Oz Comic-Con Interview: Arthur Darvill on Doctor Who, Legends of Tomorrow, inspiration & space/time distortion

With turns in series like Doctor Who and Legends of Tomorrow, Arthur Darvill has become a Comic Con favourite around the world – and now he’s in Australia, having just finished up with Oz Comic-Con in Perth, and now this weekend he’ll be in Adelaide for the event’s South Australian turn. Ahead of arriving in Adelaide, David Hunter caught up with Darvill to talk about who inspires him, his family, getting evil with Rip in the latest season of Legends, Broadchurch, working with Karen Gillan, and much more…

Your role as Rory the Last centurion with Doctor Who was one of the reasons I wanted to become a writer.

Oh wow, thank you very much.

Is there anyone out there that you would love to meet or work with? Someone that really inspires you?

Wow, yeah that is a difficult one, I mean there is loads really, there is some amazing actors out there. I kind of think of it in a different way, it’s a really strange thing coming to these things (Conventions) or going to work, you get used to meeting people that you have seen on the screen and on stage who have inspired you and it’s amazing working with these people and it is quite a surprise when I do get flabbergasted in front of people and it is often the strangest of people for me. In terms of these conventions I went to a con where I saw Hulk Hogan, I was like a ten-year-old boy again. In terms of other actors that inspire me, I am a massive fan of older films and actors. Most of them aren’t even around anymore, people like Alec Guinness, Peter Sellers and Tom Courtenay whom I got to work with in one of my first jobs and he was amazing and it was great to work with someone I had looked up to for such a long, long time.

One of Arthur’s Inspirations – Tom Courtenay in the film 45 Years

You were born in 1982 in Birmingham England?

Yes, Yes!

Now you play a Hunter (RIP Hunter) in DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and my surname is Hunter and I’m from Lincolnshire England, originally, we were only about an hour away from each other.

Oh, my god wow!

Simply put, it’s amazing how small the world really is and it probably gets smaller the more famous you become!? Do you still spend a lot of time at home or try to stay abroad now?

Do you know what? I’m trying at the moment to spend more time at home. I live in London now and my parents and family are still in Birmingham. My folks, they have been a constant inspiration to me throughout my life. My Mum is still an actor and a puppeteer and my Dad’s a musician and they’re both still working out there and doing really good stuff. They are finding it hard to find the time to squeeze it all in still, so that is really good.

You started acting at such a young age due to your parents being in the arts as well, was there ever that one moment you can remember where you thought to yourself, this is it… this is my breakout role?

I don’t think I actually have that moment. I do know the moment I decided to start taking it seriously though. I was going up to Edinburgh for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and I watched a play up there, I must have been about 19 or 20 years old, it was a version of Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me which is an amazing play by Frank McGuiness. I was blown away by these actors on stage and the story and performances. I was looking at them and I kind of had that revelation of ‘I don’t know how to do this, I don’t know how to do what they just did’. Which is when I decided to apply for drama school and take everything more seriously.

Arthur Darvill as Rip Hunter – DC’s Legends of Tomorrow

We’re well into Season 2 of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow now, and we got to see a side to Rip we haven’t before, the evil Rip Hunter! Was it fun getting to flip that character around?

It was really, really, good fun. They have been so good to me this year with giving me just different stuff to play with. It feels like they are bowling curve balls. It has been a lot of fun. All the evil stuff was just great fun and they put me on a horse which I am not very skilled at, which I really enjoyed even though they gave me no warning and no riding lessons. There was no concern from my safety at all, just hop on, kick and go! I don’t know, there was something about playing Rip Hunter evil that made him happier. It was quite nice to play a jollier version of him, less cares, which was quite a fun thing to play.

I must ask, as a musician yourself why did we not see RIP in The Flash/Supergirl Musical Crossover? Were you interested and were you even approached?

I wasn’t approached no! I think there were quite a number of storylines on their hands without me putting my two-penneth in. I’ve never been in any of the current crossovers and I think it is because Rip’s so firmly into the world of time travel. Last season he very much had his own thing going on and I think he would be quite difficult to cross over but maybe in the future.

Arthur Darvill as the Vicar in Broadchurch

Broadchurch is a completely different style of show; how do you get into that darker and more dramatic mindset of Broadchurch after leaving the other shows?

It is much easier with Broadchurch’s subject matter because you have to take it very seriously. Such an incredible group of people that make that show and I am so proud to be part of it and what they are doing is something really important. You do a lot of these shows that are great and entertaining but Broadchurch, I think, really speaks to people and they are really attempting and succeeding in tackling very difficult and complicated issues head on and in a very truthful and sensitive way and I think what Chris (Chris Chibnall – Writer) does is amazing. It is a wonderful bunch of people to get to work with.

Arthur as ‘Rory’ alongside Matt Smith’s ‘The Doctor’ and Karen Gillam’s ‘Amy Pond’ in Doctor Who

So, your on-screen ex-wife Amy Pond aka Karen Gillan is now part of a major marvel universe and you’re in DC territory, does it cause some sort of space/time distortion?

It does actually, we’re not allowed in the same room together anymore.

Do you both keep in contact with each other now that Doctor Who is in the Past?

Yeah, we do. We live in different countries, but yes, we do keep in contact. Karen is doing so well now. Not only is she in big blockbuster movies Karen also started to direct her own stuff now. I am so proud of her and I think she is a very clever woman and I am really excited to see the stuff that she has directed soon.

Do you have any favourite TV shows at the moment when you have time?

God, what have I been watching at the moment? Oh, I watched the new series Catastrophe, do you get that show over here? It is Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney. It’s amazing and it’s a brilliant show. Sharon Horgan has also just written this series with Sarah Jessica Parker called Divorce and it is a brilliantly dark comedy and I really got into that too and thought that was great.

What is your favourite film genre and are there any big movies your looking forward to that are on the way?

No, I try to get to the cinema as much as possible but haven’t been recently. I don’t even know what is coming out at the moment. I do love a good Saturday night popcorn and brain out of your head escapism occasionally. As for genre, I’m a bit more of a fan of the kind of darker more intriguing stuff.

Oz Comic Con is in Adelaide this weekend, April 1st and 2nd, where you’ll be able to meet Arthur Darvill yourself! For tickets and more details head to the official website.