At the tail end of last week I was fortunate enough to do an interview with much loved American Television writer Jane Espenson for monstersandcritics.com
As most fans know Espenson has worked on many of the hit genre shows of the past decade and most recently did some fantastic work on the HBO hit Game Of Thrones, which recently scooped up 13 Emmy Nods.
In the interview Jane talked to me about her work on Torchwood: Miracle Day and as you can see by the following excerpts working on the show was an exciting opportunity for her.
We all love Captain Jack Harkness and given that you got to write for him. What would you say was the most fun you had with that character and given that he is essentially now mortal what sort of things can we expect to see as he deals with that issue after over 150 years of being essentially immortal.
Jane Espenson: I had a wonderful time writing this Jack – I got to dig deeply into his psyche in our episode seven – there is a conversation that gets pretty raw and wonderful. Russell kept sending me back out to rewrite it, saying that there was more there, that I could go deeper. I never would have found what I found without that instruction. I’m starting to think that every writer should just keep being sent home with that instruction. The results are pretty cool.
I’ve read that the episodes you have written are 5 and 7. Without spoiling things too much. What can you tell us about those episodes and how do you think they connect to the overall story.
Jane Espenson: I wrote 3, 5 and 7. I also co-wrote episodes 8 and 10, but as my solo efforts, 3, 5 and 7 are my babies. In no particular order, (to preserve suspense) one of them is a “dark night of the soul” episode – a chance for the characters to catch their breath and take stock of their situation as it stands at that point in the story. I like episodes like this because they are so much about character. One of them involves a romance, which was great fun to write. And the other is tense action and shocking revelations. I love that I was given three such different episodes to write. And I love that such a short season – only ten episodes – would offer such a variety of tones.
Who was your favorite character to write for in the series and what about them really resonated with you.
Jane Espenson: Gwen. I loved the challenge of her voice and her directness. I love direct characters. Jack, because he’s funny. Esther, because she’s so much like me. And Rex because he’s so simultaneously clueless and confident a lot of the time. They were all favorites, I guess – I liked whoever I was writing at the time! Oh, and Jilly and Oswald were a hoot to write for, too! They were my favorites, too!
Torchwood: Miracle Day deals with some pretty big themes as a result of no one dying. As a writer was there a specific thread in the broad scope of the story that was of specific interest to you.
Jane Espenson: I liked exploring how this affected the Jack/Gwen friendship. What it did to their priorities. I also really liked all the real-world stuff happening in the background – the headlines, the things we see flash past on computer screens – all the heady stuff about implications. I love the whole thought-experiment aspect of this story.
Has writing for Torchwood been a good experience for you and if yes and if the series gets a fifth year. Would you like the opportunity to return.
Jane Espenson: It’s been an AMAZING experience, and yes of course, I would return to Torchwood or go anywhere with Russell. I absolutely loved every minute of this experience! I’m working now on a show called Once Upon A Time, and I’m producing my own web series called Husbands, but I’d make time for Russell always and forever!
Fans will be able to ask Jane Espenson and a few other Torchwood people questions at Comic-Con later this week in San Diego.
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By Ian M. Cullen