Marvel star Karen Gillan is not scared of being cancelled

By Debbie Jackson and David Farrell, BBC Scotland News

Marvel star Karen Gillan is not scared of being cancelled

It’s one of the worst things that can happen to a celebrity working and living a life in the public eye.

But Karen Gillan hadn’t really considered being a victim of cancel culture.

The Scots actress has managed to successfully navigate the perils of fame despite her A-list roles in Hollywood blockbusters including Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy franchise.

But now the 36-year-old from Inverness has been forced to face the modern phenomenon.

Karen’s new ITV drama Douglas Is Cancelled tells the story of news man, Douglas Bellowes, and his fall from grace after an inappropriate joke he made at a family wedding goes viral.

Hugh Bonneville stars as the shamed breakfast TV anchor opposite his sofa co-host Madeline, played by Karen.

She says it is dark humour that will take the viewers on a rollercoaster.

grey placeholderGetty Actress Karen Gillan Getty

Actress Karen Gillan hadn’t worried about cancel culture until her latest role

“It starts off as this comedy workplace farcical TV show and then it takes a little bit of a turn and becomes much more of a drama that is tackling some serious subject matters.

“A big one is the abuse of power in the workplace. My character is someone who at the beginning seems really hard to read. People might describe her as manipulative or calculated.

“But then come episode three and four, you get to see see everything the character has been through just to survive the workplace. As it is for a lot of women in a lot of work environments.”

grey placeholderITV The cast of Douglas is Cancelled sit in a TV newsroomITV

Douglas is Cancelled takes place on a breakfast news programme

Being “cancelled” is is a modern concept evolved from social media interactions.

It has become a way to call on others to reject a person or business.

This can happen when the target breaks social norms – for example, making sexist comments – but it has also happened when people have expressed opinions on politics, business and even pop culture.

Karen – with 7.9m Instagram followers, and 1.3m on X – has never worried about it.

“To be honest, it’s not one of my big fears.

“I am not going on social media thinking, ‘God am I going to get cancelled?’.

“But I think that when we were making this, it definitely came into the forefront of my mind.”

And she revealed it’s her loved ones who worry more.

She says, “One of my friends pulled me aside one day and said sometimes I just worry about the amount of social media followers you have.

“I said ‘What? Why’. She was like it’s just a lot of people watching what you are doing.

“That made me think should I be worried? But other than that I have not thought about it too much.”

She added: “I have always tried to be authentic on social media and I am going to continue on that path but I think it’s good to be be mindful of what you are saying.”

grey placeholderGetty Karen Gillan taking a selfie with a fanGetty

Karen Gillan is followed by millions on social media

Douglas is Cancelled takes place on a television breakfast news programme.

Karen said little research was required, but a couple of well-known faces may have provided some inspiration for Madeline.

“Luckily I’ve been on so many of those TV shows, that I feel my research had already been done,” she said.

“I didn’t base her on anyone but I did watch the Prince Andrew Newsnight interview to see how she [Emily Maitlis] delivered those types of questions.

“And one of my favourites is Susanna Reid on Good Morning Britain. I watch that every morning to try to cure my homesickness, and so maybe there is a little of her in there. “

grey placeholderAlex Kingston as River Song, Matt Smith as The Doctor and Karen Gillan as Amy Pond in Dr Who

Alex Kingston as River Song, Matt Smith as The Doctor and Karen Gillan as Amy Pond in Dr Who

Karen shot to fame as Doctor Who companion Amy Pond in 2010, and has since become a major Hollywood player – appearing as Nebula in the Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy franchise and as Ruby Roundhouse in the reworked Jumanji films.

Douglas Is Cancelled turned into a bit of a Doctor Who reunion.

“Writer Steven Moffat was showrunner while I was on Doctor Who. Alex Kingston played my daughter – time travel – and Hugh Bonneville was a pirate king in one of the episodes,” she said.

Karen is now based in LA with her comedian husband Nick Kocher – but returning to her family in Inverness is important to reset and escape the prying eyes of the world’s media.

“Coming home feels like a step away from everything, it feels like reset and it’s a way to reconnect with everything that its so far removed from all this stuff I am usually doing,” she told BBC Scotland News.

“All my mates are still in Inverness so that’s a huge part of coming home.

There’s a part of me that just wants to get a little cottage up in the Highlands and just do that for the rest of my life.

“But I married an American so I think that’s ruined my plan.”

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