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Thursday 27 Nov 2014

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Torchwood: interview with Alexa Havins

Alexa Havins

I play Esther Drummond, a bright young mind in the CIA and up and coming in the ranks. A little fresh to the business, so she hasn't been part of the CIA long enough to be jaded. She's a strong optimist. I laugh because Gwen has her guns – that's her weapon. Esther's weapon is her computer.

In the first episode, Esther sees Torchwood on her computer and I think she's intrigued by it. Because, what is it? And it's there on the computer and so from there it's just a chase – she's wanting more and she just can't help herself. She's just following where the trail leads her.

Pretty soon, Esther's life is changed drastically from the moment that the audience meets her. She takes a journey throughout the entire season. It's a literal journey with the team – and then, there's an emotional journey. We see her finding herself, finding who she is. She starts out behind the desk, nothing more than a desk jockey – working on computers. She sees Rex out in the field and I think she has a really romantic view of life in the field and field work. And Torchwood quickly launches her into that path.

Torchwood as we all know changes life drastically, and Esther gets a firsthand knowledge of that. There's intrigue and her curiosity pretty much gets the best of her. We start with Esther's very safe, comfortable 9-5 job. But all of a sudden, once she steps into the world of Torchwood, she's launched into a whole different path. Quickly we find her on the run. She's trying to survive, but her instincts kick in. So it's interesting watching this person that doesn't have the experience and training as Jack or Gwen or Rex would. I love watching her as a character and playing her and reading the scripts. She's trying to get out of life and death situations and she stumbles a little because she's still a newbie

Esther has a strong faith in humanity. I think she sees the good in people and what we can be and what we should be. And this big event shakes everyone to the core. It tests people – it takes us to our breaking point. So, I think her biggest concern is just restoring her faith in humanity. She has a trust and a faith that good will prevail.

About the characters

Esther has a little bit of a crush on Rex, her boss. They have a great working relationship, a good banter and history together. And she's like his right hand woman. He's out in the field and he has this success as an agent, but he didn't get there without her help. So she slowly, over time, has developed this little crush on him. And I think it leads to something a little bit more serious, because she wants more. She's invested in him. She cares for him deeply. It's not just a childlike crush. She wants a future with him.

Working with Mekhi is a dream. We had an instant connection right out of the gate. He comes off as this tough guy, but you strip that away, he's just a real gentle soul. He's kind and he's fun to work with.

Working with John is a treat. If you get the opportunity to meet him take it, because it's life changing. He's so full of life and energy and he brings this infectious spirit to the set that I haven't quite experienced before. Between Eve and John, both of them together, they're quite the dynamo. It's a fun day at work. We have such a nice time together, and you spend so much time on set, they are your mini family. And they didn't skip a beat with welcoming us to their show.

Eve, I love Miss Eve. Eve and I have fun together. We both have daughters, so right away we have this common bond. So we're mammas and we have that. And she has that warmth and that motherly spirit. But then she's a firecracker. She is so funny. I'm blessed to be a part of Torchwood for sure.

The writing is what first enticed me. My husband watched the show, so I had previously seen some of it. When I had the opportunity to read and audition for the role of Esther, her character was already so well defined and thought out. Russell knew exactly who he wanted her to be. So it was a matter of me taking his vision and bringing Esther to life.

You know, it's interesting that we borrow from British television quite often. As we all know, they make great television, and that's what's appealing about this show. It won't be alienating the original viewers and fans. They can pick up the remote and tune in, turn on Starz, turn on BBC One and know that they're getting the same great quality project with top notch writing, the same vision from both Russell and Julie.

The writing is so detailed and smart, you have to listen and pay attention. So there's always something, whether it's the action or the dialogue.

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