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Matt, your version of the Doctor is very quixotic, which has gone over well. While you’ve made the Doctor your own, you’ve also been able to keep the core of who the Doctor is.
Is that something you brought to the role, or is that something that was on the page? GILLAN: What’s interesting about it is that you’re not just doing it for the sake of it. He’s not human, so he’s not familiar with the everyday things that we are, as humans. Did you specifically set out to look for that core of the character? There are fundamentals there, but it’s a bit like playing Hamlet.
You see that relationship form, and then you see her as a young woman, and then you see her get married. We’re getting quite a bit of her life, which I think is great. SMITH: It’s also a testament to Steven, with the way that was set up, because I don’t know if an introduction to a companion was as inventive as that was. With such a cult favorite like this, is there a fear of getting typecast into roles like this, in the future? If you could choose your next role, what would you want to do?
GILLAN: I don’t worry about that because you’re in control of your own career, at the end of the day.
SMITH: I think that every artistic venture is a risk and it has to be that way, so you do as much preparation as you can and make that as thorough as you can possibly make it, until you turn up on set.
It’s about taking risks, and some might work and some might not, but that’s what makes it interesting. They were so beautiful, and I was in my absolute element, as I love vintage. I didn’t have to learn about what a model’s life was like. I’m not entirely sure about it airing in the States, but it’s going to be on a channel called Ovation.
SMITH: No, not mobbed, but of course it changes the nature of things. It’s funny because we film for nine months of the year, and so you’re shooting and you’re in this little bubble. SMITH: Weirdly, no, but it feels like a dream to do it.
First up we’ll see him in the expensive Netflix series The Crown, looking at the life of a young Queen Elizabeth II from The Queen writer Peter Morgan.
In the second half of this season, everything changes and all bets are off, with relationships and dynamics changing, now that viewers know who River is. When I first took the part on, obviously that was an area of contention for some of the die-hard fans. SMITH: Yes, my favorite Doctor is Patrick Troughton. The Doctor is such a wonderful benchmark of how to live your life. You can live via them, in a very interesting way, and living via the Doctor is so interesting because he’s a wonderful man. My point is that every detail of your live that you look at, if you look at it through his eyes, it’s more interesting. It just made me realize how important it is, in the show, that the chemistry between the Doctor and companion is at the heart of the show. We all had our own theories, but I did not see that coming.
Did you guys enjoy the second half of this season, and all the twists and turns that it brought? It’s going to take some twists and turns, and all relationships and the whole dynamic is going to change, after the big revelation at the end of the last half of the series. SMITH: There’s the great revelation that’s probably the biggest of the series. What I think is wonderful about him is that he’s weird and peculiar, without ever asking you to find him to find him weird or peculiar, and that’s quite a feat when you’re playing the Doctor. With any character, the more that you play them, you spend a lot of time with them, so it’s quite strange. How would the Doctor taking a bath be different from Matt taking a bath? The Doctor would probably have some sort of duck that could talk, or something. That’s what is great about playing a character like this. Did you know about the big revelation for your character? Then, there was a dummy ending, at the end of Episode 7, and we didn’t know until after the read-through, and Steven took us into a corridor and showed us the real ending.
But, at that point, Benedict was cast as Sherlock Holmes.
Did you have any idea about how you wanted to play your roles before you started shooting?