Doctor Who: Arthur Darvill (Rory) Interview

An SFX website exclusive! Rory, Rory tell us a story…

SFX: So have you died again yet?

“No, no, no… well, who knows! (laughs). It’s really funny, actually. Last series it was so weird having to keep all that secret. It was such a relief to be able to talk about it eventually. I think I’ve done my quota of dying, but who knows…”

SFX: Does Rory get to see a little more of the action this time?

“I think he’s proved himself a bit. I think he wants to step up and prove himself even more. It’s a funny one, because I think he’s really changing – he’s becoming something that he never thought that he would. It is terrifying travelling around and doing all these things, but he’s getting a chance to prove himself every time, and to actually play an active role, rather than just being scared of everything. I think he feels a responsibility to both Amy and the Doctor to help out a lot.”

SFX: Is he slowly becoming more of an action hero?

“I don’t know if Rory will ever be an action hero! It’s still Rory, know what I mean? But put someone in extreme circumstances and it’s going to affect them in a certain way. It’s very naturally evolving into something else, but what that is I’m not quite sure yet.”

SFX: Is Steven Moffat still teasing you by witholding the plot twists?

“It’s got even worse. We just speculate on everything now. And we’ve all got these little theories as to what’s actually happening – which I can’t divulge, just in case any of them are actually right! Even with episode one we were like oh, my god, I can’t believe… it just throws up so many questions as to what’s going to happen. And no one’s telling us yet, so we’re still at that point of fevered anticipation. Everything’s on a knife-edge.”

SFX: How are Amy and Rory finding married life?

“Busy! They’re not sitting down watching telly and planning dinner parties. They’re on the TARDIS. I think it’s really interesting having a married couple on the TARDIS – I think it’s a good thing. A lot of my friends have got married recently. It’s that thing you just think as something that might happen in the future, something that you dream about or whatever. But all my friends who’ve got married have really made me quite happy, because their lives are still exciting. You’ve got that image of marriage being the end of something, but I think for everyone I know who’s got married it’s become the beginning of something really amazing. Amy and Rory aren’t your average couple, their relationship doesn’t quite work the same as other people’s – they’re travelling in time with the Doctor, who Amy has obviously got a very strong bond with. But I think it’s made Rory far more secure in their relationship. It feels like it’s on far more of an equal footing – he feels like he has a right to be there now, I suppose, and by marrying him she’s proved that she wants to be with him. I think a lot of that fear is taken away, and they can just get on with being together.”

SFX: So how does he relate to the Doctor now – is there still a bit of needle between them?

“It’s kinda funny. The relationship between Rory and the Doctor is always changing. It’s contradictory in some ways, because Rory wants to be there and he wants to be there for various different reasons, because the idea of going back home now just doesn’t really exist as an idea for him at the moment. Yes, he wants to go on all the adventures but he also wants to be there to protect Amy. If the Doctor’s going to keep on putting her in danger – and putting them both in danger – then Rory’s going to be there to make sure the Doctor doesn’t overstep the mark, as Rory feels he has done in the past. I think they are becoming closer, Rory and the Doctor. I think there’s more of a trust built up between them. There are so many different aspects to their relationship that it can change at any time.”

SFX: How does this series compare with last year?

“I think it’s going to be one of the scariest series of Doctor Who. I think the series is evolving in such a good way – I think it’s becoming a lot more detailed. I think it’s becoming better with every episode. I’m really excited about the way that it’s progressing as a series – I think it’s going to surprise a lot of people. The writing is really strong. You get a script and it’s like, ‘Brilliant… this is really going to blow their socks off!’”

SFX: Have you got any favourite scripts from this series?

“Episodes one and two are unbelievable. They’ve all got their charm. Neil Gaiman’s script – just meeting him, and working on stuff that he’d written was just amazing, a real privilege.”

SFX: How was Utah?

“I tell you what, Utah was pretty cold. We knew it would be cold, but when I walked off the plane I did expect it to be baking hot… and it really wasn’t. It was an amazing place. We spent about a week out there, and it took me four days to actually come to terms with the fact that I was there. You look out the window and you just see this amazing scenery you’ve seen in films and stuff, and you’ve never seen it in a real context. To actually be there amongst it… And also because it’s so vast, and you can see for miles, you move your head from side to side and nothing moves, because it’s all so far away. You’ve got no sense of perspective, so it looks like you’re just looking at a flat image almost. You have to go up to things and touch them. I went running in the desert and you’re just like ‘I’m running in the desert! This is really weird!’ There’s tumbleweed going past… it’s really, really amazing. And working with the American crew out there was really fun. We had a lot to do out there. I think we got some really good stuff.”

SFX: Did you have to work through your jetlag?

“Yeah, we were jetlagged for most of it. I think we had a day at the beginning to kind of get over it, but yeah, we did have to work through it, and then we flew back and were working back here straight away. So that was tricky. But you find time to nap. I’m quite good at napping.”

SFX: No jetlag in the TARDIS, of course.

“Yeah, it’s weird. I think you can just choose when you get to places, can’t you? You can just go to sleep. Unless there’s impending doom. You never really see them going to bed, though, do you? And going ‘Oh, I’m a bit tired, I fancy a nap…’ Maybe they should incorporate that. I don’t think it’d make very good telly, though.”

SFX: Like the Big Brother live feed at 2 am?

“Yeah, absolutely! ‘What happens in this episode of Doctor Who? Oh, we ran out of money. It’s just napping.’ Though there was napping in ‘Amy’s Choice’ last year… enforced napping. I don’t recommend it.”

SFX: Do you feel quite protective of Rory as a character?

“Yeah, I do, actually.”

SFX: Do you find yourself fretting over what might happen to him?

“I do worry. I think his intentions are always right. I keep saying he’s proved himself, but I think he really has. Waiting for Amy for 2,000 years has really had an effect on him. Because that’s such a huge thing – 2,000 years of waiting. It’s interesting how much of that he actually thinks about or remembers… It’s a question I’m still answering.”

SFX: What do you think are the points of difference between you, Arthur, and Rory the character?

“I don’t know! We talk slightly differently. Am I braver? I don’t know – I haven’t been put into a situation like being face-to-face with a Silurian! I don’t know how I’d react. I think he’s very loyal. I can’t really think in those terms, because if I start comparing me to him I might… turn into him or something! I think he reacts to things very differently to the way that I do. Maybe I tend to get angry more, and he bottles stuff up. He’s quite good at picking his battles, picking the right time to say something. And I think he’s far more articulate and I think he’s got more intelligence than he comes across as having, and the more adventures he goes on the more he gets to use his instincts, and I think his instincts are generally good.”

SFX: Have you actually moved to Cardiff?

“Yeah… It’s a nice place to be. I mean, I’m to and fro from London all the time…”

SFX: Do you tend to socialise much with your fellow cast members?

“We do as much as we can, but it’s so funny, because the workload’s so huge, for all of us but especially for Matt, that even just going out for an hour in the evening is tricky with the amount of lines you’ve got to learn, knowing you’ve got five scenes to do the next day. It’s hard. But we went to see Arcade Fire last night – Matt and I are both big fans, and it was just really great to go out in Cardiff, because I think this year we haven’t been out once in Cardiff, we’ve been doing lots of napping at home. And I like Cardiff a lot, I like the people, and it’s a really nice place to work and to go out and have a bit of a life after work. We all enjoy what we’re doing so much, and it has to come first, it really does, because we don’t want to look back on it and feel that we’ve wasted any time.”

SFX: And there wasn’t any hassle at the Arcade Fire concert?

“No, it was fine. Just put a hat on and deal with it. I don’t wear a big moustache. I’m quite good at avoiding it, I think, because I’m not very good at dealing with it. I just don’t know what to say to people. It’s nice when people come up but…”

SFX: Does that help you play a bumbling character?

“I suppose so, yeah. Maybe.

SFX: So people aren’t disappointed when they meet you?

“Maybe not – maybe they think they’ve just met the character, I don’t know! It’s all very strange. I do try and avoid it because I do think you’ve got to try and keep these things separate. If people want to be nice and say hello and whatever then that’s great. I just have nothing to say back. ‘I think you’re great too!’”

SFX: Do you get a different kind of attention from kids?

“I think the kids are great. It’s so funny… I remember when I was a kid and what I was into, and if I’d ever met anyone from the shows I watched I wouldn’t have been able to speak.”

SFX: You could never have met He-Man, though…

“Yeah, that would have been weird, meeting a cartoon character. But their parents bring them over to say hello, and they just stand there and look at you, because they just can’t deal with you being out of the box that they’re watching you on. But it’s nice to see that, because it shows it holds that kind of excitement for them. And they could be running the series in 20 years…”

Rory is back in Doctor Who in “Day Of The Moon”, 6pm, Saturday 30 April.