Doctor Who and Torchwood's John Barrowman Talks Phoenix Comicon, the Face of Boe, and Chasing Down the Bionic Woman
Jack Harkness and his special watch are on their way to Phoenix Comicon.
John Barrowman is one of Phoenix Comicon 2013's biggest celebrity gets. That's because Whovians everywhere love his portrayal of the sexy and sassy Jack Harkness on Doctor Who and its spin-off Torchwood.
Jackalope Ranch had some burning questions for Barrowman, who's scheduled to appear from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Sunday, May 26, the Phoenix Convention Center. He responded with tales of chasing The Bionic Woman, his take on the Face of Boe, and 51st-century (non-existent) promiscuity.
See Also: - John Barrowman (a.k.a. Captain Jack Harkness from Doctor Who and Torchwood) Is Coming to Phoenix Comicon - 10 Must-See Events at Phoenix Comicon 2013 - Cara Nicole (a.k.a. AZ Powergirl) and Her Superheroine Cosplay
Why do you think comicons are important? I think they're important for their community-building. Cons bring together fans from all over the world who share a love and wonderful geekiness -- is that a word?? -- for all things pop culture. We all spend a lot of time today separated by so many things . . . I think it's awesome to have a fun reason to connect with each other.
Since you were a late addition to Phoenix's Comicon lineup, what finally got you to confirm? It had . . . everything to do with my filming and production schedules.
Which actor/actress/writers are you most excited to see at the Phoenix Comicon? I'm always thrilled when some of my favorites from things I watched or read as a kid are at cons. I almost got hit by a car once running across the street to meet the Bionic Woman, Lindsey Wagner.
Do you have any must-do items for your visit to Phoenix? I must see lots of cool cosplay, eat lots of good meals, and drink . . . vodka tonics.
Is Jack Harkness the Face of Boe? I must admit I've never had any doubt. Yes, Jack becomes the Face of Boe. Jack, the Doctor and Martha have a conversation at the close of "The End of the World" that pretty much says Jack is the Face of Boe.
What happened to make him look like that? How Jack gets to be the Face of Boe is open to lots of speculation. I think it's the result of Jack's unique kind of aging process and in the end all that's left of his flesh and blood is his big head . . .
What is your favorite episode of Doctor Who that you were in? I'd probably say my first one, "The Empty Child." It was the one where every[thing] changed for me.
What movies or television shows are you currently into? I've loved all the recent Avenger/Marvel and DC films . . . I wish I had more time to watch television and go to movies. But I don't so I generally catch up on full seasons of television when I travel -- thank God for technology and my iPad. Right now, I'm finishing The Walking Dead and I'm watching Game of Thrones . . . and Arrow, of course.
Do you think Doctor Who will ever have a male companion (that isn't just the sidekick of his female companion)? Anything's possible in the Whovian universe.
Why isn't there going to be a Jack Harkness appearance in the 50th anniversary special for Doctor Who? No idea.
What special care did you take when creating and portraying possibly the first bisexual male hero featured on television ever? Obviously, as a gay man, I was extremely proud that I was going to play a bisexual hero and I understood how important Jack's character was going to be to audiences, but, honestly, I tried not to over think it.
Why is it important for Doctor Who and other sci-fi TV shows to have gay, bisexual, and "sexually flexible" characters? Because the world we live in is made up of all kinds of people, and lots of sci-fi fans are LBGTQ. I think sci-fi shows are often in the forefront of acceptance and advocacy of important social issues.
Do you think Harkness' promiscuity feeds into a negative stereotype toward the gay and bisexual community at all? No. Captain Jack's from the 51st century. There's no such thing as promiscuity.
Do you think there's a link between queer and geek culture? Of course, but I think there's also a link between the arts -- of all kinds of arts -- and queer culture. The creative arts (geek and otherwise) attract all kinds of people as consumers and as creators.
Do you have any quirky pre-Comicon appearance rituals? Hmm. Not really . . . which is surprising because I'm pretty superstitious. I drink lots of water and I generally don't eat a lot before a performance.
Why do you think people love Jack Harkness as a character so much, especially since he had such a morally ambiguous start in the show? I think Captain Jack is a hero for all of us . . . and his moral ambiguity makes him even more real.
Why do you think Harkness warranted a spin-off show? Actually, Torchwood was a show that Russell T. Davies had imagined about the same time as her was re-creating the new Doctor Who so it wasn't just a spin-off for Captain Jack. Doctor Who has always been a family drama. The creators of Torchwood wanted to create a drama with similar themes but for an adult audience.
Which reoccurring Doctor Who character do you think deserves a spin-off show? I've not really thought about this much in relation to recent shows, but I was thrilled that the Sarah Jane Adventures did so well. Loved Liz Sladen.
What other projects are you working on now? Oh, man . . . a lot. My sister, Carole Barrowman, and I have the second book in our Hollow Earth (children's fantasy) series coming out. It's called Bone Quill.
On TV, I'm continuing on Arrow and a few other things that I can't really mention yet. I've also just launched HER, my new hair care line for women. HIM is my skin care line for men.
Can we expect any Jack Harkness appearances with the Eleventh Doctor? Jack would be happy to travel with the Eleventh Doctor.
Phoenix Comicon takes place from Thursday, May 23, through Sunday, May 26, at the Phoenix Convention Center. Daily admission prices are $15 to $30, while a full event memberships is $50.
Get the Arts & Culture Newsletter
Find out about upcoming performances, exhibitions, openings and special events happening in the Phoenix art and theater scene.