Matt Smith takes some time out from his busy schedule time-travelling to talk to MTV Geek
By Ali Colluccio
The one thing that’s always been a constant with Doctor Who is change. And this coming season is sure to bring plenty of changes. With the season premiere days away, we were able to talk with Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and executive producer Caroline Skinner about what’s in store for show.
The biggest change for the season is the departure of the Ponds from the TARDIS. Season seven will be the last for actors Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill, and we’ve been promised a heartbreaking goodbye for Amy and Rory. But before we get too sad, there are five episodes left with the Ponds, and Carol Skinner says, “I genuinely feel that these stories that we just made now feel like the biggest we’ve had. And I think that they’ve pushed those three characters [Amy, Rory and the Doctor] in very interesting directions.”
Matt Smith + DeLorean: the essence of cool! From the NYC premiere last weekend
We’ll also see the couple in a new five-episode webseries called Pond Life, airing this week. The shorts follow Amy and Rory in their everyday “normal” life while the Doctor is off having adventures. They also act as a bit of a bridge between the end of season six and the start of seven.
And what a start it is! Karen Gillan promises the first episode “Asylum of the Daleks” has “more Daleks than you’ve ever seen. Ever.”--even Daleks from the 60s. The big bombastic story sets the tone for the season going forward. Skinner described the first batch of episode as “big blockbuster movies every week.” She indicated showrunner Steven Moffat really wanted this season to feel “very different than the much more serialized stuff he did last year. He really gave every writer, and himself, the challenge of picking big genre pieces and then doing an enormous Doctor Who spin on them."
The first of those genres we’ll see is a Western. The cast and crew shot on location in southern Spain, where Sergio Leone shot the classic Spaghetti Westerns (and where Spielberg filmed Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade). Next we’re treated to “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship”. Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, guys!! “I was really obsessed with dinosaurs as kid. I liked pterodactyls,” said Matt Smith when asked about the prehistoric creatures.
The big, fast-paced nature of this first part of the season all builds up to the departure of the Ponds in an episode titled “The Angels Take Manhattan”. Gillan was excited the Weeping Angels would be back in her last episode. “They really tap into your childhood fears and I think that’s why they’re so good.” Filming the final episode was obviously an emotional experience for the actress, who’s been the Doctor’s companion longer than anyone since the series was relaunched in 2005. Gillan said of shooting her final scene as Amy Pond “that was a really, really strong feeling and so actually anything that happens in that scene isn’t even acting, it’s real.”
Amy Pond fans take heart -- Karen Gillan is working on a bunch of new stuff post-Doctor Who for you to enjoy!
The good news is while fans won’t be seeing Gillan on Doctor Who, she’s already busy working on a few new projects. “I just wrapped on a film in Glasgow called Not Another Happy Ending,” said the Scottish-born actress. “And now I’m about to do a [horror] film in Alabama called Oculus and so that’ll be my first American role.” Also in the works is a show called Touch of Cloth which Gillan described “like Airplane but a detective show”.
With the Ponds leaving, fans can still count on seeing River Song throughout the new season. “[The Doctor] can’t quite get rid of River, nor does he want to,” said Smith. And of actress Alex Kingston, he added “She’s a delight. She’s been a really big part of my journey on this show, personally and as a character. I think she’ll always be around while my Doctor is.”
Don’t get too settled, though. According to Smith, Moffat believes the show “can never be predictable--it can never be cozy Doctor Who. It’s got to feel like its marking new territory every season.”
New Doctor Who executive producer Carol Skinner, Smith, and Gillan pose for a snapshot at BBC America offices
A new companion, played by Jenna-Louise Coleman, is said to be starting with this year’s Christmas Special. Skinner believes “her relationship with Matt is just going to blow everyone away,” adding, “They’ve just got a really fresh dynamic between the two of them. And they kind of dance around each other and outwit each other.”
Smith added, “It’s a show that isn’t afraid of change, and I embrace that.” Season Seven looks to be full changes.