You can expect Chris Pratt–induced laughing fits when Guardians of the Galaxy hits theaters on Aug. 1, but you should also brace yourself for Karen Gillan—she’s seriously about to blow your mind as the bald, blue-skinned villain Nebula in Marvel’s action-packed superhero flick. Cosmic costumes aside, you may already recognize the actress from her past role on Doctor Who. And get ready to see a lot more of her this fall as she stars in Selfie, the new ABC comedy about a self-obsessed social media queen who hires a marketing expert to rebrand her real-life image. Here are seven things we learned about the British 26-year-old when she stopped by our offices to discuss her intergalactic adventures.
1. She was totally into shaving her head for Guardians of the Galaxy—but she wouldn’t go bald again for fun. “Acting is about transforming into characters, and this just did half the job for me,” she said. “It was a really cool experience, but I wouldn’t suggest doing it as a recreational activity.”
2. She feels weirdly at home on a spaceship, which she discovered while filming Guardians. “I’ve never done a film of this scale before. It was kind of the same as the Doctor Who set, but more detailed—and like 20 times bigger,” she revealed. Still, she successfully maneuvered the alien atmosphere. “I was quite comfortable!”
3. For Guardians, she spent five hours in the makeup chair every day to get her character’s blue skin. The transformation required applying “some prosthetics and a lot of paint,” she said. At the end of the day, “I would have three girls trying to get the glue off my face. We eventually got that part down to 45 minutes!”
4. She had to take American accent lessons to play the “self-obsessed, horrible” character of Eliza Dooley on Selfie. The show “definitely captures the generation of social networking,” she said. “Eliza realizes that she doesn’t really have any friends—no one actually likes her, even though she gets a lot of ‘likes.’ So she hires a marketing guy to re-brand her and make her a more likable person.”
5. Unlike her social media-obsessed character on Selfie, she doesn’t have a Facebook. “I was spending so long clicking through pictures of people that I don’t know,” she explained. Eventually, her social media habits reached a breaking point. “I was like, this has to stop!”Jennifer Lawrence, Fake Bill Murray, and Grumpy Cat. “I don’t tweet that often, but I like to look at other people’s tweets,” she said. “I follow random people—I don’t know why!”
7. To chill out, she turns to her new addiction: spinning. “It’s not the most relaxing thing in the world, but I’ve been sucked in,” she said. “And now I feel so amazing after I do it. That’s how I relax—post-Soul Cycle!”
—With reporting by Sharon Clott