DOCTOR WHO's Arthur Darvill Talks Repeatedly Dying, More
When we first met Rory from Doctor Who, it seemed like he'd be another disposable guy friend of the strong female companion. Well, things have certainly changed. Rory has become not only a companion, but the father of the Doctor's future (kinda) wife and a man who waited thousands of years for the woman he loved. We were lucky enough to participate in a conference call with Rory himself, Arthur Darvill, who gave us some information on the newest Rory-centric episode, why Rory has become South Park's Kenny with repeated deaths and what's coming in the new season.
Newsarama: Well when I was talking to Karen earlier this year she said that this episode could be called, ''Rory's Choice.'' What can you tell me about that?
Arthur Darvill: It's a real one that tests Rory and Amy's relationship actually. We – it's quite I don't know every time you get a script, you know, we always kind of anticipate are they going to be good.
But this one we got and we were like wow this is really good but really hard. And Karen's really brilliant in it. She - I can't give too much away but she has to play something very different to what she normally plays in Doctor and that was a real challenge for her and she really pulls it off. She's great.
Yes it's – well it's called, ''The Girl Who Waited.'' So she's waiting for something and Rory basically has to go in and kind of find her and save her but something's coming for us strictly wrong which really tests them and, you know, tests their emotions to the limits really.
Nrama: Okay and it was just described that you carry a lot of the action. Can you just talk a little bit about your doing the action sequences and what that involved?
Darvill: Yes it was a lot, you know, it's kind of funny it's not really anything that I'd considered before I got this job. I'd be kind of running around and, you know, flying through the air and doing fighting sequences. But it has been a quite a joy to do.
And they're great the stunt guys on Doctor are brilliant. They let us do as much - as many of our own stunts as possible. I mean this one in terms of kind of carrying the action the Doctor is kind of less on as Rory's kind of sent off to go and help Amy on his own which I think is quite a big responsibility for him.
But he really jumps - actually it's kind of funny - it's funny the way Rory deals with things because he's quite, you know, he's quite nervous and quite - doesn't really want to put himself in danger but as soon as it has anything to do with Amy being in danger he will just throw himself in straightaway.
Nrama: We've seen in the past companions, lots of different companions from different timelines all get together and things like that. We've seen the crossover between different series and seasons. Is that something you'd ever - will we ever see you sort of teaming up with, you know, some of the past companions prior to Karen. Is that something like you'd ever like to see? Is that something you can envision?
Darvill: No, I mean Steven (Moffat) is very good at - could keeping it really quite separate but I wouldn't put it past him to put us all together. I mean maybe it would be some kind of strange self-help group to get over [it] and everything the Doctor - yes maybe that would be a good episode, just all of the past companions in therapy.
Nrama: I understand that the episode coming up is what they call, Doctor Light episode where we don't see a whole lot of him?
Nrama: So how does Rory fare without the Doctor's input sort of on his own devices?
Darvill: He does all right. I think he's gotten to a point now where he's so within this kind of world within the, you know, the fact that he can go and travel through time and comes face to face with really horrific things. It's just become almost normal for him. And yes he really - I was really pleased with the script...because he really steps up to the plate and proves himself even more than he has I think he has in the past. So yes he does all right without the Doctor. I mean, you know, the Doctor is still lending a helping hand but - yes it a good way - it tests, you know, as well as testing kind of Rory and Amy's relationship. It tests the Doctor and Rory's relationship quite a bit as well because, you know, the Doctor can't actually do anything and just constantly putting Amy in danger. So Rory does all right. He kind of mans up a bit.
Nrama: All right. Not to blow sunshine but, Rory's kind of my favorite character in the past few seasons...and I was wondering if you could sort of address how he's grown and changed over the season?
Darvill: Yes well I think he's, you know, this wasn't anything that he really expected. It just happened in his life and I think when he started traveling with the Doctor he didn't think he'd be there very long. And, you know, so much, you know, of what he's about has to do with making sure everyone's safe and just for a while he wanted to get back home and get married and not kind of travel...or the rest of his life. But now I don’t know because - I think because Amy's got such a bond with the Doctor and now obviously kind of fathering...he's completely in this world and he's had to kind of prove himself and man up a bit so many times now. I think that has really affected him, you know, kind of waiting for 2000 years, you know, obviously having strange Alex Kingston shaped child. It's completely changed him I think. And, you know, whether it's actual to worse it's made him more assertive and more, slightly more heroic I would say. But also I think he has matured a lot and it's proved to him that, you know, even though all of these incredible things have happened and these horrible things have happened that his relationship with Amy is still the strongest thing, you know, in the world.
And that is very real and very, you know, and very good. And he's still completely wildly in love with her.
Nrama: And are you happy with the direction he's going?
Darvill: Yes completely. I mean you know you always worry about, you know, what's going to happen, you know, what I need is obviously going to be kind of permanently in the show. You kind of think why is Rory just going to be like this spare wheel but it never is that and, you know, the writers are so good at kind of forging Rory's kind of journey through it. It's actually a pleasure to play.
Nrama: My question is can you tease a bit of what we can expect for the rest of the season?
Darvill: Yes I'm really - I think this half of the season is the strongest stuff that we've done. Me, Matt and Karen all got - given all the emphasis from this half of the season a few months ago and we went around from that flat and just watched them all back to back. And it's, you know, they're brilliant. They're all so different and so much - each one is like a different movie and, you know, the way that they are directed and the way that they are written is just great. So after this episode there's it's called, ''The God Complex'' which is kind of set in this creepy hotel where this, you know, a minotaur and kind of lost. And each room is kind of a different freaky thing. If anyone's kind of scared of clowns or ventriloquists I mean it's definitely want to hide behind the sofa. And David Williams he is brilliant and it's kind of like almost like The Shining or something. It's great. And then James Corden's in one of the episodes which is coming up and that's got some Cybermen in it as well which is quite exciting.
And then the finale just blew my mind. And I can't say too much about it but it was - it's about as epic as Doctor Who has ever got. And it answers some more questions which I think everyone's dying to hear the answers to.
Nrama: A lot of Rory's character has been defined in relation to Amy Pond. How would you differentiate him as a character and if say, Amy ever disappeared from the show what would Rory be like?
Darvill: Well you know he's going to be very sad and I think, you know, there are - they do so much come as a package. But if she did - I don't if she did disappear I think it's kind of strange. I think Rory and the Doctor's relationship has grown so much over the last kind of - over the last season. And, you know, it's not as simple as, you know, because before he was obviously kind of quite jealous of the doctor. But I think that's gone now and they've got a real bond, they've got a real kind of true friendship. You know, I think most of us kind of - I don't know I just find a lot of my friendships by, you know, I can only be really, really good friends with someone probably if I've had a massive falling out with them at some point or a big argument. And I think that kind of makes all relationships stronger. And I think Rory and the Doctor's falling out so much that they still - I don't know they still need each other and they still are great, great friends. So I think they've got, you know, a very, very strong relationship and, you know, as much as Rory can be a bumbling idiot at times I think he's proved to the Doctor and to, you know, to everyone else around that, you know, when everything starts kicking off you can really step up to the plate and deliver. And, you know, and be of use and - because I think fundamentally he's a good person. And the Doctor kind of constantly seeks good people. And Rory's, you know, up there with the best of those.
Nrama: So I heard that when Karen first got her role she was asked by the Director to fill out a questionnaire, sort of help her understand her role. And I was wondering if you were given any kind of similar questionnaire?
Darvill: No I didn't get a questionnaire but we talked - me and Karen talked quite in depth about, you know, what Rory and Amy's relationship was and, you know, who they were. But it was quite scary coming into something like this where, you know, we're up first because you got to make such kind of bold decisions so quickly. And, you know, we definitely did that. And we didn't know where the characters were going when we first got the job and I don't know how much of that has been kind of influenced by what we've done or how set in stone that has been. But yes we obviously discussed a lot and, you know, in great detail what, you know who they were and what they were about. But then kind of as you go on you get to know the characters so well that it just becomes almost second nature to you.
And I don't know it's really good like I think at the beginning of the second half of the season it was really nice to go back and see some of Rory and Amy's past and see them when they were children and stuff. And I think the stories that we've been given and the exploration into the character that we've had through the show is kind of informed our choices even more. So yes.
Nrama: Okay so recently BBC America actually ran a monsters episode. So I'm actually curious was a particular favorite monster you had and why is that?
Darvill: I'm a big fan of the Silence I think they're a brilliant creation from Steven because there's something - as well as looking absolutely horrible, you know, when we're working with them we do kind of look at them and get really freaked out. I think the psychological element of what they can do and how they affect people is brilliant. And, you know, you can't remember their names but they could even be walking around, you know, around our cities at the moment but we'd never know. And I just think that's a really brilliant scary idea.
Nrama: Yes the thing that has been frustrating me, you kind of touched on this a moment ago but not - but I wanted to talk some more about it. The thing that has been frustrating me and a lot of other viewers is the fact that Rory and Amy really haven't reacted to the fact that they didn't get to raise their own daughter. And the Doctor sort of lied to them and said, "I will find your child." And then he really didn't. He failed them. And there hasn't been that much fall out from that. Do you think there will be more fall out? Do you think there should be?
Darvill: Yes I think - I mean there's so much - it's kind of strange we questioned this when we go the script. Actually I think it's, you know, there's time - there was time in between those two episodes in the summer break for them to, you know, sit down and talk about it. But they're so affected by what's happened to them and by everything they go through every day, that this can happen and it to be not as freaky as it would be for your average person. And, you know, their now completely - they've completely been sucked into the Doctor's world. And, you know, to return to real life now and to react kind of like how normal people would react to things wouldn't - they can't really do it. They, you know, they would just kind of now go home and just sit and talk about, you know, what happened. I don’t think they will quite compute it. But yes I mean obviously they are freaked out but then I don't think you want to see an episode where they just kind of sit and chat about it, you know, it's, you know, there's more stuff to be getting on with.
Nrama: So I posted out on Twitter that we were chatting with you today and my feed immediately lit up with, "Does Rory die? Tell him to stop dying."
Darvill: Yes I think it's got that much for him all the dying. Yes he's bit sick of that to be perfectly honest. I think I kept seeing it as a bit of a running joke and I'll ask Steven if there's any kind of big reason for that constantly happening and he's as bad with us as he is with all you guys, with the press and with the public. He won't tell us anything. So I have no idea if this is going to keep happening. I don't know if he's got a big plan for it. But I personally hope that Rory just stops dying.
Nrama: Do you think it has something to do with Rory sort of being an every man and it's a way for the viewers...
Darvill: Yes it could be and also being such a good person and kind of and a lot of times this happens because he's put himself in the way of danger for other people. And I think it's because - yes because he's such a good person and he's a hero - he's a bumbling hero coming out.
Nrama: Now Arthur at the end of last season Rory ended up waiting for 2000 years which is twice as old as the Doctor technically.
Nrama: But at the beginning of the season we saw that he retained all those memories and like you said before it seemed like he did quite a lot of manning up.
Nrama: What effect did that have on the way you portrayed Rory in this season and on the same subject, will we be seeing any effects of having those memories on Rory coming up....
Darvill: Yes I think you do. I think it's kind of a few different effects on him. I think in a way it's made him know himself a bit more. And well the biggest thing he's gotten is proved to him that, you know, his, you know, his love for Amy, his relationship with Amy is the most important thing in his life. And he'll do, you know, he will do anything for her. I think - yes and it's also kind of made him know that he can do things like that and kind of be a bit more of a hero. So it's kind of given him the confidence.
I think also he's kind of been wearing him down slightly I think as well, you know, it has made him, you know, as well as kind of inspiring him and making him more confident. I think in a way it's kind of tired him out. Not in a way that he's now kind of sluggish or lazy but just, you know, the weariness that that does to you has kind of made him kind of a bit wiser. But also even, you know, even more wants to kind of stay out of danger because he doesn't want anything like that to happen again.
Nrama: Hello. I talked to Alex Kingston recently and she...
Darvill: How was she?
Nrama: She's great. But she talks about how when she first came on she was sort of a bit motherly to you guys and I just wanted...
Nrama: Now that you - now that in the show you are - you guys are her parents, has anything changed in that way? And how is been since (unintelligible).
Darvill: It's been kind of funny. I - I shouldn't speak for all of us on this. My favorite time is when all four of us are together, working together. And I suppose at first Alex was kind of a little bit, she's got sort of a naughty side that she's just as kind of disruptive and playful as the rest of us, if not more so.
So it's been great actually and, you know, because we've all had so much to do together we've all formed such a good bond. And I don't know we're all going to be friends for life out of it and I think.
And yes she's hilarious and she can be quite motherly at times but also can really mess around and tease us all quite considerably.