Karen Gillan: 'I really, really want to direct'


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Media captionKaren Gillan makes directorial debut in The Party’s Just Beginning

Actress Karen Gillan has spoken of her behind-the-camera ambitions following the premiere of her first feature film as writer and director.

The Inverness-born star also played the lead role in The Party’s Just Beginning, which debuted at the Glasgow Film Festival at the weekend.

She told BBC Scotland that her career was split between acting and directing.

“I’m trying to jump between the two but I know that I really, really want to direct,” she said.

Ms Gillan, 30, found fame as Amy Pond, the companion of the 11th Doctor Who, Matt Smith.

Since then she has starred in Hollywood blockbusters like Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Guardians of the Galaxy.

However her latest project saw her return to her hometown to explore the issue of suicide in the Highlands.

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Karen Gillian starred alongside Matt Smith in Doctor Who

The Party’s Just Beginning is a dark but sometimes funny story about a young woman whose life goes wrong after the death of her best friend.

Ms Gillan said she was inspired to write the screenplay after discovering that suicide among young men in the Highlands was far higher than in other parts of the country.

She told BBC Scotland’s arts correspondent Pauline McLean: “I was really interested to find out why that was the case and also why in this part of the world because I grew up in Inverness.

“It’s just the most idyllic, beautiful, picturesque place to grow up yet there’s this strange, interesting contradiction so this film is me exploring that.”

She added: “For me, I wanted to take the postcard image and look beyond that so we still have the picturesque quality but we’re telling a much darker tale.

“We do have a tendency to show Scotland in a very particular light – and it’s a great light, it’s beautiful, and traditional and touristy, almost.

“But films like Trainspotting, and hopefully my film, show a different side to the country because we have many stories to tell from this country, in many different ways.”

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Karen Gillan filmed The Party’s Just Beginning at locations including Inverness, Glasgow and Bo’ness

The Party’s Just Beginning was filmed around Scotland last year, including in Inverness.

Ms Gillan said she loved the job, in which she worked with “brilliant people”, but she found it difficult juggling the roles of actor and director.

“It was definitely tough in terms of the multi-tasking that was involved because I was playing the lead role as well so I was running about like a headless chicken,” she said.

“But I was so stimulated mentally that I just loved the whole experience and I want to do it more and more.

“But maybe I wouldn’t act in it again because that was the tough part, being the lead actress and also the director.”

And she revealed her plans for the future.

“I’m currently in this weird spot in my life where I’m on two different trajectories almost – there’s the directing and also the acting,” she said.

“So I’m trying to kind of jump between the two but I know that I really, really want to direct.

“And I have a million ideas about directing – hopefully one of those is going to be the next thing I do.”


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