s like to step back into this beloved character.

As Miracle Day begins, where do we find Captain Jack?

He’s come back from his travels. We don’t know what he has done. That is something that maybe will be explored one day, but probably that’s just a piece in time that we figure he has dealt with some of his issues. He has come back to planet Earth to keep the Torchwood name below the radar. He’s come to make sure because he knows that this thing Torchwood hurts people and destroys relationships.

He knows that Gwen Cooper is still alive and he’s protecting her from a distance, unbeknownst to her. He’s really kind of the guardian keeping it all under wraps and not letting it come out. There is a mental state with him that he is determined not to let anybody else get hurt, not to allow bad things to happen through this organization.  Although he loves the organization he has got to let (go) – it’s had its course and he’s trying to keep it quiet.

What was it like to step into Jack’s shoes following the near destruction of Torchwood in Children of Earth?

For myself as the actor to get involved again, (I welcomed it) with open arms and open doors. I love the character of Captain Jack. I love what the show stands for. I love the other characters in the show. So it was like putting a comfortable pair of shoes on back to go and do it. As Jack, getting back involved into the storyline himself, if you’re talking as Jack Harkness, although he wanted to keep everything under wraps, when Torchwood raised its head again and he had to go and help Gwen Cooper and they got back together, as soon as they start to see each other, that’s it. They’re back, and I think I’m speaking from Jack, he’s very excited to be back and really wants it back although he really knows it kind of shouldn’t be back. But who cares? It’s there. Let’s do it.

In Miracle Day, while the rest of planet becomes immortal, it’s revealed that Jack is now mortal. How does that affect his relationship with Gwen and her importance in his life?

Jack has always thought of Gwen being important because initially Gwen was the heart that he brought in to teach him again how to be more connected to the human race. Now we’ve moved on to a fact where Jack is at risk of dying. I think he’s realized over time he hasn’t really come to terms with his immortality and all of a sudden he’s now mortal. He realizes he kind of liked being immortal and loved the life that he had. So he needs the protection and Gwen is the right one to protect him. He needs her and she also needs him … it’s a 50/50 they have in their kind of team and their partnership. He very much needs her to step up to the plate to save him from any harm, but he finds it very difficult not to get involved because he has to stop himself and think, “I could hurt myself here.” It’s a really nice new dynamic that develops, and you learn an awful lot about Gwen and Jack and their relationship in this series.

How do you return to the character of Captain Jack Harkness with fresh eyes now that you’ve stepped into his shoes for four seasons?

The thing that I enjoy most about being Captain Jack and working with Russell (T. Davies) and everybody else is every day when you come into or when you get a new script, you’re learning something new about the character.  I’m not one of those actors who likes to analyze things too much, so I trust what the writers and what Russell are doing with the characters in order to give them their journey. My job is to come in and try to make those words on the page come alive on the camera.

I think one thing – with Eve and Alexa and Mekhi and Arlene and Bill and myself and Lauren – is we bring a little bit of our personalities to those characters and that’s what connects with the audience and lifts the words that are brilliantly written off of the page.

There are some nods to Torchwood’s past in Miracle Day. Are there any particular moments that you’re excited for fans to see?

There are a lot of moments in there that are references to things that have happened in the past. There are references to The Doctor. There is a lovely moment where Jack and Gwen have this conversation over the telephone and Jack is kind of spilling his heart out to her a little bit and he doesn’t know that she is then talking to her baby on screen.

The big moment, I think, (is) when Jack and Gwen lock eyes for the first time in a long time, when she comes running out of the house in Wales and he is standing there with a gun in a land rover ready for her to jump on board. That’s like the beginning of it all again. The other little exciting bit is just a quirky little thing for me, being a fan geek myself, is the fact that when Jack is covering as a CIA agent, he calls himself Owen Harper.

Be sure to watch John Barrowman in Torchwood: Miracle Day, tonight at 10pm ET/PT on Starz in the US, tomorrow at 9pm ET on SPACE in Canada, and Thursday July 14th at 9pm BST on BBC One in the UK.

Photo Courtesy of STARZ

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