sharon duncan brewster


Behind the scenes of The Waters of Mars (Part Five)

Excerpts from the podcast commentary with David Tennant, Russell T Davies, and Julie Gardner

RTD:  Now we did worry about this, we toned these monsters down
JG: Yeah we did
DT:  Oh yes, well…  It was only Maggie that got toned down 
RTD:  Yes, because I think the full version and the cataract contact lenses in their eyes, and I made an executive decision.  I thought it was too scary.  I thought they were exactly like zombies. The difference between that and a zombie was nill.  You know, there are 6 year olds watching, and I just went, “Nope”.
DT:  You did.  You made an executive decision.
RTD:  I came to set, do you remember? When you were…
DT:  …and I said, “Oh, c’mon. Let’s scare them.”
RTD:  You were at the glacier.  And came down.
DT: Yeah, yeah, yeah… and had a look at them.
RTD:  Yes, ‘cause we got Sharon, Sharon Duncan Brewster [who played Maggie] there to do it with contact lenses which looked amazing, absolutely amazing.
JG: They really did
RTD: Part of the thing is, she’s such a good actor.  You give an actor a prosthetic and a scary scene, and they go for it.  She’s absolutely wonderful, so it was terrifying - off the scale!
DT: But it’s only Sharon who doesn’t wear the contact lenses, so do you think it makes enough of a difference?
RTD: Yes, because you don’t spend as much time with the others.  This is a monster who chases after you.  She’s behind that glass.  To be honest, I would have taken out them all
DT:  But we’d already shot stuff…
RTD: We’d already shot this, and it’s fine.  You know, now it’s all put together…
DT: But weren’t you a bit annoyed.  There were a couple of us, me included, who were kind of saying, “Oh, come on!”
RTD: You were.  You were in the car park, and Sharon especially wanted the full rig.
DT: Yeah.
RTD: Bless her, quite right too.  They were standing there, soaking wet, still with all their tubes
DT: But were you annoyed that you had to be the grown ups?
JG: No, not really.  Also, it was quite complicated because…
RTD:  You know what?  I felt righteous!
DT: Did you?
RTD: [Big laugh]  I did.  I just stood there and thought, “I’m right.”
DT:  That may well be the case, but we all made you feel like you were being stuffy grown ups, didn’t we?  
RTD: [still laughing - hard to understand - I think he says “I did - I felt like I was the headmaster”]
DT: Of course it is your job to be the stuffy grown up at the end of the day
JG: I thought it was more interesting.  It was a bit of a jigsaw puzzle, because for ages, I thought it was the blackness in the mouth that was the problem
RTD: We couldn’t work out what was so terrifying
JG: We couldn’t work out whether that was too weird, because how freaky to think that your inside has disappeared or has blackened
DT: Right, right
JG: So I was focused on that, and actually it was only when we did the test and saw them without the contact lenses that you thought actually that’s the problem.
RTD: Yeah, cause you wanted to get rid of the blackness, and I thought, “Oh no!”  I think that’s why they’re distinctive. I think it’s scary.
DT: They are properly scary.
JG:  They are.
DT:  …and you’re right, the actors all used it for all it was worth.
RTD/JG: They love it.

RTD: Later on when they’re all in the corridor with their arms raised and water is pouring down, that’s why they’ve all got their eyes closed - because some of them would have contact lenses and some wouldn’t.
DT: Ooooh!  I thought that was just because they were facing up to this enormous torrent of water
RTD: Well, there is that [much laughter]

(Any transcription errors are mine)
…with super-special thanks to everyone who shares their set photos

Other Waters of Mars behind-the-scenes posts:
[ one ] [ two ] [ three ] [ four ] [ six ] [ seven ] [ eight ]
Full list of behind-the-scenes posts:  [ here ]

“At the center of the story is Jyn Erso (played by Felicity Jones), an outlaw who becomes a key agent for the struggling alliance of Rebels. Here, we see her and pilot Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) in a familiar Star Wars scene — a gathering around a briefing room to discuss the plan of attack. But she is surrounded by new faces: Senator Jebel (Jonathan Aris, of Sherlock) in red and grey; Senator Vaspar (Fares Fares, of Tyrant and Zero Dark Thirty) in blue; and Senator Pamlo (Sharon Duncan-Brewster, EastEnders and Bad Girls) in gold. In the foreground with her back to the camera is the leader of these leaders: Mon Mothma, played by Genevieve O'Reilly (Glitch) who is reprising the role from the prequels.” [x]