Back in May, Marion Cotillard was asked, point blank, about her character in The Dark Knight Rises. Was her good-girl businesswoman just a facade, an alias for Talia Al Ghul? She absolutely insisted not and maintained that her character would remain on the side of the angels until the end credits rolled.
Pfft. Most of us know now how that lie turned out.
And I think it’s important to bear that in mind as we take on board Jenna-Louise Coleman‘s comments on her role – or rather roles in Doctor Who.
Published today is a new issue of The Radio Times with Coleman and Matt Smith on the cover in full Who attire, and there’s a whole spread on the show’s Christmas special inside.
Recognising one comment from Coleman to be key, the magazine pulled it out and splashed it on a big picture of her. Here’s the full version of that bombshell, from the body of the article:
The connection is that it’s me playing both. I’m not Oswin: I’m a different person who looks and sounds like Oswin.
She’s referring to the mysterious connection between Clara, the new companion to the Doctor, a Victorian governess that we will meet in the special, and Oswin, the girl who became a Dalek in the series’ first episode, a few months back.
Now, we can still read this literally, and it still be 100% true, and Clara and Oswin still be the same character. Why? Because they’re interviewing Jenna-Louise Coleman, actress, not Clara, fictional character. And Coleman certainly isn’t Oswin, but she definitely does look and sound like her.
Or we can read it as a lie.
Or we can read it as a huge spoiler that lets all of the mystery distort into nothing more than confusing casting, distortion and wishful thinking.
But if we look outside of The Radio Times, might we find Coleman admitting that there’s a strange tie between the two characters?
Here are some excerpts from the current Entertainment Weekly in which she addresses the twin roles:
It’s interesting actually — I think I can tell you this — that that was never the initial plan either, to have me be Oswin. That was part of a genius plan that Steven came up with half way through the audition process. That was already written but not written for what was to be the new companion.
I was auditioning for the companion and then I got all these sides and I was like, “Who’s Oswin? They clearly don’t know what they want, they obviously don’t know what they’re looking for. They just want people to show them different things and see.” This is what I assumed when I was auditioning, not realizing that it’s basically Steven’s mad genius again.
And Oswin, she says, isn’t going to be addressed at all in the Christmas special:
We’re going to have what has been referred to as a “soft mystery.” For me, filming, I’ve been totally oblivious to Oswin and the Asylum of the Daleks. I really have had to erase it from my memory. Yeah, Christmas is it’s own episode… because of the way it started with Oswin, it’s really difficult to say much: where she’s from, what period she’s from, what planet she’s from, even.
“Soft mystery” is good, as is the implication that they don’t address it in this one episode, as opposed to any episode at all. I think we still have a mystery.
Coleman goes over some of the same ground in this video from the BBC Doctor Who multimedia advent calendar. The difference here is that you can listen to her brilliant mixed up accents.
So… are we feeling any the wiser?