Exclusive Interview: Steven Moffat On The First U.S. Sherlocked Convention
Fans of Sherlock in the U.K. have had a chance to mingle with the stars and creators of Sherlock in U.K. conventions called Sherlocked. For the first time, Sherlocked comes to the U.S. May 26-28 at the LAX Marriott.
Guests already announced for Sherlocked U.S. include Andrew Scott, Mark Gatiss, Amanda Abbington, Una Stubbs, Louis Moffat, Timothy Carlton, Allistair Petrie, Wanda Ventham and Sherlock creator Steven Moffat himself. Moffat spoke with me by phone from London, where he’s hard at work on his final season of Doctor Who. For tickets to Sherlocked, visit www.sherlockedusa.com.
WLE: There were Doctor Who conventions long before you were involved. Is Sherlocked something you could get involved with from the ground up?
Steven Moffat: I suppose so. It’s not like I run them. I’m just a guest but given Sherlock is our show, we’re in at the start of that as opposed to just joining in a process that’s been going on for years as is the case with Doctor Who. The guys got in touch and said they thought it would work and would we help out? Would we be guests or help them get guests? It’s been great fun for us really because we get to see all our friends. Normally we don’t get to see each other except when we’re making the show, which as you know is hardly ever. It’s that really. We’re on the receiving end in a way. We’re not exactly planning it. That’s the other fellows.
WLE: Is Sherlocked going to be very different than a Doctor Who convention?
Steven Moffat: I don’t know where the convention sort of thing got started in a way, what they’re all modeled after? It’s the same sort of thing. We have some of the stars of the show. We have panels. We have interviews. There’s props and displays. I’ve been up to my eyes in Doctor Who so I don’t fully know exactly what we’re doing this time, but I think it follows the broad principles of a Doctor Who convention which is the only other kind of convention I’ve ever been to.
WLE: So you’ll be on panels, but will you sit in an autograph booth too?
Steven Moffat: I believe so. We’ll be doing interviews and there will be those moments where yes, you sit and sign lots of things for hours on end.
WLE: Will the panels and presentations be focused on past seasons that the fans have already seen, or will there be some preview of new stuff?
Steven Moffat: That’s all there is. That’s all we’ve got to talk about. We don’t have another series at the moment. These things are often at their best when they’re driven by the people who come to the convention. They ask their questions and the conversation becomes their conversation in a way. It will be largely about the stuff we’ve done to date. As I say, that’s all there is.
WLE: Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are very busy. Did they record any video messages to play for the fans at Sherlocked?
Steven Moffat: I don’t know. There’s still time. I don’t actually know.
Steven Moffat: Well, every fan is different from every other fan. There isn’t just one sort of bunch of people. I think it would be fair to say, given my own experience, that there’s quite a lot of overlap. Some of them are actually the same people but there’s no one kind of person that’s a fan. There’s a tendency to group them all together, but really it’s anybody and anybody who likes Sherlock. I suppose the thing that I would say is that there’s a very, very big female following for Sherlock. While that’s true of Doctor Who as well, at Sherlock conventions to date, it’s always been that there’s more women than men. That might be true, which isn’t true of our audience. It does seem to be true of the convention, but maybe this will prove me wrong.
WLE: Are the conventions in the U.S. very different than the ones in the U.K.?
Steven Moffat: The best thing about it, and I think what the convention goers enjoy the most is that sense of community. It’s not necessarily seeing all the stars of the show, though I’m sure that’s fun. It’s meeting all the friends and making new friends and falling in love with new people and all that. There’s always a few love affairs coming out of those conventions. I think it’s rather sweet.
Steven Moffat: I’ve been asked an awful lot of questions about both shows so it’s quite hard for me to hear a new one. It’s quite hard, but I can put that out as a challenge. Ask me a new question. I’d quite like a new question, because you do hear some of the ones you hear quite a lot. Usually: When are you coming back?
WLE: Are you ever impressed by some of the things people notice about previous shows?
Steven Moffat: Oh, they think of elaborate theories that we know nothing about. So we’re quite amused by that and they go further than that. They don’t just have theories about the show. They make their own versions of it. They do beautiful artwork. They make up their own stories. They make little films on YouTube and some of them are brilliant. There’s a huge creative engagement from the fans. They are not simply idle consumers. They are people who go out and do things and make things and express themselves. I think that’s incredibly exciting.
Steven Moffat: I always try to. I always try to do that because I really enjoy it. I really enjoy going around and chatting to people. I sometimes wish we could have a rule about autographs and selfies just so you can move around a bit more easily. I only regret it if I don’t get a chance to walk around and see what everyone’s doing and chat to people. Those are the things I enjoy the most.
WLE: But will you still stop for selfies and sign autographs if people ask?
Steven Moffat: Yes, but suddenly a queue starts forming and you just want to chat with people. I sort of think my handwriting’s rubbish, my face is ugly, why do you want a photograph or an autograph? Why don’t we just talk? That would be much more fun. I really do enjoy talking to people and hearing what they think about things. That’s my favorite part. I have a horror of being photographed so that’s not my favorite part. I don’t really like people pointing cameras at me.
Steven Moffat: Yeah, it actually is. By then I will have finished writing my very last Doctor Who script and it will be about to go into production. I’ll probably have some rewrites to do on it. Yes, it will be a little holiday.
WLE: Does your final script have to introduce the new Doctor?
Steven Moffat: My final script has to write out a Doctor. The moment the Doctor changes into a new Doctor, the new writer takes over. When that happens, you’ll have to wait and see.
WLE: Do you know what you’re going to do after Doctor Who?
Steven Moffat: Have a rest. I don’t actually know. I’ve got an awful lot of offers for things I could do but I’m going to take my time. I’ve been working on two shows that I’m extremely passionate about for a number of years so whatever I do, I want it to be something I’m as excited about and as passionate about as Doctor Who or Sherlock. At this point, I don’t know what that’s going to be. I’ve been in production for about a year solidly. I haven’t had a chance to think about any other stuff. Once I’ve stood down and had a rest I’ll think about the next project.
WLE: Will you stay with Sherlock as often as you may do new series?
Steven Moffat: We’re very happy to continue with it. That comes down to Benedict and Martin in the end, if they want to keep doing it. It happens quite rarely, Sherlock, so we just wait and see if Benedict and Martin want to do any more but Mark and I haven’t even had a conversation yet about what we should be doing for it. We’ve both been extremely busy. It’s not that we’ve been lazy. It’s just that at some point Mark and I have to sit down and talk about what the next series of Sherlock would be if there was one, and then pitch it to the boys. But we just haven’t gotten to that yet.
WLE: Did you get to do everything you wanted to do on Doctor Who during your tenure?
Steven Moffat: I’m sure there’ll be something I’ve forgotten to do but I got to do most things. There’s a not left that I missed out, but I never really thought of it that way. It’s enough to make Doctor Who. That’s what I wanted to do and I got to do that for many years. That was very exciting.