Eve Myles, the leading lady of Torchwood, was seven months pregnant when the show's producers told her their plans for the new season. "And I literally almost went into labor," she says. "My water almost broke!" The premise of Torchwood: Miracle Day, now airing at 9 p.m. CT Fridays on Starz, is that provocative and the personal challenges for Myles have been that large. The popular BBC sci-fi action series has a history of coming back bigger, better and bolder every time. But Myles says this season an epic 10-episode story involving unchecked population growth because suddenly no one on this world can die is ambitious on a "mind-blowing" scale. Whats more, production moved from the U.K. to the United States, quite a change for a Welsh actress who was quite adamant she never wanted to go Hollywood. But like her character, tough yet vulnerable Gwen Cooper, Myles didn't shy away from a challenge. And she's glad she didn't. "It was a gift for us to make Miracle Day," she says, "and it's a gift now for us to show it. It's like Torchwood has been amped up a squillion percent. I can't wait for people to see every last minute of it."
How great is it to be part of a show that is loved by fans all over the world?
"It's the best. I've put so many hours of my life into Torchwood, especially this particular season. I moved my entire family over to Los Angeles to film it: my fiancé, my daughter, the dog. We all came over to do it. If you do this kind of show and then nobody watches it or you don't get good reviews or you don't get any sort of following, it's really soul destroying. But we've got the best fans in the world. And to have [creator/executive producer] Russell T Davies, who keeps bringing this project back and keeps smacking people in the face with amazing drama year after year after year, is just fantastic."
What do you think of the premise and of the consequences of living in a world without death?
"It's a very intelligent story. The initial thought you get when you get a script and it's called 'Miracle Day' and nobody dies today, nobody dies tomorrow and nobody dies the day after that, is, 'Oh, my God, everlasting life! I will have the people I love around me all the time, forever. This is a good thing.' But once you get over the kind of honeymoon period, you see that it's not a good thing. In this scenario, it's not that everybody lives happily ever after. People do not live in perfect health. People continue to age. People who get blown up in war or are injured in horrific accidents are still alive, suffering dreadfully. People who have got illnesses in hospitals, this will never end for them. Plus, this planet has not got the resources for everlasting life. So what happens is the world starts to implode on itself. These ideas bring into play various themes that are quite timely about overpopulation and about health care and thats very exciting."
Yet, at the same time, the show never gets preachy and the message never tastes like medicine.
"Right. It's not a sit-around-the-table-and-have-a-chat kind of drama. It's nonstop power, action, tension. It's funny and it's sad and it's horrific and it's terrifying and it's sexy. It's got all these elements that you could never ever put under one roof normally, but we have."
Your character, Gwen Cooper, has morphed into one tough mama. How much fun is she to play?
"She is Little Miss Dynamite. She has an I-need-to-go-that-direction-so-get-out-of-my-way attitude. She is a powerhouse. I have so many action sequences, so many fight scenes, and I'm doing all my stunts myself. So I said to myself before we started, 'Girl, get down to that gym and run your little butt off until you get into shape.' I needed to be fitter than I had ever been before. I think back to the first episode of Torchwood, to the little girl who walked in with her little sneakers and carrying her little pizza box, eyes open wide, looking around, saying, 'Wow, what's this? Oh, my God, is that a pterodactyl? What's a weevil?' To go from that to Miracle Day, where I'm shooting a bazooka, it's been a remarkable journey."
And what did you think of making the journey to America to make this show?
"Oh, my goodness. I thought L.A. was going to be awful. It's no secret that I never wanted to come to Los Angeles. I never wanted to work in Hollywood. It was always too glossy for me. I had all the preconceived ideas. It was never in my dream to be here. Maybe because I was a little bit frightened of it. But I jumped in, came here with my fiancé and my daughter, and we totally fell in love with it, to the point that we struggled with the thought of leaving. Even my dog, Honey, loves it here. She has become a complete Hollywood dog. The other day, she had a blueberry facial. Can you believe it? I never for a million years thought those words would come out of my mouth, but she had a blueberry facial and she loved it. The people were amazing, the place was beautiful and it has just been an absolutely magical journey for us."