Karen Gillan, born November 28, 1987, is a Scottish actress, director and screenwriter. She played the role of Amy Pond, companion to the Eleventh Doctor, in the BBC One science fiction series Doctor Who. In 2018, she released her first feature movie as writer and director, called The Party’s Just Beginning. Take a look below for 30 more fun and interesting facts about Karen Gillan.
1. In film, Gillan has portrayed Nebula in the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War, and its untitled sequel and has also played Ruby Roundhouse in the box-office hit Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.
2. She was born and raised in Inverness in the Scottish highlands.
3. Gillan is the only child of Marie and Raymond Gillan, a singer and recording artist.
4. When she turned 16, Gillan moved to Edinburgh and completed an HNC Acting and Performance course at Telford College.
5. When she was 18 years old, Gillan moved to London to study at the drama school, Italia Conti Academy of Theater Arts.
6. While studying at Italia Conti, Gillan was scouted by a modelling agency.
7. Gillan has stated that she would not give up her acting career to return to modelling, stating that she enjoyed modelling but acting was always her main interest and goal.
8. She has stated that she loves rummaging through vintage clothes shops and playing the piano.
9. She used the code word “Panic Moon,” which is an anagram of “Companion,” when auditioning for the role of Doctor Who’s assistant and companion.
10. She’s the cousin of Caitlin Blackwood, who plays the younger Amy Pond.
11. She was voted Best Actress by reader of Doctor Who Magazine for her part on the 2010 season of Doctor Who.
12. Karen is part of the youngest pairing of the Doctor and companion on Doctor Who. In 2009, the new Doctor, Matt Smith, is 26, and she’s just 21. Their combined age will be younger than that of Jon Pertwee, when he was playing the Time Lord in the 1970s.
13. Karen admitted that the first person she told when she got the role of Amy Pond was her mother, who the actress said was a huge fan of Doctor Who.
14. She is good friends with Katee Sackhoff.
15. The Daleks on the series had to be redesigned to match Gillan’s height, as she’s half a foot taller than Billie Piper, who was the first companion on the revival of Doctor Who.
16. Two years before she was cast as Amy Pond on Doctor Who, Karen had a guest role in the episode, Doctor Who: The First of Pompeii. She was cast as a soothsayer.
17. She became a huge fan of the situation comedy Community, after her flatmate told her about their Doctor Who parody, “Inspector Spacetime.”
18. She shaved her head completely bald to play Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy.
19. Gillan went on record that she would like to play a female Bond antagonist in a future James Bond movie and that she wants to play the female incarnation of The Joker in a future Batman movie.
20. She was cast in comedian Charlie Brooker’s television series A Touch of Cloth, portraying Kerry Newblood.
21. Gillan has stated that, though her family is Catholic, she was never baptized and is not religious, instead agreeing with the statement that, “we’re just minuscule dots in the vast cosmic emptiness of the universe.”
22. In 2011, Gillan helped promote Fashion Targets Breast Cancer and the opening of Squirrel Ward in Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.
23. During a 2012 interview on The Late Late Show, she stated that she had relocated to the United States to star in the movie Oculus.
24. Gillan has voiced advertisements for eHarmony and The Royal Bank of Scotland.
25. She has appeared in TV on the Radio’s “Happy Idiot” music video, which was released on October 3, 2014.
26. Gillan wrote and directed her first short movie, Coward, which screened at the 2015 Edinburgh Film Festival, and was nominated for several awards.
27. In 2011, Gillan made her first theater appearance playing the role of Shirley in John Osborne’s play Inadmissible Evidence along with Douglas Hodge. The play debuted at the Donmar Warehouse on October 16, 2011.
28. In November, 2013, Gillan appeared on Broadway in a play called Time to Act, which was one of the plays included in “The 24 Hour Plays on Broadway” to benefit the non-profit Urban Arts Partnership.
29. Gillan grew up playing with Barbies, and, thanks to watching so many American movies and television shows, she used to give her dolls an American accent when played with them.
30. Even though she was only two years away from graduating high school, she left at the age of 16 to pursue acting.