PASADENA – Karen Gillan came to press tour to discuss her new TV-movie “We’ll Take Manhattan,” but as often happens at this event, the first question for her was about her more famous role on “Doctor Who,” which she will leave sometime during the British sci-fi series’ next season.
“I feel sad,” she said of saying goodbye to the role of Amy Pond, “because I am gonna leave, but with any story, it has to come to an end. It was a mutual decision with me and (‘Doctor Who’ showrunner) Steven Moffat. We had this lovely dinner and decided when the best time for me to go was, and it’s been decided. So I’m excited and slightly scared.”
Asked later how much of the new season she would be in, she laughed and said she couldn’t tell us, but, “There’s going to be a few episodes. A few really good episodes.”
“We’ll Take Manhattan,” which will debut on Ovation on March 3 at 9 p.m., stars Gillan as Jean Shrimpton, who was discovered by British Vogue photographer David Bailey (played by Aneurin Barnard) in the early ’60s. The duo traveled to Manhattan for what became an iconic photo shoot involving Shrimpton, a teddy bear and various New York buildings.
Gillan is a former model herself, and says she knew of Shrimpton well before she was approached about the film, discovering her while reading up on Bailey as part of her interest in photography.
“My boyfriend at the time showed me this picture,” she recalled, “and goes, ‘This is the most beautiful woman that’s existed!’ And I thought, (sarcastic) ‘Oh, that’s great.’ So when this came along, I went, ‘Yes!'”
And the movie not only allows her to lean back on skills from her former career, but provides her with a clear break from time travel, Daleks and Oods.
“What’s really nice is it’s such a contrast to the character I play in ‘Doctor Who,’ Amy Pond. It’s completely different. This is a coming-of-age story, and it’s about a girl figuring out life, and then something completely extraordinary happens to her. It’s just so different, which is what I want. I want variety.”