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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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Torchwood: interview with Mekhi Phifer

Mekhi Phifer

About his character

I wouldn't describe Rex as arrogant but I think he's certainly set in his ways. There's a certain amount of edge to him. I think he's determined and strong and focused. And I think once he has it set in his mind that he wants to do something, that's what he goes out and does. He just goes out and makes it happen, He's very much a black or white person – he's not a grey area guy.

Rex has this accident where he should be dead. That drives him to find out what the hell is going on in the world. Through his assistant's (Esther) research at the CIA, we start to break down and find all these clues. And Torchwood keeps popping up, so we find out that they're in Wales and I book my flight immediately. And I extract them from the UK and bring them to the US thinking that I'm going to bring them back to interrogate them. But it turns out that on the way back the government turns on me. I guess they want to get rid of Torchwood and get rid of me – anybody who knows anything. So that's how we wind up joining forces. And then we're on this mission together. People are trying to kill Rex. He's getting shot at, stabbed, chased, betrayed – he's all over the place.

Now that this miracle has happened, it makes Rex question life and what he's been brought up to think. So through this, he has definitely learned to be more in the grey area of thinking – a little bit more obtuse.

I think as time goes on, he fears the Miracle less. But I know in the beginning he feared that if it was gone, he'd just be dead.

When Rex first meets Captain Jack, they just flat out don't like each other. John's a great guy in person – really funny – loves life. And he's always singing and dancing around and saying crazy things, so I just love the guy. But our characters, definitely in the beginning, clash, there's no question about that. We definitely have different approaches to things. And I haven't figured him out yet.

About the cast

Eve is great, she's the motherly type. And as far as on the show, she's more of the protective aunt or something. Gwen and Rex don't have many issues, except in the beginning, there are a few issues. I take her away from her family – her new baby and husband, so she has a lot disdain for me.

Being on the set on the first day was like the first day of school. You know what I mean about being the new kid on the block? You have a well oiled machine that you're jumping on and the train is already in motion. But they were very welcoming and very supportive. They're genuinely nice people, generous. And so it makes for an easy environment to jump on board too. Then you add having really wonderful producers like Russell and Julie, who have great spirits and great energy. They're supportive as well – an open door policy. It makes for a great work environment. You look forward to coming to work.

Before I joined the show I met with Russell and Julie. I had never seen the show before. They gave me some DVDs and I loved the show. I thought it was really great where they were trying to take it. I thought that it was going to be special – so I was really excited about that.

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