WWD — “I just realized that I timed this really badly…so at some point, room service is going to arrive during this interview.” Karen Gillan is on the phone from her hotel room in Atlanta, where she is living while she shoots the new “Avengers” movie. On the menu? “Some poached eggs, some sausages,” she says. “I’ve got some serious breakfast vibes going on.”
The Scottish actress stars in the remake of the 1995 classic “Jumanji” film, “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” out Dec. 20, which means much of her life is on the road for press at the moment. “I almost dropped everything in hands because I am the biggest fan of the original ever,” she says of when she first learned of the remake. “It’s in my top three films of all time. And I was instantly terrified and then protective over it. It is its own movie in its own right and it pays enough homage to the original, but it’s going to keep fans of the original happy, I think — it certainly did for me. And then — oh here’s the room service — one sec…”
The “Jumanji” project has garnered attention for months, and when an early still of Gillan in a rather miniscule costume emerged online it was met with backlash and accusations of sexism. “I think gender equality is very much at the forefront of our conversation right now and that makes me really happy, so it’s good that people are talking about it,” the actress says in response. “Then along comes this photo where all the men are covered and then the girl is like scantily clad, of course it’s going to…when you look at it out of context, it’s sort of ridiculous. So I’m not surprised by people’s’ reaction at all actually.” But, she promises, the short shorts are not without their purpose. “We’re actually aware of that trope and we’re sort of making fun of it,” she says. “And my character is so unhappy about it. But yeah, it’s not necessarily a negative thing that people are talking about it — it gets to reinforce it.”
In the meantime, Gillan is focusing her efforts on writing and directing, and just finished her film “The Party’s Just Beginning,” following a young woman coping with the suicide of her best friend, set in her hometown in Scotland. “I read a statistic that the suicide rate in the Highlands of Scotland is higher than anywhere else in Scotland,” Gillan explains. “It just instantly struck me as strange because I grew up there and it is so beautiful. It’s constantly voted the best place to live in the U.K. It’s idyllic and picturesque and I was just like ‘why is this weird thing happening here of all places?’ I wanted to explore that, so I did that in the film.” Acting is fun and all, but directing is where she sees her career moving. “I feel like it’s just exactly what I should be doing,” she says. “I feel totally stimulated by it.” But first, breakfast.