Interview with Indira Varma
One of the things I wished Torchwood had covered more were the cast who were written out of the series and as much as Suzie was brought back in for the episode ‘They Keep killing Suzie’ did you know when you took the role that Suzie’s role wasn’t going to be a full time position within the series?
Indira: When initially auditioning for Torchwood I knew Suzie was a one episoder. But was really excited to be involved especially to play such an evil lady. It's fun leading people astray!! ( dark laugh!)
Little did I know then that she would be resurrected. Which was even more nutty fun.
Before Torchwood you were also in Quatermass with David Tennant, oddly enough in a similar role, still working in labs and dealing with alien life forms, was it from Quatermass that you’d been given the gig of Suzie Costello?
Indira: I don't think I got the gig from Quatermass.
What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
Indira: Last film I saw was 2 nights ago. A screening of 12 Years a Slave. An amazing film that should be seen by everyone. I was especially proud to see Chiwetel Ejiofor being so astonishing. We had worked together years ago at the Donmar in a Noël Coward play. It's great seeing your talented friends hit the big time.
Are you anything like Suzie (not as in crazy backstabber with a fancy knife!!!) but in terms of wanting to find out how things work, into gadgets that kind of thing?
Indira: I am definitely not like Suzie in a psycho scary killer no mates way! And I'm ashamed to say I am not a gifted techie either. I like a bit of Lego though and I pride myself on being able to work things out in a domestic situation. I like undoing knots...
What was the first acting role you ever had?
Indira: My first amateur acting gig was Angel Gabriel in the school play at 5. Subsequently I tended to play men and the bad guys. And my first professional job was the lead in a film called Kamasutra. Yes, I know, but it wasn't like that. It's an art house directed by Mira Nair.
Out of all the roles which have been the most memorable?
Indira: I feel so lucky to have sustained my career over years and years. It has been very varied, both in types of role and in medium. I do a lot of theatre which I love, radio, film and telly. Boringly, I can't pick one job as stand out memorable. I have loved the opportunity to travel that has come with some work. Sometimes it's the company, the director, the play, the role, the writing... But I should probably say Othello at the National plus world tour directed by Sam Mendes, starring Simon Russell Beale, David Harewood, Claire Skinner, and of course my now partner for life and father of my kid! Pretty cool huh?!
Are you involved in any new projects?
Indira: There are always projects a-bubbling... I'm joining Game of Thrones which should be huge fun. I had a small but fun role in the last Ridley Scott film of Moses. And I am for the first time involved in exec producing a show for channel 4 titled 'Indian Summer'. Watch this space. Though I can't promise aliens and magic gloves!
Do you come from an acting family?
Indira: I don't come from an acting family at all. Melodramatic yes! But only in the day to day.
If you were ever able to meet your 12 year old self, what would you say to her?
Indira: If I were to meet my 12 year old self I would say," Don't be afraid of anything. Jump and the net will open! Believe in yourself. Don't feel shame. We are all the same. Equally fearful and lonely. So get out there and connect. Be brave and relish life. Be creative! "
Funnily enough I received a pile of letters I had written at 17 from someone I had corresponded with... Hilariously long at 20 pages each at least! Embarrassingly messy and chaotic and full of passionate ideas! But rather encouragingly I seem to still be the same person now as then.
Questions from the fans
Mickie Newton What was it like to be shot by John Barrowman?
Indira: I have been shot quite a few times in my professional life but John popped my cherry. The problem was...Suzie just wouldn't go down!
Pauline Howard You worked on Torchwood is there any other science fiction show you would like to have been in?
Indira: I would actually love to do a Dr. who one day in my life. It's mammoth and so creative and imaginative. I love the endless possibilities. I would have loved to be in Bladerunner!
Jack Harkness-Miguel What was her fave episode to do the first one or ‘They keep killing Suzie’ and would she like her to come back?
Indira: I think my favourite episode has to be my second one as Eve and I had such a giggle in the car. We sometimes couldn't get through the scenes.
Katie Louise Brock Was it fun playing a dark character?
Indira: It's the most fun playing the dark characters. I just played someone unapologetically mean in What Remains. You can purge all the dark stuff and then be really nice when you get home to your family! I think it might be harder to play 'good'. It always feels bland. And real people who do good, do it they might not be it but their actions are what makes them good.
John Bond-Winstone If Indira created Torchwood.. Who would she choose to play Jack, Suzie, Gwen, and Owen... And why?
Indira: I can but play myself. Or rather Suzie. The casting was perfect as it was. And I got the glove.
Christine Oswin Liddle Which did you do first Torchwood or Luther?
Indira: Torchwood came a few years earlier than Luther.
Mel Purplemonkeydishwasher Bennett If you could choose any book in the world, to be adapted into a film (you would have complete control over the project, and money isn't an issue), what would it be and why? And what character from the book would you play?
Indira: I sort of had a melt down at your question as it just makes me feel like I haven't begun to read enough. I can't limit myself to one genre either. I'd love to have done Anna Karenina... Salmon Rushdie's Midnight Children... Erm a Steinbeck.. But actually I don't think there are even any roles I'd be right for in those books. I'd have to become a boy.
Hazel Stanton You played the role of Inspector Cate Pritchard in Bones, were you a fan of the show before you got the part and did you feel at all intimidated joining such a close knit cast? What was the best thing about the two part story that you were in?
Indira: Bones was fun to do. But the dialogue was rally hard to learn. My character spoke in the most archaic prose. English written by an American who thinks we all speak like a Stephen Fry! I wish. It wasn't intimidating at all. The cast were lovely and anyway they were on our home turf!
Nicola Stevens Any chance of asking "do you ever wonder what would have happened if your character survived for more episodes/series?"
Indira: Sometimes I do wonder what might have happened had Suzie returned. I have just met up with the writers of They Keep Killing Suzie and there had been talk of raising her back from the dead again... But I had availability issues. I sort of wish Suzie had come back.
Cathy Norman Did Suzie know Ianto had his girlfriend in the Hub?
Indira: I don't know if Suzie knew that Ianto's girlfriend was in the Hub. I doubt it. She was so focused on her own stuff.
Annika Gabriella Brink WOW! She is awesome! My standard Q for actors is what is her dream-role? And also which does she like most to play, the hero or the villain?
Indira: The dream role has got to be the villain who makes good and becomes the hero. No?!
Loony Smith I’d like to know if she was cast as the Doctors companion and could chose how her companion developed, what would she be like? Also is there anyone you don’t want to work with and would turn down a role knowing you’d have to do a lot of scenes with them?
Indira: erm... Actors occasionally get a bad rep but I honestly haven't worked with anyone who has been a total nightmare. It can change from job to job. Who has the better part, who's going through tough times, having an off day...
But I wouldn't tell you if I did. Knock em on the way up... You'll meet em on the way down!
©BBC Torchwood 2006
©BBC Torchwood 2006