A Chat with Arthur Darvill (“Doctor Who”)

Doctor Who” returns to BBC America on Saturday, April 23, but for the first time in the exceedingly long history of the franchise, the emphasis will be on the “America.” Not only does a portion of the season take place in the US of A, but, indeed, some of it was actually filmed here in the States. Bullz-Eye had a chance to chat with Arthur Darvill – he plays Rory, in case you didn’t know – about the new season, but since the thought of accidentally revealing anything of importance about the goings-on in the new season clearly petrified him, the majority of our conversation actually ended up being about last season. Still, he was willing to offer up a few teasing comments here and there, as you’ll see.

Stay tuned for…

Bullz-Eye: Well, I’m a big “Doctor Who” fan, so I followed your exploits all last season, and I’m sure you’re as excited as I am for these new episodes to hit the air, since you worked on them awhile back now.

Arthur Darvill: Oh, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, we’re really excited about it coming out. The scale of it has gone up, and it’s bigger and better and more exciting. Yeah, I just can’t wait for people to see it, really.

Plus, of course, you’re in the States, which really ups the ante.

Absolutely.

Now, obviously, we’re excited about you guys having filmed here, but do you have a sense for how folks back home feel about you making your American debut?

I mean, it’s quite cool, I think, because “Doctor Who” is such a British institution, and it will always be quintessentially English, but to do an episode in America…? You know, we have so many… (Hesitates) All my old favorite films are American movies, and I think our cultures are very much linked, so to have an episode in America, yeah, I think everyone’s really excited about it.

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Don’t turn around, the musical biopic you were undoubtedly waiting for…

With all the great and at least slightly tragic musical figures who have earned the biopic treatment who could be next? Who could follow such deserving figures as Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, Al Jolson, Jim Morrison, Ian Dury, Glen Miller, Gene Krupa, Edith Piaf, Bob Dylan, Serge Gainsbourg, and, of course, Dewey Cox? Marvin Gaye? Jacques Brel? Joni Mitchell? Jimi Hendrix, for crying out loud?

Nope, why make just another flick about a genius who forever changed the face of contemporary music when you give the world the world story of the man without whom there would be no “Der Kommisar” and or “Rock Me, Amadeus.” Ladies and gentlemen, direct from Austria and the year 2008 — sometimes it takes a while for good things to make it stateside — I present “Falco – Verdammt, wir leben noch!” (“Falco – Damn, We’re Still Alive”). Forgive the lack of subtitles, but I’m feeling like we get the gist.

H/t to Christopher Stipp of /Film.

Okay, it should be mentioned that Falco was, in fact, the most famous German language pop artist internationally, at least that I can think of right now. Also, I sort of liked “Der Kommisar” back in the day. “Rock Me, Amadeus” never did it for (for that matter, neither did “Amadeus”). Also, I believe that my first ever paying writing assignment was writing a review of the worldwide-hit free album Herr Falco made betweeen “Der Kommisar” and “Rock Me Amadeus.” If memory serves, I think I gave it a C+ or, perhaps feeling a bit generous, a B-. Shades of things to come.

Special bonus video after the flip.

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Musical biopics with a difference. Maybe. Part 2

Together with the UK’s “Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll” about Ian Dury, comes a film from the other side of the channel about the genuinely ahead-of-his-time pop maestro Serge Gainsbourg — together with Jacques Brel and Edith Piaf one of the very few French musicians to influence American and British performers. Best known outside France for a scandalous bit of pre-Prince porn-pop called “Je t’aime… moi non plus,” Gainsbourg was easily one of the most distinctive musical minds of an era full of distinctive musical minds, the late sixties and early seventies.

Here’s the trailer. Two provisos: To get the English subtitles, you might have to click the “CC” box in the lower right hand corner. Also, it’s a bit NSFW in a distinctly French way. In other words, for God’s sake don’t look at this if the sight of tastefully unclothed European beauties upsets you.

And, as a bonus, here’s a video for my favorite Gainsbourg piece influenced, naturally, by a great American movie featuring none other than his most famed collaborator and a legitimate one-time superstar, Ms. Brigitte Bardot.

  

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Musical biopics with a difference. Maybe. Part 1

Talking with Terry Gross on NPR’s “Fresh Air” while promoting the very funny musical biopic spoof, “Walk Hard,”  star John C. Reilly made a telling observation. He noted that such figures as Ray Charles, Buddy Holly, Jim Morrison, and Johnny Cash were all very different people with very different lives, but the movies about them tended to be all kind of the same. This month in Europe, that proposition is being tested by two very interesting looking films about two extremely unusual musicians who were so unusual I never particularly expected to see a movie about either of them. Hopefully, both will make it stateside in due time.

The first movie is “Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll,” about Ian Dury. Dury, with his crack back-up band, the Blockheads, was a figure in my personal favorite wing of the punk/new wave era of the late seventies that was embodied by his label, Stiff Records. He fashioned a surprisingly effective and popular combination of English music hall, “blue” humor, and Parliament/James Brown style funk and early hip-hip. Partially disabled by polio, he had the requisite difficult life and, physically and in every other way, he was born to be played by outstanding Peter Jackson stand-by Andy Serkis, for once free of make-up efx or motion-capture.

Olivia Williams (“Dollhouse,” “Rushmore”) seems to be everywhere all of a sudden, and I’m completely okay with that. And, as Dury’s son, that’s young Bill Milner from “Son of Rambow.” I do have to say the real-life Dury was slightly better at carrying a tune. Still, looks good and the reviews so far are promising.

Next: an arguably even more dysfunctional, but even more talented, French musical madmen gets his biopic.

  

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