TCA Interview: Karen Gillan on ‘Selfie,’ ‘Doctor Who’ & Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy Karen Gillan Nebula

Q: What are you looking forward to audiences seeing in your Guardians role which is such a villain? Would you look forward to continuing your relationship with Marvel in the future?

Karen Gillan: Oh, absolutely. I had such a good time working with Marvel. They’re the best company to work for, really amazing. I loved the role. I won’t say anything too much because it will be a spoiler about what happens to her in the film, but I had the best time playing that role. I really did.

Have you noticed a difference between the short hair and long hair and people’s reactions to you?

Yeah, I felt more intimidating when I was playing the villain role in Guardians because of the hair change. So that was really good for me. It did half of the work for me.

What is it like having that intense fan base for something like “Doctor Who?” Are they on you all the time?

It’s amazing. I don’t find it too much of a pressure or anything like that. I feel like I have a legion of loyal fans that all follow me from project to project. That’s what it feels like.

So you don’t have to disguise yourself when you go out?

It depends. It’s happening more and more in America. It didn’t happen at all like a year ago, and now it’s starting to really happen. And so that’s a transitional period for me where I’m starting to get used to that.

When you put on the wardrobe for “Selfie,” does this help you get into that mindset of playing her?

Yes, when I’m not wearing the clothes, I find it very difficult to do her voice which is very interesting. There’s a scene in the pilot where she has a make-under, and she doesn’t wear the clothes anymore. And they wanted me to slip back into the old style of the character, and I found it very difficult.

I love the polka dot stockings. What were your favorites?

Oh, those were good, yeah. I really liked the little black dress at the beginning. I think that the Louboutin heels are a signature for her.

Do you have friends or acquaintances of friends or anything like this?

They have small aspects of the character. It’s a mixture of probably everyone I know, including myself. I just kind of took it to the extreme.

When an actress takes on an American accent, they usually take that Midwestern sort of flat accent.

Like general American. Yeah, that’s what I call it.

You’re sort of Valley girlish. Was that a little harder or easier?

It’s a voice I used to do as a joke when I first came here. It was supposed to be my bad American accent. And then I was like, this kind of works because it’s a really affected way of talking that girls are starting to do. It’s a very modern way of talking, and I just think it’s kind of really harsh and abrasive. But it should be.

Is it easier to do that?

I wouldn’t say easier. It’s actually probably easier. I’ve studied general American, so that’s easier.

How many takes did you do of the airplane scene and how long did it take to clean up?

I think we might have done one take of the vomit over the dress. I think we only had one.

One of the main things about this character is just how clueless he is and self absorbed she is. And yet the audience still has to kind of like her and be cheering for her. How do you walk that line? You want to be irritating comedically but not irritating, irritating.

Yeah, I mean, that’s where Emily [Kapnek] comes in. She’s the smart one behind it all who will rein me in because I want to go full irritating with it. I want to make this the most annoying character in the world! Because I just think that’s funny, personally, but she reined me in and through the writing, she was given redeeming qualities.

How would you react to someone like that?

I would probably laugh at her. Maybe not directly at her, but I’m pretty open to people. I don’t really dislike anyone. I don’t. Everyone’s like, “You’re weird.”

Do you take selfies?

I’m a terrible selfie taker, in real life.

But do you do it?

I sometimes do it, but I just look startled every time because I don’t know what to do with my features.

Even though you’re pressing the shutter?

Yeah, it’s like a full startle.