Karen Gillan: “‘Downton Abbey’ Plus ‘Harry Potter’ Doesn’t Make for a Good Aberdeen Accent”

Karen Gillan in 'Oculus'

Karen Gillan in ‘Oculus’ (Pic: Blumhouse Productions)

It’s a Monday morning, summer vacation is still a way off and we could all use a lift, right?

Well, the best thing you could do today is read this delightful interview with Karen Gillan over at Empire. It’s a fairly comprehensive trawl through her recent movie-making career, with specific references to wigs, accents, prosthetics and of course Doctor Who.

Here are a few highlights, but really, read the whole thing. It starts with Karen having elected to spend her first interview of the day in the bed of the hotel room that she has just arrived in, in order to take interview phone calls:

Karen on Oculus director Mike Flanagan’s Doctor Who fetish:
“He has a replica of Matt Smith’s tweed jacket he had made, and he wore that a bit, and he wore a T-shirt with Matt Smith’s face on it to work too – no really, it’s true – and I think there’s a picture somewhere on my phone of me next to him wearing his Doctor Who get-up. It was amazing. What I liked about it was his Doctor Who love was so subtle and unspoken.”

Karen on improvising while filming Oculus:
“We pretty much stuck to the script. That was kind of necessary, because a lot of what I was saying was exposition. I love that Oculus really commits to the exposition part. A lot of films try to bury it, or try to mix it with some action, but here there’s a sequence where I’m talking for ten minutes, and it works! I’d love the beginning of a Doctor Who episode to have ten minutes of The Doctor just talking to the camera and saying, ‘This is what I do…’”

Karen on the current whereabouts of her old hair:
“I have my real hair wig – my real hair, as a wig. I keep it at the end of my bed, on top of a mannequin head. It’s just a reminder, sitting there. Sometimes I just gaze at it of a morning. It’s a weird world. Sometimes I’ll wear it out, then sometimes I’ll take it off mid-way through the evening, get other people to try it on.”

And how she uses it in social situations:
“I’ve definitely pulled it off in front of people who weren’t expecting it. They have a really cartoonish reaction, normally: their jaws open and they don’t say anything for a while. And then everyone immediately wants to wear it, of course. Actually, here’s a tip: if you don’t want to get hit on at a party, just take your wig off.”

And why British people can do American accents better than American people can do any of the regional British ones:
“It’s funny, because British people, for the most part, can do a passable American accent, while American people really aren’t that good, by and large. Actually, I have a theory about this: it’s because over in the UK we’re so saturated with American entertainment, we pick it up, and in the US they just have Downton Abbey and Harry Potter. Downton Abbey plus Harry Potter does not make for a good Aberdeen accent.

“Think about it: music alone, so many people sing with an American accent. We play with Barbies with an American accent. Can you even imagine an English Barbie? It definitely wouldn’t be called Barbie, first of all. Mainly because that’s not a name. Joanna? Jane? Let’s work on this.”

Read the full interview here.

See more:
Karen Gillan Goes Back to the West for ‘In A Valley Of Violence’
LIKE, WATCH: OMG it’s Karen Gillan? In the ‘Selfie’ Trailer? #Wow
Where Can You See Your ‘Doctor Who’ Favorites This Summer?
Snapshot: 10 Stellar Selfies by British Celebs

Fraser McAlpine

Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 15 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME, Guardian and MSN. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Radio 2.

He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage.

Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic

See more posts by Fraser McAlpine