Interview: Supanova guest Burn Gorman chats about Torchwood, murder mysteries and ambitiously wanting to drive along the East Coast of Australia

  • Carina Nilma
  • April 2, 2016
  • Comments Off on Interview: Supanova guest Burn Gorman chats about Torchwood, murder mysteries and ambitiously wanting to drive along the East Coast of Australia

The countdown has begun to Supanova’s first conventions of 2016 and for their Gold Coast and Melbourne events they’re bringing a solid and diverse lineup of guests. Actors from Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Game of Thrones, Torchwood, Harry Potter and Angel to name a few will be set to spend their weekend meeting and greeting fans with professional photo opportunities, and signing autographs, as well as discussing their work in Q&A panels.

One of the guests on that lineup is an actor best known for his work on Torchwood, Burn Gorman. However Gorman has a rather lengthy set of credits including a few episodes of Game of Thrones, he was also in Forever, and is currently in the American history series Turn: Washington’s Spies. He’s just recently starred in an adaptation of the Agatha Christie murder mystery And Then There Were None about a group of 10 people trapped on an island being killed off one by one. Not to mention having worked alongside Guillermo Del Toro recently in films Crimson Peak and Pacific Rim. We caught up with him before he touches down in Australia for his very first ever visit to our great southern land.

“The dusk has begun to settle, it’s a little bit late, but I’m all good, just got back from the US so I’m still on US time. Happy to be speaking to you anyway.
It’s my first time (coming to Australia), I’m so excited. I’ve got a great friend of mine an actor Dan Henshall, who recently got married in Warburton. I was desperate to go but I’ve got 3 kids and unfortunately the timing and everything didn’t work out. But I’m really really made up to be coming and I can’t wait, I’m very excited to be coming along.”

The Gold Coast is great for the beaches, whilst Melbourne is very much a London vibe, you will love it …

“I’ve basically worked out a little route I’m gonna drive down, I think, from the Gold Coast all the way down, perhaps not as far as Melbourne but certainly spend a couple of days on the road. I just can’t wait really to explore the country. I’m made up on doing that.”

You’re planning on driving?! The east coast is a very long coast ….

“Yeah but you know, Dan told me it was 10 hours, it’s probably a bit more than that isn’t it? It’s probably more like 1000 hours isn’t it?”

Gold Coast to Melbourne is probably closer to 20 hours driving if you were going to do it straight. Sydney to Melbourne is about 8-12, from Gold Coast to Sydney it’s about 8 hours…

“Maybe I shan’t be doing that, maybe I could do Gold Coast to Sydney driving, and then fly from Sydney to Melbourne. Is that doable?”

I think that’s doable, going from Gold Coast to Sydney, you could drive through Byron, there’s some nice coastline, Coffs Harbour is very pretty….

“I love doing that, just getting out in the country and driving. As long as I don’t break down, I think it will be fine.”

And you’re coming along with some other Torchwood people, you’re getting the band back together!

“Yeah it’s great, it’s kind of a strange thing but it’s actually ten years since we got together doing that very strange piece of television Torchwood. We’re actually having a bit of a reunion, it’ll be lovely. We had such a good time doing it, it was a blast to do. Even though it was kind of an acquired taste, you either loved Torchwood or hated it. I think that everyone who I know that likes Torchwood in all my friends and fans I’ve met are kind of out there people and very accepting and always a good laugh in the pub. Without generalising too much they’re just people who seem to look at the world in a very interesting way. So actually it will be nice to get back together with a few of us and tell stories and stuff, stuff that we haven’t told before like very crude stories of our time together, it’s great, I’m excited to be with them again.

I suspect there’ll be quite a lot of Torchwood fans coming up to meet you especially since this is your first time visiting. I count myself as one of those people since I’m a Torchwood fan.

“HAHAHAHA excellent, well you’ve got impeccable taste. Oh that’s great. Like I said I’m looking forward to meeting everyone.
As you probably know it’s a spin off of the mother ship Doctor Who. I just feel like at the time, ten years ago, it was kind of the first time, certainly on the BBC, where there’d ever been a pansexual character. Somebody who’s sexuality just didn’t matter, it wasn’t an issue, it was just a thing. I feel like we’ve all moved on so much now in what we watch, and how we view things. But I’m really proud that Torchwood was anything to do with that. I do remember at the time there was some real resistance to it, some of which was because some of the episodes were really crappy, I thought that the themes that it was talking about were quite important and the main thing is we had such fun doing it. It was a blast, and we’re hoping that came across in the actual series, that I was involved in anyway.”

I always found that Torchwood was fun but tread that line of being somewhat darker than what you got on Doctor Who which was nice, it was a good point of difference.

I was hoping we could discuss the mini-series you did And Then There Were None, (also stars Game of Thrones’ Charles Dance, and Aussie Noah Taylor); that looked pretty intense, did you feel there was was that level of intensity during the production?

It was strange, it was a bit like with Torchwood, we filmed in Cornwall for a week or so, and then we were in this stately home just outside London. We kinda had a bit of a reportory theatre company feel. Like there was a great green room, and we had some antipodean actors, we had Maeve Dermody who is a wonderful actress who came in and smashed it and is beautiful to work with and such a lovely person. And Sam Neill he’s born in Ireland but he’s a Kiwi, and a great cast, and we messed around quite a lot. You know it was a very heavy subject matter, but strangely it was kind of a lot of fun, a lot of banter, ridiculous stories and anecdotes. It had a bit of a holiday camp feel about it strangely. Then we would get very serious for the cameras with all the killing and everything. I’m sorry to say this but it was a very fun job to do. I thought the end product was beautiful. I thought Craig Viveiros the director, and the DOP and producers and everything came up with a great adaption of a greatly loved novel.

It hasn’t aired here in Australia so please don’t give anything away, but did you know going in who the killer was going to be, did you get the whole script or did they drip feed you the information?

Well it was a bit of a drip feed, they certainly gave us the first episode, I think the read through was the first episode when we all got together for the first time; and then we read Episode 2. I think most of the cast had already read the book. But for me personally, I remembered it vaguely as a child, it was called something else. I remembered the story, and feeling pretty spooked by it but I didn’t remember who the killer was. But when that was revealed it’s funny considering it was written, I think it was written in the 40’s I believe, I may be wrong on that, I need to check that, but it still stands up as a really sort of fresh adaption. What you forget is, is these murder mysteries, in our brain we think of them as set in aspic and everyone’s wearing tweed. But actually it’s a blood-bath, there are people being murdered every single day on this island, horrifically, with a lot of blood and gore and it really reminds you of what a shocking shocking story it is. But when this killer is revealed, it really really is a surprise. So I hope you see it, I really do, you’ll enjoy it very much. I know it’s just been shown in the US on Lifetime over there, I think it was a few days ago. Presumably you guys like you say will see it soon. Yeah it was a great job.

I noticed that you’ve got a varied acting career, you’ve done period dramas and then you’ve had Torchwood, as well as The Hour, and Turn: Washington’s Spies and Forever. Do you go about a particular way selecting your roles?

Quite honestly I suppose you’ve gotta work with what God gives you, so I’ve got this particular face. It seems that people want to employ me as assholes and jerks a lot, so, but long may it continue. To be honest I’m always grateful for the opportunities I’m given, I know how many actors are out of work, so if the job looks like it’s going to be good, I’ll jump at it really. And specifically because I was born in the States, even though I was raised in London, and so I have this lucky thing where I can work between the two, I can work between England and America very easily, so I feel very lucky about that. I perhaps get more opportunities than somebody who can only work in one country, so long may it continue. Maybe Australia one day? I’d love to though. Like I said one of my best friends Dan Henshall, he was in the Snowtown film, the quality of work that you guys do, the talent that you have, particularly in film and television and also in theatre is just outstanding. It’s incredible how much talent comes out of your country, it’s wonderful.

What’s next coming up for you?

It’s more history for me I’m afraid, I play this character Edmund Hewlett on Turn: Washington’s Spies so I’ve just been filming the third season of that in Virginia. But I’m also a bit of a history nerd so I’m very very happy to be doing this true story about this spy ring that Washington set up, and it’s in the third series now and it’s going from strength to strength. So this year we’ll see much more about Washington and Benedict Arnold and all these famous traitors from history, so it’s really exciting, it’s great.

And going back to you coming out to visit us, do you have any other plans whilst you’re here …

One of the guys in the show that I do Turn: Washington’s Spies is Kevin McNally who plays Gibbs in Pirates of the Caribbean, and that’s just been filming on the Gold Coast I believe, I mean they finished a few months ago now, but Kev was up there, and he had a great time, and he said the food and the drink and the people were so welcoming and so great that he really relaxed up there. So I think I’m looking forward to just relaxing with people and having a good time. And then perhaps driving down a little bit, stopping off somewhere, just trying to get lost, but not lost in the outback though. I just can’t wait to see the country, I love going to new places, particularly somewhere like Australia where so many great things come out of, so I can’t wait.

Burn Gorman will be appearing at Supanova Pop Culture Expo on the Gold Coast and Melbourne expos for 2016.
Gold Coast – Friday 8th, Saturday 9th, Sunday 10th April
Melbourne – Friday 15th, Saturday 16th, Sunday 17th April
For tickets go here, for more information go to the Supanova website.


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Carina Nilma

Office lackey day-job. Journalist for The AU Review night-job. Emotionally invested fangirl.