He's Not an Immortal Time-Traveler, but He Plays One on TV
- August 29, 2011
*He's Not an Immortal Time-Traveler, but He Plays One on TV*
By JOHN BARROWMAN
I'M a bad flier. But the aircraft itself is fascinating to me and I have
actually read a lot about planes. But as far as being a passenger, I'm
never totally relaxed.
People who watch "Torchwood," or actually any show, associate the
characters on it with the actors. So when people see me at an airport or
on the plane with them, they don't see John Barrowman, the actor.
Instead, they expect me to have a lot of the same qualities as my
character, Capt. Jack Harkness, the immortal, time-traveling guy and
leader of a secret organization called Torchwood that saves the world
I get it. But, man, I'm not that guy.
When the show was moved to the United States with Starz this year, I was
flying back and forth from Britain a lot while I was looking for a home
in the States.
I've actually had seatmates ask me to hold their hands during rocky
flights. I oblige, but little do they know that I'm really the guy who
wants to scream for my mom to hold my hand. I do find helping someone
else calms me down. As does alcohol.
I fly Virgin Atlantic a lot and the service is always incredible. The
attendants really believe in customer service. But they believe in it so
much it was almost a problem for me.
The flight I was taking was really turbulent and an attendant could see
that I was getting nervous. She came over to me and was being really
solicitous. Passengers were looking at me kind of weird, like, "What's
wrong with this guy?" I finally asked her if she could grab a magazine
and pretend she was showing me something.
There's always that fear that some sci-fi fan is on board and will shoot
video and plaster it up on YouTube with me whimpering like a 2-year-old
girl. The producers might frown on that.
I do, however, love our fans, and don't mind signing autographs in
airports or on planes. Several years ago, I was flying from London to
Orlando. Most of the passengers were on holiday for Easter weekend.
There were tons of children on board.
The attendant came up to me and said passengers saw me come on the plane
and were talking about me. During the flight, the attendants were going
to do some games and raffles with the kids. She wondered if I would help
out and play the role of Captain Jack.
It was a lot of fun, especially when they asked me to make an
announcement as Captain Jack. I got on the speaker and said: "Ladies and
gentleman, this is Captain Jack Harkness. Welcome. Let me assure you,
there are no aliens on board." I think I heard a couple of folks
muttering, "Thank God."
The kid's drawing contest was pretty funny, since a few of them drew
Captain Jack with the Easter Bunny. Maybe that will make it on a show.
Science-fiction fans have very strong opinions about things. Actually,
everything. A lot of characters on our show have been killed. Well,
actually, everyone but me and Eve [the actress Eve Myles] has been
killed off. When Ianto Jones, my love interest, died last season, a lot
of fans were really angry.
I was flying in Britain on a small puddle-jumper and was seated next to
a fan. Everything was great and the guy seemed really polite. Then he
started talking about Ianto, and wouldn't stop. I wanted to say, "Dude,
seriously, Ianto's not real." But didn't.
I also wanted to throw myself out the window. But unlike Captain Jack,
I'm not immortal, so that wasn't an option either.
John Barrowman at Warner Brothers Studios. He plays Capt. Jack Harkness
Q. How often do you fly?
A. It depends on my schedule, sometimes four times a week, or sometimes
twice a month.
Q. What's your least favorite airport?
A. Los Angeles. The customs agents make you feel like a criminal.
Q. Of all the places you've been, what's the best?
A. Rome. The Appian Way was amazing.
Q. What's your secret airport vice?
A. I hate to admit it, but I have taken a blanket from a plane for my dogs.
By John Barrowman, as told to Joan Raymond.
*/"John Barrowman smiles, and dozens of people lose their virginity.
That's how good he is." /*