Interview with John Barrowman for The Hollywood Show


John Barrowman.

You may recognize him from Doctor Who, Torchwood, Frisky Business/Animals at Work, Anything Goes, and most recently, CW’s Arrow. He is a household name and face in the Geek world. He’s become a fixture at shows, conventions, fan events and anything that is geek. This weekend, he is going to be at “The Hollywood Show” in Los Angeles.

The Hollywood Show is the largest autograph show in Los Angeles. With over 100 celebrities from your favorite TV shows and film, you have the opportunity to meet your favorite actor/actress and get an autograph from them.

John Barrowman will be one of the headliners for this event and we got to talk to him.

Nerd Reactor: Hi John. I know you’re excited to do the Hollywood Show and meet the fans. I was wondering though, is there anything that fans can do to get your attention? What’s the craziest thing a fan has done to get your attention?

John Barrowman: Oh, I don’t know. To get my attention, all they need to do is come up to me and want the autograph. You could do a lot to get my attention, but the craziest thing I’ve done was signing somebody’s breast so they could have it made into a tattoo to all sorts of tattoos. I’ve done many tattoo things. I don’t like receiving gifts from fans because it’s not that I don’t appreciate the gift they give, but I think the money would be better spent going to charity. So instead of buying me a gift, you take that money and donate it to one of my charities online. I don’t need anymore stuffed animals or candies or all that kind of stuff. So that’s one of the things. But you know what gets my attention, when people come up and say, “I donated money on your behalf to either Dogs Plus or Down Syndrome or hearing dogs for deaf people.” All of it is really good.

NR: Since the Hollywood Show have tons of celebrities, is there anyone that you’re really excited for?

John: I actually… I have to be honest, I haven’t really looked because it was last minute. I do know that Patty Duke was going to be there. So, I guess when I’m there, I will see who is there and then I’ll decide who I would like some autographs. I’m kind of a geek myself. I have all sorts of things.

NR: I know you’re a geek. What’s your most prized possession and who have you geeked over?

John: This one convention, I geeked over the entire cast of The Walking Dead. Ironically, Billy [Gierhart], the main director for The Walking Dead, directed some [episodes] of the last season of Torchwood. I know him really well.  The people of The Walking Dead know who I am, so I was totally geeking out over them. I photobombed their photo-op.

Just this morning, I was putting stuff into boxes – clear plastic boxes. I have over 120 G.I. Joes and Action Men. I posted online one of my Action Men — which has yet to be resolved — who was retreating when he was being stalked by the Bionic Man and Stone Cold Steve Austin. They have yet to bump into each other. Things like that I tend to geek over. I create my own geekdom. I wouldn’t say I have one prized possession because my collection varies from action figures with other dolls that relate to other TV characters — from Barbie to Ken, Star Wars, Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars. It varies with what I have.

NR: You have a cult following for Arrow, Doctor Who and Torchwood. Which fans are the craziest?

John: You know that’s the funny thing, I don’t see them as being crazy. I see them, moreso, being passionate about it. There are other people who have decided that they’re crazy, but I say, “Guys, you can say they’re crazy all you want, but they are paying for your salary. They are paying your money that you’re earning and living. So I think they are being overenthusiastic. I poked fun of myself for that. I never thought that I’d be a cult hero and be part of a big cult following. When I started doing Doctor Who, I did it because I was asked and I loved the show myself and it was a dream come true. I look at things very differently from a lot of other actors and actresses. It’s my job, but I also f*cking love what I do. It’s not a chore for me to go to conventions or do signings, I absolutely love them. It’s a way for me to give back and be there for the fans to say ‘thank you’. They’ve given me my most dream-come-true life that I couldn’t imagine as a kid.

NR: Well, in regards to Arrow… will we see more of Malcolm Merlyn this season?

John: All I can tell you is that we already filmed more and I go back to Vancouver next Wednesday. I was supposed to be there now, but there were some changes and that’s why I’m able to go to The Hollywood Show. But, yes, there is going to be more Malcolm Merlyn. You just have to keep watching because it’s going to be good. I can’t tell you anymore or else they’ll fly in their private jet and shoot me with an arrow.

NR: In the The Five-ish Doctors reboot, there was a joke that you had a wife and kids. Since that is not true in real life [Barrowman is happily married to his husband, Scott], can you let us in on that joke?

John: Well, I’ve always joked that because people who interviewed me and stuff, they never knew I was gay. “You’re gay?” Duh! Where have you been? They are always surprised, so the joke that they were playing were the jokes I’d say when I’m in my late 40s. I’m going to come out of the closet and be straight and freak everyone out. That I’ve been playing the whole gay thing and I’m not gay. I’m really straight with a family of kids. That was the joke we were playing on. I asked Peter Davison, why not put it in there? It’s going to be hysterical. That’s why [in the scene] I said “Don’t tell anybody. Don’t say anything.” It was an inside joke for all of us. Everybody would joke on set, “You’re not gay.” The crew would always say “All the women would flock to you.” I’d tell them, because they [the women] are not threatened. Little do they know… a lot of grown women let me touch them and give them cuddles. All the others would say, “They would never let me do that!” I’d say, “I know. I’m actually in the closet. I’m actually really straight.”

NR: Will we see you at Gallifrey One? Comic-Con, since you always have a spot?

John: I have no idea. It’s not a question of me not wanting to do it. It’s a question of scheduling. Any of the conventions I can’t go to, it’s not about me saying no, it’s about not being able to schedule it in. If it works, it will work. I always have a spot at Comic-Con. I think I’ll be doing a double thing. Comic-Con event by myself and also be there with the Arrow people. I’ll have a double whammy.

NR: So, there’s a possibility we will see you and Scott! Will you guys be doing the convention together again? And since last year was a hit, be wearing matching boxers again?

John: I don’t know if Scott will be there. What fans got to realize, Scott enjoys the fun and I coax him into it, but it’s not his line of business. It’s not his thing, but whenever he does do something, it’s really special. I try to bring him along as much as I can. It’s great that fans can be a part of it, but it’s not something we plan. It’s usually last minute. I love that he has his own following and I’m trying to get him more involved in social media to do some stuff. He’s going to start doing stuff for me. He’s going to take the photographs and do the stuff, so the fans can see his point of view moreso.

NR: One of our writers is a huge fan of Frisky Business/Animals That Talk, she wants to know what has been your more memorable animal that you’ve interacted with?

John: Wow. That was so long ago. We had many series of that. It’s been under different incarnations of it. There was one time they had me with a lion and the lion was in the background. I was like, “Dude, this is not safe because if this lion freaks out, I’m going to get clawed and shit. Even though it’s a cub, that cub’s claws can rip my face off. That’s my business. That’s my money. I am not going near that cub. NO WAY!”

NR: We were there to support you for your upcoming ABC show, Sing Your Face Off (premieres on May 31st on ABC).   

John: Thank you! I appreciate it. Please watch it and get your fans to support it! I may be able to do more ABC shows.

NR: Thank you and see you at The Hollywood Show.

The Hollywood Show Autograph Event is from April 11th – 13th at the The Westin LAX. If you’re interested in purchasing tickets, click here.

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