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“She’ll be like, 'This dead relative is here in the room right now.’ Really casually, not scared at all.” But Gillan’s not spooked by her mother. “You can go to a lot of events if you choose to, I just never go,” she says. “Americans seem to go about it in a different way where they date loads of people at the same time. “I prefer the UK way, where we just drink near each other and no one knows if it’s a date or not.” That said, there are certain aspects of LA life that she has warmed to – the healthy stuff, mostly. “I was an only child, so I didn’t really learn how to interact with other people,” she says.It’s not the paparazzi that put her off – “That barely happens here, compared to the UK.” She’s just not interested, not when there are scripts to read and television to catch up on. ’ ” Ask Gillan if she’s gone native, and you get a long “nooooo”. She only knows a handful of Angelenos – most of her friends are other expats; she’s even found a pal from Inverness. It’s probably a healthier way of finding someone, because you don’t put all your eggs in one basket. “I had a couple of friends in school, but that’s it.” She discovered in drama class that her shyness would evaporate on stage, so she decided that she would be an actress, and set about her goal with characteristic focus. There were a couple of years of staying up late, and drinking, but that was all out of her system by the time she was offered the chance to take an acting course in Edinburgh. We’re all fine without breathing training.” She decided to leave when she won a part on a Scottish detective show called Rebus – a small, eight-day shoot.
Gillan’s mother, for instance, is something of a mystic. Even when the sun’s down, apparently, she’d sooner stay in. Remarkable though it seems now, given how effervescent Gillan is in person (even with a cold), she was very shy and withdrawn as a younger girl.
She’s in every brilliant film that comes out and she mixes it up with really big blockbustery-type films too.” She climbs out of her armchair, and fake shakes my hand, because she doesn’t want to spread her germs.
“But at the same time, I don’t want to really emulate anyone.” 'Oculus’ is on general release from June 13 'Selfie' airs on ABC from September 30 The Big Short, the film adaptation of Michael Lewis' book of the same name about the causes of the financial crisis, opens in UK cinemas this weekend.
So Gillan set up a camera in her bedroom and called her father, John, a care home manager. Move to LA, give it a go.” It sounds like a big step, but ever since Gillan was a girl, she’s been making intrepid moves in the service of her ambition.
At 16, she left Inverness for Edinburgh, determined to be an actress.