Kate Bulkley is covering MIPTV at Cannes for Deadline.
Beloved British series Torchwood is getting an American makeover in its upcoming fourth season, which will premiere on Starz on July 8. The season, titled Miracle Day, is being largely shot in the US on a much bigger budget. How much bigger? BBC Worldwide Prods. SVP Julie Gardner says the budgets for the new 10-part season is triple what it was when the series was shot in the UK. She is at MIPTV promoting the series with stars John Barrowman and Bill Pullman.
“There is so much more we can do with Torchwood now having made the leap to America. It’s going to be even bigger and better,” said original Torchwood star and Glaswegian-born Barrowman, aka Captain Jack Harkness. “And,” he added with a chuckle, “for me on a personal level the move to America has been fucking amazing.” The budgets are bigger, the stunts are more dangerous and the sexual chemistry is more explosive, he said, pointing to the opening scene in Season 4, which involves a helicopter. “If we were in Wales shooting, we might not have had that, or we would have had to re-write the sequence.” Overall, “the audience is going to need a forklift truck to pick their jaws off the ground. The stunt work is unbelievable. I used to do quite a lot of stunts except if it was jumping off of buildings but now I’m not allowed to because of the insurance policy. I’m much more valuable in America!”
Among the tweaks on the show, Captain Jack’s iconic RAF coat has been “re-booted” with a lighter weight material and a “slimmer cut.” According to Barrowman, the former was to account for LA’s hotter weather, while the latter was the decision of the designer, not him. Both Gardner and Barrowman said that the new series keeps the heart of the original, including what Barrowman called the “heavy moments of drama” up against humorous one-liners. He also said that the relationships between the characters go on as they always have but are even ramped up a few notches. And the notoriously bi-sexual tension? “Jack will have his little dabblings and the audience will get exactly what they want,” he said. “And I had a lot of fun doing it!” According to Barrowman, all but the 10th episode have been written by Russell T. Davies, who is in LA now working on the final script. Torchwood has been a popular cult show in its original British incarnation, but the move to the U.S. will push it to the next level, Barrowman says. “We’ve going to be bigger than cult, now it’s about world domination.”