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Highlights from Karen Gillan's FanX spotlight panel

Published April 20, 2014 10:03 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Like young Amy Pond, everyone was left waiting.

Karen Gillan's spotlight panel at FanX on Saturday started about 20 minutes behind schedule while droves of fans filled up an overflow room — after packing the enormous ballroom reserved for the panel.

But once Gillan hit the stage to raucous cheers and applause, she (like the Doctor) proved worth the wait.

Here are some highlights from her time in the Salt Lake City spotlight:

• The Scot compared her three seasons on "Doctor Who" to a three-year drama school. The show tracked character Amy Pond's life from childhood to motherhood, and gave Gillan every possible emotion to work through — including several chances to react to a death, since her on-screen fiance-turned-husband Rory "kept dying!" she exclaimed, to laughter.

And to answer a fan's question, yes, she would totally fall in love with Rory if he was real. Any man who waits 2,000 years for you is someone you can fall in love with, Gillan said.

• When asked which monsters on "Doctor Who" scared her the most, Gillan teasingly replied there were two — "The first one — I can't remember," and the Weeping Angels.

She had already seen a Salt Lake City cosplayer dressed as a convincing Weeping Angel, she said, and she couldn't stop staring.

• Gillan was often on the receiving end of pranks pulled by her "Doctor Who" co-stars, Matt Smith and Arthur Darvill. Smith in particular would hide in her trailer and jump out to scare her. He once popped out holding a massive shoe horn, causing Gillan to burst out crying and laughing at the same time. They also delighted in finding her most unattractive photos and posting them on her door, she said.

• Her favorite "Doctor Who" episode is "The Eleventh Hour," which introduced Amy Pond as the Doctor's companion. Years after the Doctor first meets a young Amy (played by Gillan's cousin), he returns — to an indignant older Amy who has built up a tough shell from being considered crazy. Exploring the vulnerability under that exterior was one of the best aspects in the role, she said.

• After rejoining the show for Smith's recent final episode, she came across a teary Jenna Coleman, who plays the Doctor's current companion, Clara Oswald. Gillan's response? An immediate offer to make tea.

• With her time in the TARDIS behind her, Gillan is excited to dive deeper into genre roles, which so often involve life and death stakes, an aspect that she loves. You can find her right now as the lead in the horror movie "Oculus" (sporting an American accent) and she returns this August as an alien pirate in Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy."

A fan jokingly asked her if she's trying to position herself as a nerd goddess. She denied trying to become "queen of the nerds."

• Gillan's dream role is Lady MacBeth in Shakespeare's famous Scottish play, though she's doesn't think she's old enough yet for the part.

• One fan asked Gillan to give a shout-out to a friend who had fallen ill and couldn't attend. Gillan did one better and recorded a greeting to the girl, including a panoramic view of a packed ballroom cheering for her to get well.

• Gillan has a good life tip for everyone: Do not fight Zoe Saldana. She has at least one fight scene with Saldana's character in "Guardians of the Galaxy," and Gillan said that the combat moves that took Saldana two days to learn took her two months.

Michael McFall

@mikeypanda