We’re a few days off before we bear witness to the day in which nobody dies, the central theme of the new Starz and BBC produced fourth series of Torchwood that has been given the catchy sub heading of Miracle Day.
In the last series, Torchwood: Children Of Earth stuff got pretty dark, but Miracle Day already looks set to surpass that, but at the same time it will retain much of the humour and naughtiness of the previous series.
Recently I was lucky enough to share a phone conversation with the lovely Arlene Tur, who plays the role of cardiothoracic surgeon Vera Juarez, who comes into the story early on and winds up being an essential medical link to the Torchwood team with her mental agility and innate need to find answers.
Arlene and I shared a fairly in-depth discussion about her role in the show, and you can read some of the highlights below:
SciFiPulse: We’ll soon be seeing you in Torchwood: Miracle Day in which you play the role of Dr. Vera Juarez. Before going up for the role, were you aware of the series?
Arlene Tur: No, I wasn’t… Before the audition I wasn’t aware of it, but once I got the audition… I love to study. So I went out and got all the seasons and studied to see and know exactly what the feel was. I get a feel for what they want and what the series was like before especially if it’s something that has such a fan base and is so established. So yeah, I went out and studied and by the time I went up for my audition, I was already a fan.
SciFiPulse: My guess is you liked the fact that it was very naughty and British.
Arlene Tur: Yes… Of course I love all your material and you comedy is just superb.
SciFiPulse: How did you find working under Russell T. Davis and Julie Gardner?
Arlene Tur: They were such a joy to work with. They’re brilliant and their attitude and energy is beautiful. They get in there, and it’s so not Hollywood because sometimes you’re on set and every things a little bit serious and you got to get this done in a timely manner and blah, blah, blah. They come in and they’re like, ‘Hurray… Today’s going to be a wonderful day. Aren’t we excited … Hurray.’ And everyone is sat there thinking like, ‘What… Ok’ and we suddenly go, ‘Hurray’. Everybody’s attitude is so light and just changes and it is so bright and wonderful. It was so open. I just feel extremely blessed to have worked with them both. They’re beautiful, beautiful people.
SciFiPulse: According to my notes, Vera Juraez is a quite a big player in the series. Could you tells us a little about her and how she fits in?
Arlene Tur: She’s a cardiothoracic surgeon and when Rex Matheson, which is Mekhi Phifer’s character, comes into the ER. He has been impaled by a steel rod that’s fallen off a truck, and I’m working on him because its in his chest, and I’m working on him in the instant that Miracle Day occurs. So people spot that because Miracle Day occurs I am able to save him. I have enough time that he lives because of miracle day, ultimately. And our relationship starts there because he’s part of the CIA and he starts investigating, ‘Why does this miracle day think happen?’ I hear it has something to do with Torchwood and then everybody asks, ‘What’s Torchwood.’
So everybody in the CIA and all the Americans are curious to know what Torchwood is, and they ultimately go search them out and find them. And then because of miracle day, they have more information and are investigating, and I’m still involved with Rex. There is some romantic instances as well… [Laughs]. But I’m involved in that. He first off keeps asking me for medication and then I start asking him questions because I’m quite the curious cardiothoracic surgeon.
I’m not going to stay within my realm of the ER. I start talking to the government and start getting involved with how we’re going to solve the overpopulation problem, how we going to get more staff, what’s really going on and what processes need to change … all the things that need to happen in order for this phenomenon not to turn into more of a crisis.
So because of that, I get introduced to the Torchwood team and I become a member.
SciFiPulse: Russell T. Davis recently let it be known that on Miracle Day nobody can die, but the one person that can is Captain Jack Harkness played by John Barrowman. That’s a pretty bold move given that in previous series Jack has been pretty much indestructible. So given that Jack is now mortal, is there any point in the series where your character has to patch him up?
Arlene Tur: Kind of… Actually yes, but I’m a little far from him so I can’t touch him. I’m the one giving the instructions.
SciFiPulse: That sounds rather dramatic.
Arlene Tur: Yep, absolutely… only the best from Russell and Julie.
That’s actually one of my favorite scenes that we filmed.
SciFiPulse: So what happens is his head falls off and you have to instruct him on how to put it back on again?
Arlene Tur: [Laughs] No, no. Not quite, not quite, but it is extremely exciting when it happens . I’ll give you this much. It happens in the air. They’re in a plane and they have to follow my directions because they didn’t know who to call so Rex calls me.
SciFiPulse: You’ve done a fair bit of drama on television having had a fairly frequent role in the TV series Crash, but Torchwood from what I can see is the first big science-fiction series you’ve been involved with. How much of a challenge has it been working on a show that requires so many effects?
Arlene Tur: Actually I think I got more personal action working on Crash as far as like guns shooting and chases and things like that.
In Torchwood my action in more intellectual and personally challenging, but I myself don’t have any extreme physical or crazy action sequences. Most of my scenes are very intense moments and very challenging emotionally, but as far as the physical strain and action. I think I got a little more action playing with guns in crash, but I do love action. So I’m looking forward to doing more of it.
By Ian M. Cullen