Well’p, it’s time to get to the meat of ReGen4 – Saturday! And things were hopping. As I figured on Friday, the place was a whole lot busier, but even with the sharp increase in attendees (as is usual for weekend convention days) the place moved along nicely. I heard “Whovians are the nicest!” several times during ReGen4, and Saturday proved it. Crowded? Sure. But there was a friendliness, and camaraderie that made getting around easy. People worked together, got out of each other’s way, and happily showed others open seats next to them that were free. It was a lovely atmosphere.
But on to the good stuff, amirite? Well, I attended three panels Saturday, and then headed home to crash out after all the awesome. First up? “Zoology of Doctor Who”, a look at the animal kingdom through the lens of the creatures of Doctor Who. Or is that the creatures through our own animal kingdom? Hmm. Be that as it may, there was talk about invertebrates, especially the octopus and cuttlefish, and their ability to change colors. Then there’s the reptile world, and a very cool “cousin” to the Silurians that I really want to get to know more about. And then there was deep sea fish, corvids (ravens, crows, and such)…well, let’s just say I’ll never look at a deep sea angler fish in quite the same way again. The panel room was packed, and I rejoiced in seeing so many of my fellow science nerds in attendance. But what do you expect during a Doctor Whoconvention? Of course science nerds will be around! Huzzah!
Next? Why none other than the 12th Doctor of course! Peter Capaldi! Did you know he’s a bigtime David Bowie fan? I didn’t. But as I’m a Bowie fan too, I’m happy to hear it. Capaldi spoke of watching the original series when he was growing up, and how that wasn’t the hip thing to do back then. “It wasn’t cool… Didn’t make you the most sought after companion at school.” And how as he’s a musician in real life – in fact, that’s how he got his first acting gig – he told Who showrunner Steven Moffat that the 12th Doctor play guitar “like a teenager…really badly.” Moffat thought that was a brilliant idea. Unfortunately for us, Capaldi’s idea of the Doctor meeting Hendrix (“Here’s a wah wah pedal!”) never made it on screen.
Capaldi also said that “it’s assumed that you’ll bring a lot [of yourself] to bear [for the Doctor]” and he wanted his doctor to be “more alien” than we’d seen in a while, and “not a human being” in terms of how he interacts. The costuming was him trying on outfit after outfit. He said it’s an insane process of trying on every costume, which sound like a treat, “but if you spend 8 hours a day taking your pants on and off… ” He didn’t bring anything of his own to the set, except “the hole-y jumper? That’s mine!” He’d saw it in a store window and ” …that’s the doctor’s jumper!”
Capaldi demurred on how he got his start; first he said he got his break because “I drank too much” at a pub, where Bill Forsyth noticed him. Capaldi also said he’d “hung around creative people… I got really really lucky.” What’s next for Capaldi? “I’ve become addicted to idleness…. Doing nothing is so great!” He then apologized to the “young people” in the audience for that answer.
Next up was the Doctor’s nemesis, The Master…or Missy. Er, Michelle Gomez. All I can say is that after falling in love with her amazing comedy chops in Green Wing, she’s just as fun and hilarious in person. She started by talking briefly about her current project, Netflix’s Sabrina. I’m a huge fan of Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Robert Hack’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comic book, so I can’t wait to see the show. I nearly bounced in my seat when Gomez said she’d be playing Madame Satan, Sabrina‘s Big Bad. Gomez said that there’d be a bit of Missy in Madame, as they’re both “mischievious”. She said think of your feelings towards Madame as mixed. You’ll “kinda want her to be your best friend…but you kinda know it’s not a good idea.”
Questions were asked about Gomez’s role as Kate in Taming of the Shrew for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Seems the Company had seen her, and decided to offer her the part. Gomez said she wasn’t up on Shakespeare, so “I asked my agent ‘is Kate a good part?’” And since she didn’t know the play, she learned the final speech and prepared to perform it for the Company when they first met. They said she already had the part, but she delivered it anyway. Then she asked them, “Right. Do you want me to [play Kate] NOW?” They said yes. But my favorite tidbit about her career was her stand-up. She said she’s only done it once, but it was right after she’d had her son, and “9 months in and your brain is just melting.” So she had her husband watch the baby, and as they were in Los Angeles, wandered around until she found herself on Sunset Boulevard. She walked into a comedy club, and “…by accident I ended up doing stand up because I was pissed off.” Her set? “Mainly about a Scottish Mexican coming across the border pregnant.” I THINK MICHELLE GOMEZ IS MY NEW TELEVISION BFF.
So yeah, if you were at ReGen this weekend, congratulations! You were at a great con. If you missed it? Don’t miss next year’s. Trust me. You’ll thank me later. I prefer payment in chocolate oatmeal stout.