Archive for the ‘The DW-Time Zone’ Category
Much More Than A Tin Dog
EDITORIAL NOTE: ScienceFictionZone is indebted to Paul Salamoff and Roslyn Hill of Unstoppable Entertainment for helping arrange this interview.
- ScienceFictionZone Staff
When “Doctor Who” returned to the airwaves in 2005 after a near-two decade absence, fans were treated to a new TARDIS, new Doctor, new companion and new supporting characters.
Enter Noel Clarke.
Clarke played the role of Mickey Smith, the boyfriend of Rose (aka Billie Piper), and he watched as a tall mysterious stranger (who looked an awful like Destro from “G.I. Joe”) stepped in and whisked her away.
Was Mickey destined for third-wheel status forever? In one episode of the second season, poor Mickey compared himself to K-9 the robot dog. “I’m the tin dog!” he shouted with despair, but speaking with Clarke, one finds he is so much more than that. By the end of David Tennant’s role, Mickey was an action hero married to the beautiful Martha Jones (aka Freema Agyeman).
Clarke has proven more than just the usual “Doctor Who” companion, but an accomplished writer and director. Sure in 2003 he won the Laurence Olivier Award for “Most Promising New Actor” but his movies “KiDULTHOOD,” “ADULTHOOD” and “18.104.22.168” have won acclaim as well.
Thanks to assistance of writer Paul Salamoff, we were able to talk with Clarke about his time on “Doctor Who”, working with Elizabeth Sladen, and he talked with us about Doctors Nine through Eleven and he talked about the 50th anniversary of “Doctor Who.”
SCIENCEFICTIONZONE: First, I want to thank you for being interviewed by us at Science Fiction Zone! Also, we owe a great deal of thanks to writer and producer Paul Salamoff, who we interviewed previously. How long have you known him?
NOEL: I met Paul Salamoff at the Los Angeles Gallifrey One Convention in 2006. At the time I thought he was just a fan. We spoke for a couple of hours and I found out afterwards he was a writer/producer. Not too long after that we became good friends.
SCIENCEFICTIONZONE: Did you see his TARDIS console from the 1996 movie?
NOEL: [LAUGHS] Oh yeah! I saw it. I’ve been in his garage and it was really neat.
SCIENCEFICTIONZONE: Since Paul lives in California, do you come to the United States much?
NOEL: I try to make it to the States twice a year. I have written several scripts and directed two feature movies, and right now my goal is to continue pressing forward with that. I am slowly clawing my way over.
SCIENCEFICTIONZONE: Does this mean you will be coming over to the United States? Anything you can talk about?
NOEL: Ehh…I have a few plates spinning in the air at the moment that I think you will be hearing about in the near future.
SCIENCEFICTIONZONE: Well, let me ask regarding the amount of British actors that are currently starring in American television series. Specifically, I am thinking of Andrew Lincoln from the “Walking Dead.” You can add Hugh Laurie of “House” and Kevin McKidd of “Grey’s Anatomy.”
Why is it easier for British actors to perform American accents whereas you almost want to cringe at Americans doing British accents?
NOEL: I think it is because we have had some iconography almost shoved down our throats. I mean we grew up with television shows like “Knight Rider” and “The A-Team” so we grew up with the accent, whereas Americans did not grow up with the British shows the way we were. Because of that, British actors are able to pick up the American accent easier. I mean ask an American kid if he can name an American burger joint and he can’t, but a British kid can name McDonalds.
SCIENCEFICTIONZONE: Now you talk about filmmaking; you have written several scripts and you are a director. Do you prefer being behind the camera?
NOEL: I have to say my first love is being in front of the camera, but I like being behind the camera as well. As you said, I like to be in front of the camera and I definitely like being behind the camera, after all I directed two feature films. I want to learn as much as what I can behind and increase my longevity in the industry.
SCIENCEFICTIONZONE: When you were doing “Doctor Who” did you ever get a chance to come in on days you weren’t filming and just sit behind the cameras and learn the industry?
NOEL: Actually, I didn’t need to. I was filming so much I was able to pick it up as I went along. Though, [Executive Producer Russell T. Davies] gave me the opportunity to write an episode of “Torchwood.”
SCIENCEFICTIONZONE: I saw on IMDB.com you were able to do that. Did John Barrowman ask you for the opportunity to write a song and dance number for Captain Jack into that episode?
NOEL: [LAUGHS] No, the actors were separate from the writers. I appreciated the chance to being part of a team of writers. After I wrote the script, Russell tweaked it a little and it was amazing.
SCIENCEFICTIONZONE: Now if we can get into “Doctor Who” for the moment, you have said you were a fan of the original series. Was it nerve wracking knowing that you would be the number three person “Doctor Who” fans would see?
NOEL: Let me say that when the show was revitalized, there were a lot of skeptics who did not believe the show would last, but I knew when I auditioned for it that this was a quality show.
Further proof of that is, look at the way Mickey evolved as a person. When he first appeared, he was Rose’s foil and he was irked at this man who was cooler than he was. But by the end of it, he was this bearded hero, freedom fighter who was married to Martha. It was really part of the writers’ grand plan.
SCIENCEFICTIONZONE: Focusing in on that, you played Mickey, the goofy guy who “wasn’t the tin dog” as was mentioned in the episode “School Reunion,” but in the episodes “Age of Steel” and “Army of Ghosts,” you played Ricky, a gay version of Mickey. Yet, Ricky was a man hardened by a brutal war with the Cyber Men. How was it playing such a different character?
NOEL: Actually, it is more difficult to play Mickey because he is goofy and bumbling, whereas Ricky (and the later Mickey) are closer to my personality. I relate more to the action hero/take-no-prisoners type of guy.
SCIENCEFICTIONZONE: So you played Mickey Smith and Ricky Smith, the Doctor goes by John Smith, Elisabeth Sladen played Sarah Jane Smith, the Doctor is currently played by Matt Smith, my name is Don Smith and I have a Doctor Who buddy named Pam Smith!
Tell me what is it about “Smiths” and “Doctor Who” that is just so awesome? [LAUGHS].
NOEL: I have no idea. [LAUGHS] I really don’t. They named Mickey Smith as a tribute to Sarah Jane Smith unsure if they would ever be able to get her, but she returned [in the previously mentioned episode "School Reunion"] and had her own series for a while.
SCIENCEFICTIONZONE: Most “Doctor Who” fans knew she passed away from cancer back in April of this year. What was it like working with Elisabeth Sladen in “School Reunion”?
NOEL: Lis Sladen was lovely to work with. In fact, when she came to work, she was a little nervous, but she got on quite well. I was glad to see her return because she was such an important part of the history of the show.
SCIENCEFICTIONZONE: There is a pivotal scene where Sarah Jane Smith is coming to terms with being left behind by the Doctor. She even talks about it with Rose at one point. In the world of “Doctor Who”, it seems many of the actors, both companions and Doctors, are also left behind by the show.
Did Lis Sladen have any advice or even talk about that?
NOEL: No, she didn’t, the conversation never came up. But as actors, we are well aware of how big the show is and how important it is to have something to fall back on and understand what it means to reinvent themselves. I have been lucky; I have had my writing and my directing to fall back on.
SCIENCEFICTIONZONE: Besides working with Lis Sladen, you worked with two different Doctors, Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant. What did each bring to the Doctor?
NOEL: I loved working with both men equally. Chris was lovely to work with, but he was able to bring a modern and hip interpretation to the character that was very intense with the leather coat. Chris was able to reestablish the show and get it moving, which allowed David to come in play the character in a lighter tone. David played him more emotional and more likable which kept the series going.
SCIENCEFICTIONZONE: Have you seen Matt Smith’s run as the Doctor? What do you think he brings?
NOEL: I haven’t met the guy, but he brings an air of unpredictability to the Doctor. And that’s great. I know it’s a scripted show, but I never know what Matt is going to do next. He has done a fantastic job.
SCIENCEFICTIONZONE: Have you heard anything about the fiftieth anniversary?
NOEL: No I haven’t, and if I did, I wouldn’t be allowed to talk about it.
SCIENCEFICTIONZONE: That’s okay, we understand.
Thank you so much for your time! What do you have upcoming fans can look out for?
SCIENCEFICTIONZONE: Well, whatever else you have coming up, stop by ScienceFictionZone.com and share it with us.
NOEL: Will do! This has been fun.
Images courtesy of Noel Clarke and BBC.
THE DW-TIME ZONE
I just wanted to wish my favorite time traveling hero the Doctor a happy birthday! In honor of that I present this…
Okay…everyone knows that Doctor Who is as British as the Queen of England, King Arthur, Robin Hood and James “Venereal Disease Proof” Bond and I would not want to change that. I would never ever want to change that.
But at the DW-Time Zone, I wanted to point out that the Doctor could be played by anyone who is Scottish, Irish, Australian, Welsh or South African. Granted David Tennant, who is Scottish, performed with a Southern English accent. I am sorry to say that for my unsophisticated American ears, what does it matter?
But for this little exercise, let’s have some fun for a moment and ask, “What if an American was cast as the Doctor?” The rule for this exercise is he is American (or Canadian) and he keeps his accent.
I have five actors in mind that could pull off playing the eccentric Time Lord while giving him a heart of gold, yet playing him with raging river of emotion and passion beneath the surface.
While not my top choice, I will begin with Johnny Depp. Check out this image of him below as Willy Wonka (nevermind the sissy prance and top hat) but see what I mean?
I do not even need to talk about his credit as an actor. If you have seen any of his movies, you know what he can do.
Ever see the first “Charlie’s Angels” movie with Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu? He played the role of the creepy thin man. Recently, I re-watched it and thought, “Oh this guy could do it!”
Remember his George McFly? “Hey, you. Get your damn hands off her!”
Speaking of “Charlie’s Angels”…I’ll be darned if Sam Rockwell didn’t steal the show. He at least stole it in “Iron Man 2″. He has this ability to play fun characters and give them a heart such as Chuck Berris in “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” his role as Guy in “Galaxy Quest” and, of course, Zaphod Beeblebrox in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”
Alan has serious geek cred with his time on “Firefly.” Wash had the humor of any of the actors who played the Doctor previously. He was great in “28 Days,” “I, Robot” and my personal favorite, Steve the Pirate in “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.”
I say give him the role! It would be great to see the Doctor finally a ginger!
I would cast him tonight! He became my favorite supporting character in “Supernatural”. Heck! Look at him! How is he not the Doctor for this pic alone? Collins is an amazing actor, very underrated and that is the sort of quality the Doctor needs – someone who could play fun, manic and I believe he would approach this character similar in style to Matt Smith.
THE DW-TIME ZONE
How do you write a biography about a 900 year old Time Lord?
It can’t be easy, considering Edmund Morris spent a decade writing three 600-page books on President Theodore Roosevelt and Roosevelt died when he was just 60 years-old! Yet, writer Paul J. Salamoff is going to give it a shot with my old buddies at Bluewater Comics with his upcoming bio-comic on the “Doctor Who” phenomenon.
To celebrate the success of the DW-Time Zone column, we are presenting this interview of our new friend. Salamoff talks about comic books, screenwriting, his own graphic novel, owning his own TARDIS console and “geeking” out with Steven Spielberg over the good Doctor.
QUESTION: First, thanks for hanging out with us. You are our first official interview for the DW-Time Zone! Let’s take this back, how did you get into Doctor who?
PAUL J. SALAMOFF: Well, when I grew up in Massachusetts I used to watch “Doctor Who” on WGBH, which was Channel 2.
And my first memory was a black and white episode about the Silurians and it scared the crap out of me! [LAUGHS] However, my father got me into it, and, gradually I became obsessed with the show.
I was so obsessed that I would buy all the toys or the books I could get my hands on. I even built my own life-size K-9. When I moved to Los Angeles in 1989, I still kept the torch alive.
QUESTION: It’s amazing how the special effects in “Doctor Who” (around 1973) are terrible, but the stories are amazing, but you have something like “Star Wars Episode I” and all anyone talks about is terrible Jar-Jar Binks.
PAUL J. SALAMOFF: Special effects are to be used to serve the story. It seems that if a story is more compelling and the characters are well written, fans can forgive the poor special effects, but if it is the other way around, it does not work so well.
The bad effects are what made “Doctor Who” even more endearing, and because of the bad effects, the writers really had to punch up the story to keep the viewer.
QUESTION: What do you think makes “Doctor Who” so compelling?
PAUL J. SALAMOFF: The premise of “Doctor Who” is a premise that works today as it did in the 1960s. It crosses every type of genre and each story is always unique. It can be hard science fiction or hard fantasy.
Either way, there is something for everyone.
QUESTION: How did you get into comic books?
PAUL J. SALAMOFF: I started out in the entertainment industry as a Special FX Make-UP Artist and wound up doing that for the first 14years of my career. But I had other passions as well and during that early part of my career, I taught myself how to be a Screenwriter. I love doing different things because it keeps life fun for me. So many people pigeonhole themselves into one aspect. My opinion is the more you can do the more hire able you’re going to be. It must be working, because I have been in the industry for 22 years now and still going strong.
QUESTION: How did you get involved with Bluewater Comics?
PAUL J. SALAMOFF: I had been a screenwriter for a number of years and many of the scripts I had written could be turned into comic books. I got in touch with Darren Davis at Bluewater Comics and he said no to the ideas, but asked if I would be interested in writing “Roger Corman Presents Black Scorpion” in a way similar to the “The Dark Knight Returns.”
I pitched a script and submitted it to Roger Corman and both Corman and Bluewater approved it.
QUESTION: What else had you done after that?
PAUL J. SALAMOFF: Well, I also did a number of issues of “Vincent Price Presents…” and then I was given the opportunity to write “Logan’s Run.” When that was given to me I lost my mind! [LAUGHS]. I was a huge fan of the movie and series of books written by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson.
QUESTION: So how did you get a chance to do the bio-comic on “Doctor Who”?
PAUL J. SALAMOFF: Bluewater Comics has been doing a slew of bio comic on politicians, actors and the like and Darren knew I was a huge Doctor Who fan, so he asked if I was interested in doing one on the Actors who played “The Doctor”. The first issue would focus on four of them.
We decided on Matt Smith (The current incarnation), Paul McGann (The Eighth Doctor), Tom Baker (the Fourth Doctor) and William Hartnell (the First Doctor) and there will also be a trade paperback expanded edition which will feature one more Doctor, but I will keep that a secret for now. No Spoilers! [LAUGHS]
QUESTION: It is amazing how “Doctor Who” has gone from being a cult show to becoming a full-fledged mainstream show.
Add to the fact, it is amazing at who is a “Doctor Who” fan. I mean Matt Groening of “The Simpsons” will slip in a Tom Baker-looking character every so often.
PAUL J. SALAMOFF: Oh yeah! In fact, I was producing a video for the upcoming Ubisoft Video Game based on “The Adventures of Tintin” which was written by Steven Moffat [the current “Doctor Who” show runner] and I interviewed Steven Spielberg, the executive producer/director of the movie.
Before the Interview, he said to me one of the reasons why Moffat was hired to write “The Adventures of Tintin” was because of “Doctor Who.” I have to tell you, it was cool to geek out with Steven Spielberg about “Doctor Who.” [LAUGHS].
QUESTION: I bet. Spielberg was one time involved with the production of what would become the 1996 “Doctor Who” movie with Paul McGann as the Doctor.
PAUL J. SALAMOFF: Yeah, he was. In fact, I actually own the TARDIS console from that movie.
QUESTION: How did you get your hands on that?
PAUL J. SALAMOFF: I produced a movie called “Cemetery Gates” and the boyfriend of the make-up artist’ on the movie owned the prop company that had the TARDIS console. He was looking to get rid of it and so he sold it to me for next to nothing.
QUESTION: He wanted to get rid of a TARDIS console? Wow!
PAUL J. SALAMOFF: I know! Talk about lucky. In fact, I live down the street from Daphne Ashbrook, who played the companion to the Doctor in the 1996 movie. I told her, “Anytime you want to come down and relive the memories you are more than welcome to.
QUESTION: I really should ask, what do you think of the current actor playing the Doctor? You must have some sort of special insight after having written about Matt Smith.
PAUL J. SALAMOFF: I loved David Tennant and he was amazing, and so when Matt Smith was brought on I was like “Oh c’mon, who is this guy?” But ten minutes into the show, I was hooked. Matt Smith is phenomenal. I love Tennant but I am amazed at how effing good, Smith is!
QUESTION: Before we close, I wanted to ask about your own personal graphic novel “Discord.” Could you tell us what that’s about?
PAUL J. SALAMOFF: This is a new original graphic novel and I am really proud of it. It’s the story of a superheroes team, like the X-Men or Avengers, and they crash land on an alien world while fighting one of their enemies and they are all killed. Bits and pieces everywhere. The indigenous life forms on the planet come out of the woodwork and are curious about all the parts. So they collect the usable remains and assemble what they think is a person and resurrect him.
The main character wakes up to discover that not only is he made up of parts of his fallen teammates but also parts of his enemy. He is this Frankenstein-ian creation and now he has to deal with the ramifications of this. It’s all about loss of identity and how one defines themselves as a hero.
QUESTION: What sort of response have you gotten for it?
PAUL J. SALAMOFF: The response by the critics and the fans has been overwhelmingly positive with one reviewer comparing it to “Watchmen”. It is endorsed by Jim Krueger, Rick Remender, Eric Wallace, Tony Lee and William F. Nolan to name a few and Eisner Winner Mark Waid (Boom’s “Irredeemable” and DC’s “Kingdom Come”) wrote the introduction.
QUESTION: Well, we look forward to seeing it! Paul, thank you so much for your time! We have had a blast.
PAUL J. SALAMOFF: Thank you. I enjoyed it too.
All photos courtesy of Paul J. Salamoff.
The DW-Time Zone
The New York Comic Con at the Jacob Javitz Center has come and gone, and while the new Avengers movie took center stage, fans of a certain Time Lord showed their support and dressed like the beloved Time Lord.
I, too, could not resist showing up in my TARDIS T-Shirt and I would randomly walk up to the fans and say, “I am collecting ‘Doctor Who’ photos” and the attendees were kind enough to allow me to photograph them. I snapped photos of people dressed as the 10th Doctor or the 11th Doctor. My favorite was the 11th Doctors because I would say (derisively), “I can’t believe you are wearing a bow tie!” and I would not leave them alone until they said, “Bow ties are cool!” And each one was kind enough to do so.
To you people who thought I was harassing you (and I was), thank you and enjoy the following photographs of “Doctor Who” fans from the New York Comic Con.
THE DW-TIME ZONE
Well, Series Six of “Doctor Who” is winding down and we are about to put the TARDIS away for the season and according to a recent article, I am not happy about it. Here’s why:
“Doctor Who Magazine has officially confirmed what has been clear for a while now – Series 7 will not air until Autumn 2012.”
I have a simple question for the people at the BBC, “What in the heck is wrong with you?”
Let me explain my annoyance with the BBC and possibly an overworked Steven Moffat (“Doctor Who”, “The Adventures of Tintin” and “Sherlock” all one right after the other).
In 1989, when Michael Grade* was chief jackass of programming for the BBC and he unceremoniously canceled “Doctor Who.” We had to wait over eight years to get the 1996 Paul McGann movie which aired on Fox. While McGann remains a personal favorite, the movie was panned. It didn’t help that they aired the dang movie against some important forgotten (by me) sporting event and the geniuses at Fox were surprised when ratings did not fare well.
Doctor Who fans then had to wait another near-decade before Russell T. Davies came around and said, “Let’s bring on Christopher Eccleston!” and we get the show back in 2005.
Eccleston stuck around for Series One, and David Tennant stepped in and he stayed on in three consistent seasons which ended in July 2008. Then five months later we get Tennant’s “Farewell Tour” beginning with “The Next Doctor” which aired in Dec. 2008, then “Planet of the Dead” April 2009, “Waters of Mars” which aired Nov. 2009 and finally “End of Time Parts 1 and 2” aired in Dec. 2009 and Jan. 2010.
Let me go back to Jan. 2009 when it was announced that Matt Smith was cast as the Eleventh Doctor. It took 16 months from the time of that announcement before he actually fully played the Doctor in “The Eleventh Hour” (which aired April 2010 and was the first episode of Series Six).
From April 2010 to the end of June we get four consistent months of “Doctor Who” with a Christmas Special thrown in for Dec. 2010.
In April 2011 we get the beginning of Series Six, but we get just six episodes before the summer break beginning in June 2011. “Who” fans waited a long and hot summer for the second half of Season Six which began in Aug. 2011 and concluded Oct. 1 and now we have to wait until Autumn 2012 for Season Seven.
I have to ask, “What are you people at the BBC thinking?” Look in the last 20 years, all “Who” fans have wanted are consistent and brilliant stories told to us in a timely manner. We had to wait two years in between Tennant’s last full episode to these “piece meal” specials that ran from brilliant to mediocre until we got some consistency with Smith.
Do we keep the consistency? No! We have to wait the three-fourths of a year to watch our beloved Doctor. I am sorry, but I would say that Smith is still trying to find his footing (which he is doing well) but Tennant casts a long, long shadow.
BBC, can you please stop with the damnable gaps of time?
As we have to wait for “Doctor Who” to air, we are stuck twiddling our thumbs and watching whatever Gordon Ramsey show or the annoyingly themed “Top Gear” on BBC America. But the BBC America announced that repeats of “Torchwood” will return. In those repeats, we get to see Capt. Jack Harkness “shag” every other alien species while he pines for the Doctor to return.
Trust me, Capt. Jack, we know how you feel!
*For those concerned about my harshness, Grade said, “I thought [Doctor Who] was rubbish, I thought it was pathetic, I’d seen ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind,’ and ‘E.T.,’ then I had to watch these cardboard things clonking across the floor trying to scare kids!” Seriously, the only thing he proved was what a condescending jerk sounds like.