It has been two and a half years since Torchwood: Miracle Day and while no one has said that the show is officially done, the show’s fans are still clamoring to know for certain that Torchwood still has a pulse. While we wait for that moment of worldwide celebration (well, nerd world. What else matters?) show star John Barrowman has kept himself busy, co-writing a novel (Hollow Earth) with his sister, touring the convention circuit (Barrowman will be at The Hollywood Show this weekend in Los Angeles), and co-starring in the CW’s Arrow (Barrowman assures us that “there’s a lot more interesting things for Malcolm Merlyn that are going to appear both in this series and next series).
But while Barrowman has stayed active, it’s clear that the actor wants to get back to Cardiff, and in our exclusive interview, we discuss continuing Jack’s story on the page, on the screen, what he thinks about the new Doctor, and his thoughts on the way Jack’s love life was handled.
Would you want to write another Torchwood comic to continue the story?
Barrowman: Oh gosh yeah, we’ve always said that we wanted to do another one. We’ve actually had some interest — I don’t want to say from who — about turning the Hollow Earth series — the novels that my sister (Carol E. Barrowman) and I have written — into a comic book or a graphic novel, which we think is totally awesome. I’ve actually mentioned to Andrew Kreisberg and the guys over at Arrow that I would be interested, my sister and I would like to do a Merlyn series of Arrow comics, or something like a little spin-off or a couple of one-offs for the Arrow comic series. But yeah, I love the comic book genre. So that’s why we would really be interested in doing it again, not only because… you know, it’s not so much the dialogue you have to do, it’s the storytelling to the visual aspect, that’s what I really like.
Do you think you have played Jack Harkness for the last time?
Barrowman: I have no idea. I mean, that’s not my decision, that’s a decision for the BBC. The thing is, I go around with Eve and people to these conventions and we see the humongous following that we have and also the hunger that there is for Torchwood. If I’m asked to play Captain Jack Harkness again, I would do it at the drop of a hat. And also, the Arrow producers have said that if I’m asked to do something like that, they would let me. They would see that I was able to do it. I think there’s a lot more to tell, there’s a lot more out there. There are those missing years that Jack talked about, there’s how he becomes “The Face of Boe”, there’s all sorts of things. But it’s not up to me, it’s up to Russell, Julie Gardner, and the BBC.
As you said, you’re still a Doctor Who fan, so I assume that you still watch Doctor Who if for nothing else than to keep track of the vortex manipulator — do you ever feel a little envious over the special effects? There’s a lot of money on the screen — they do have cooler toys, they do get to ride dinosaurs.
Barrowman: You know what, and that’s great, but I never look at something else and go “Ugh, I’m jealous”. I’m not that kind of person. It was fantastic and it was great when we did it and the budget we did it on was phenomenal. To think that we did it with Torchwood on probably a quarter of the budget, or half of the budget that Doctor Who had was just amazing. And you know, for me to ride a dinosaur, Jack would probably be like “yeah, whatever, they’re gonna be extinct”. I’m not envious, but it does thrill me to see that if we were to come back… the big things that could be done with it.
How do you think Peter Capaldi will do as the Doctor?
Barrowman: I have no idea, and this is how I answer that question for everybody, I have no idea because I have never seen him be the Doctor. I’ve worked with him, I think he’s a great actor. He was in Torchwood: Children of Earth, he’s also done some Doctor Who stuff, and he’s just a brilliant actor. I think he’ll be very very good. It’s very interesting the way they’ve gone, first with Chris, then David, and then Matt being very young, and now they’ve gone to someone who is Tom Baker’s age when he started, as Peter is now. So it’s a very interesting step and I think it will be a good one.
Amazingly, we’re still trapped in a moment where gay intimacy begins and ends with a peck on the cheek on some TV shows. Obviously, Torchwood wasn’t shy about honestly approaching gay relationships — with John Hart, with Ianto, and Angelo, — but I kind of feel like the show doesn’t get enough credit for that. Would you agree, and can you tell me a little bit about if that was a conscious decision early on — to not shy away from Jack’s sexuality — and was there any push-back from the BBC?
Barrowman: There was never push-back from the BBC, but you’ll have to ask Russell, that’s a question really for Russell. But, I’ll put this from my perspective: I’m an openly gay actor and of course I want to portray myself — when I say myself, the character that I play is a gay character — as close and as humanly possible or alienly possible as they should be, because in real life I do kiss passionately on the lips with my husband, we do have sex, we do fight, we do argue, we have ups and downs and we’re intimate and passionate with each other and that should be represented on television. If it hasn’t gotten enough press, that’s not, you know, my fault in that way. But, I was never disappointed with the press that we got, I was kind of impressed that in a way it didn’t get a lot of press because people then were just accepting it in that way. So, for them to accept and not say much about it was a bigger accolade than to really go “Oh my god, dadadadada”, cause the first time I kissed the Doctor it just went over everybody’s head.
John Barrowman will appear at The Hollywood Show this Saturday and Sunday at the Westin LAX in Los Angeles. The show will also feature a Twilight Zone reunion with Martin Landau and a Flash Gordon reunion. Check out the website for more info and a list of guests.