If you mistake Matt Eleven for Matt Smith from Doctor Who, you wouldn’t be the first. It was Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor that got Matt Eleven into cosplaying in the first place, and for good reason. The resemblances are uncanny. When you see a photo of him with Smith, prepare to be amazed. The costume and character have become something of a trademark for the cosplayer, but don’t think he’s a one-trick pony.
Matt Eleven is an extremely talented cosplayer, with many different characters and costumes under his belt. The makeup work in some of his transformations is especially striking. He’s a generous artist, who thrives off the energies of and working with fellow friends in the cosplay community. His work with other artists is very fun to see. You can find him on Facebook and Twitter.
We’re so impressed by Matt Eleven as an artist and a cosplayer so we’re very excited he was willing to share so much with us here at Entertainment Earth.
1. What does cosplay mean to you?
Cosplay is one of my hobbies that I enjoy. Some people enjoy watching football, going dancing, playing computer games, etc. I think it’s no different from anything. It’s just not as common, so some people might find it strange.
A lot of the closest friends I have now I’ve met through going to conventions and cosplaying. Being part of that scene has also given me the chance to learn new skills and branch out into photography.
2. Why do you cosplay? What inspires you?
Other cosplayers inspire me. Some people create the most amazing costumes to bring some fantastic characters to life. I also draw inspiration from film, TV, computer games and photography. Anything creative that I enjoy or appreciate, really.
3. How long have you been cosplaying and how did you get into it? What was your first costume and why did you choose it?
My first cosplay was in October 2011. I had just discovered conventions and had planned to attend London MCM Expo (one of the largest conventions in the UK). I chose to do Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor from Doctor Who because I was really enjoying the show and the unique characteristics that this regeneration of the Doctor had brought to it. I thought the costume looked relatively easy to put together and had been told a number of times that I looked a lot like the actor, so it seemed like a safe choice.
4. Tell us some of the characters you cosplay.
Aside from many different variations of the 11th Doctor, I’ve also done Will Graham from Hannibal, The Joker, Simon Petrikov from Adventure Time, The Crooked Man from The Wolf Among Us, Jean Kirstein from Attack on Titan, Howard Moon from The Mighty Boosh, Severus Snape, maybe a couple more that I can’t remember right now.
I try to cosplay as part of a group if I can, because I always find them much more enjoyable. A lot of the times I have cosplayed the 11th Doctor have been on my own, which doesn’t give you as much opportunity to play off the other characters.
5. Which costume are you most proud of and which is the most enjoyable to wear?
One of the most enjoyable characters I’ve played was The Joker, because I was part of a group of 30 or more. Everyone had made amazing costumes, the girls based their costumes on the DC Bombshells artwork and the guys had to match the style. Being the Joker also gave me an excuse to dance around pulling ridiculous faces and not having to take anything seriously, which was a lot of fun!
The costume I’m most proud of is probably be the Attack on Titan costume. We were a group of 7 and we wanted to make sure that the costumes matched. Some pieces were bought but we also spent just over a month making 7 identical sets of 3D Maneuver Gear using cardboard and foam. This included a lot of late nights and was a lot more work than we’d expected! Once it all came together and we were all at the convention in our costumes together it felt fantastic.
6. Do you make your own costumes or does someone make them for you? How do you put everything together?
A bit of everything really! A lot of the characters I’ve cosplayed are from TV shows where costume designers have gone out and bought items from shops for characters to wear, so to be as accurate as possible you have to find those items either in the shops or in places like eBay. An example would be the 11th Doctor’s G-Star Jeans from Series 6 & 7, I think I found a pair on eBay for around £25 in my size (they normally sell for £100+ brand new).
Sometimes the items might be too expensive to buy so I’ve bought cheaper alternatives and then modified them to look more accurate. Other times the only way to get pieces completely accurate has been to make them from scratch.
7. How do you dedicate time to costuming alongside everything else in your life?
For me, the most difficult part is trying to find time to make costumes, juggling ‘normal life’ things and other hobbies can make it difficult to find time and that normally results in rushing to finish a costume in the nights before a convention! I’m encouraged and inspired by seeing friends’ progress, and when we’re all working towards a group together we can push each other to finish everything on time.
8. Share a favorite in-costume and convention moment.
Having my picture taken with 4 former Doctors (David Tennant, Paul McGann, Sylvestor McCoy, and Peter Davison) is one of the most amazing moments I’ve had in costume. I was extremely nervous and it went by in such a blur. Thankfully this doesn’t show too much in the photo!
9. What are you working on now and who are you planning for the future?
There are so many cosplays I’d like to do! I’ve been considering Thranduil and Professor Layton for a long time, and BBC’s Sherlock. I’m currently customizing a shirt for a new 11th Doctor cosplay that I haven’t had the chance to do before. I’m also thinking about a Grunkle Stan cosplay from Gravity Falls, I’ve recently started watching the show and I think it would be hilarious to try to cosplay that character.
10. If time and money were no issue, what dream costume would you love to make?
I’d probably want to try and make a massive armour costume, maybe one of the Warlock tier sets from the original World of Warcraft for nostalgia reasons. Either that or the armour that Flycatcher wears in the Fables comic series.
11. Do you have any tips or tricks for improving your skills?
If you want to have good photos to look back at I’d really recommend practicing some poses and facial expressions that the character might do in the mirror in advance, so that you’re not making it up on the spot (as I was in my first couple of conventions)!
12. What else do you think we should know about cosplay?
I think cosplay can be a bit tricky sometimes: if you let it, it will quickly take over your life and you might find yourself spending a ridiculous amount of time and money on a costume that you might not be able to afford. As with most things in life careful planning can really help you in the long term. If you’re extremely lucky cosplay can lead to other things.
For me, being hired to be a 11th Doctor/Matt Smith lookalike only happened because I decided to cosplay as that character at a convention. Cosplay seems to be constantly growing in popularity and is getting more and more attention within the media, it’ll be interesting to see how long it lasts or what it might become.