Feature Article

Karen Gillan Talks Jumanji, Infinity War, Her Favorite Horror Movies, And Doctor Who

From Amy Pond to Nebula and beyond.

Anyone who was watching Doctor Who around seven years ago could have guessed that Karen Gillan was going to be big. Her role as Amy Pond was just the beginning, and she's since starred in movies like Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and 2, and of course, the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War.

Gillan spoke with GameSpot to celebrate Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle's upcoming home releases (March 6 digitally and March 20 on DVD and 4K Blu-ray).

GameSpot: Are there any deleted scenes or other special features you're excited for people to see in Jumanji?

Karen Gillan: You know, I don't have a clue. I'm really hoping that there are deleted scenes. I can't remember exactly what didn't make the cut, but there was a lot of hilarity going on during filming that I think you'll probably find on the DVD, particularly all the bloopers.

Who was the funniest person on set?

Oo, good question! I think DJ is the secret funny one--Dwayne Johnson. His style of comedy I really like. It's sort of slightly more British. It's a bit dryer and understated, and that just appeals to the British in me. However, the other guys are so funny too. I mean, Kevin Hart is a stand-up comedian through and through, you know, he sort of never switches off in that respect. He's just a natural stand-up. And then Jack, I mean--just watching him play a 16-year-old girl might take the biscuit in terms of how funny anyone is ever.

I was surprised how funny Nick Jonas was when I interviewed him, I thought it was so dry and then I went back and watched it again and realized he wasn't being serious at all.

Oh, Nick! He's funny too! How could I forget? He's maybe a little more understated with his humor as well. He's another one with the dry, more deadpan delivery that I really like.

The lead roles in Jumanji were unique for everyone, but I feel like it was especially incongruous for you to have to act like this awkward person--was that hard for you?

Um, no. It was actually more natural to me than other roles I've played, just because I think I probably was that at 16 and maybe somewhere inside of me I think there is an awkward 16-year-old girl. So it was fairly easy easy for me to access that, and I noticed that actually I've maybe just been suppressing it in my other roles, and finally I was getting to embrace it. And so I had a lot of fun with that. I was like 'Oh, I'm really tapping into something authentic here!'

I think we probably never stop feeling like our awkward teenage selves deep down.

I think probably everyone feels like that in some regard.

Are there any other '90s reboots you'd want to star in?

I think probably remaking Scream--to play the killer in Scream! I just have this idea that it would be so funny to have like, a really Scottish girl on the end of the phone. Like, 'What's your favorite scary movie?'

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Are you a big horror movie fan?

I am, I do like a '90s process-of-elimination teenage slasher movie.

What are your favorites?

Ooo, OK, Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, [and] The Exorcist.


Oh yes. I met the girl from The Exorcist recently. I've never been more starstruck.

What about contemporary horror movies? Anything recent?

I really enjoyed Get Out. I thought that was pretty good, an original take on the horror genre, sort of brings some social commentary into it as well.

Whenever you have something like Jumanji that was so important to people in their childhoods, expectations are all over the place. Why do you think this reboot worked so well?

I honestly think that there's no algorithm to creating a successful film or reboot. Actually all it boils down to is making something good. I think everybody's trying to pull all these tricks, when really all that matters is like, good movie or not. And this is just a good, funny movie, and it can be watched by the whole family, so therefore it's not just for a particular demographic. You can watch it with your parents, and your nephew, so it's a really broad demographic, and something that everyone can enjoy together. And we don't have that many of those out there, actually--entertainment that brings the entire family together. I think it's rare.

I've been a fan of yours since the Doctor Who days. Do you have any favorite moments from all of your time on the show?

I mean, I have so many, I don't even know where to start. I think it has to be--this is a bit of a boring answer, but it's working with the two guys I was working with, Matt Smith and Arthur Darvill. We became like family--I mean genuinely, they were like my brothers. And I don't have any brothers, so I now know what it feels like to have really annoying brothers.

We just had such a good time together and experienced this crazy show together, which took us all from obscurity and catapulted us to this different life. I don't know, it was just like this mental time in our lives, and it was great...I still keep in contact with them and we still have fun nights out together and stuff like that. We tend to reminisce on our time on Doctor Who more than anything.

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What's been the most rewarding part of being involved in Infinity War and the Marvel movies in general?

Probably playing this particular character [Nebula]. I love my character so much. I am so invested in her whole backstory, her whole relationship with her sister, the relationship with her father [Thanos] that we're definitely going to explore in the movies that are coming out soon, and so I think it all boils down to that. I just feel so lucky that I got this character who, you know, was initially a villain, and then we started to learn more about her, and then our view as the audience, I think, changed toward her. And she's just such a well written character that I feel like lots of people are getting invested in her along with me. And so I'm just so excited for everyone to see where she ends up.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is out on digital today, March 6, and on 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray/DVD March 20.

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Michael Rougeau

Mike Rougeau is GameSpot's Managing Editor of Entertainment, with over 10 years of pop culture journalism experience. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two dogs.

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