What would happen if everybody on the planet suddenly stopped dying? That’s the premise of Torchwood: Miracle Day, the new ten-part mini-series that takes original Torchwood team members Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) and Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) to America in search of answers to the mystery. Produced by Starz/BBC Worldwide, the series also features Mekhi Phifer, Alexa Havins and Bill Pullman and is produced by the show’s creator Russell T Davies.
For Myles, ‘Miracle Day’ proved to be somewhat difficult, not just because most of the project was shot in the States, but also because like her on-screen character, she had a new baby to deal with. The actress recently sat down to discuss the challenges of balancing family life with saving the world…
With Gwen having a new baby in Torchwood, it’s a bit like imitating art, isn’t it?
They’re actually twin little boys, but honestly, they were just wonderful.
They never cried; they would be smiling and completely in their element. When Gwen is feeding the baby in episode one and she’s talking about the woman that comes out of the sky, with a voice of a thousand choirs, I’m feeding the baby mashed banana and there was one shot where I turned to Rhys and said, ‘Who’s being paranoid now?’
As I said that, the baby flung a big spoonful of mashed banana and hit Kai Owen in the face. It was hysterical, and made a big splat noise as well, so the baby laughed and laughed.
Was it a difficult decision to come back to work so soon after having your own daughter?
It was. I filmed up until I was five months pregnant and then had some time off but I did a lot of promotion for Children of Earth after that. And then I started work again after Matilda was four months, because I started recording Dragon Age II in London and that took me away for two or three days a week.
I was coming home every evening, and I was breast feeding as well, so it was really difficult to be away from the baby. Most of the time, Brad would drive me up to London and I would be with the baby in the back. I would record for three or four hours, get back in the car with the baby and we would drive back to Wales.
So yes, it’s always going to be difficult, but this one in particular was a long haul. It was seven months, so I had to bring my entire family to Los Angeles. Matilda was just coming up to 13 months, so it was very hard work.
Does Gwen have a new sense of mortality now that most her friends have been killed and she has a baby?
That’s what Eve Myles would think, but Gwen Cooper thinks of things in a much bigger picture. She takes individual things out, looks at them as an outsider and sees what is best for the greater good.
She doesn’t find out about immortality until she’s taken to the hospital with her dad and that’s when she finds out about Miracle Day, because she’s been living in complete seclusion. They’re completely self-sufficient so she has nothing to do with the outside world.
So to go from being a woman who’s a protector of the human race and was born to do this and now you see her has living in isolation, and being completely cut off from the world; it’s just so unnatural and odd. And then for her to find out about Miracle Day and this huge phenomena happening; it brings her back to Torchwood to try and solve this thing and work out what the cause is.
In ‘Miracle Day,’ Jack and Gwen are fish out of water, working with a new group in a different country. As an actor, did you find that to be true yourself?
Absolutely. I can’t speak for John Barrowman, but I can completely say I felt that way my first day going down to Warner Bros for the read-through. John was still working in Scotland, so I walked in to Warner Bros thinking, ‘I’m either going to be hysterical laughing or hysterical crying!’ because this was huge.
So there was the big studio water tower and I’m walking in and with the baby, I’ve only had two hours sleep, so it was a little bit emotional. I walked in and didn’t know anyone there. There’s Bill Pullman and Mekhi Phifer and I’m sitting there sticking out like a sore thumb here; it was ridiculous.
I don’t sound like these people, I don’t look like these people; I’m different here! The only people I knew were Russell T Davies, Julie Davies and Jane Tranter.
But as soon as I opened that script and saw my lines, I owned every word on that page. Gwen Cooper was there for me and she was my best friend and it was wonderful. It was brilliant, because I had come to America to play an old friend, so she was all the confidence I needed.
Even though most of the series is set in America, Gwen is still defiantly Welsh, isn’t she?
It’s brilliantly funny, isn’t it? You’ve got Gwen Cooper working in Los Angeles and it’s hysterical. She’s this fierce warrior woman, who’s from Swansea in Wales and she’s working with all these CIA agents and the world is about to end and I’m here to sort it out and I’m from Wales.
My God, it’s happened to me so many times: ‘Are you from Scotland? No, I’m from Wales. ‘Is that in Scotland?’ No, it’s not in Scotland!’ So to be able to play that as Gwen is fabulous.
Are you comfortable with the idea of coming back for another series of Torchwood?
Beyond comfortable. I will follow and be a part of this project until the day I die. I love it. It’s my life and I’m living it and doing my best. I will be a part of it for as long as they need and want me.
Torchwood: Miracle Day airs on Starz beginning July 8th, 10 ET/9C