Part 2 of the incredible interview, which Tom kindly did for the website, during my recent amazing visit to the set of Da Vinci's Demons season 3.
Tom reveals a little more about filming Doctor Who, and working with Peter Capaldi - his episode 'Robot of Sherwood' will be broadcast on BBC 1 on 6th September. We also find out about Tom's very first acting roles, hear some of his spooky ghost stories, and learn more about his inherited party trick.
Those fans who didn't see their questions answered in the first part of the interview, should see them answered below.
Did you notice differences when you were filming Kill Your Friends and Doctor Who, after filming Da Vinci’s Demons for so long?
I kind of like the lack of pressure. You know, on Doctor Who, it is very much Peter’s [Capaldi] new thing, and it’s got to be right. Admittedly, I am in that episode a lot! It’s a big part, but I was really aware that it was Peter’s show, and the pressure was on him. He was brilliant with it. He was fantastic.
Steven Moffat said some really lovely things to the press about your performance in Doctor Who.
Aww, how lovely! Phew! I can’t pretend I am not nervous - a lot of people watch that show. And it’s fun. It’s a really fun script. It’s a romp. I hope it’s received really well.
And Kill Your Friends?
On Kill Your Friends, the pressure was on Nick [Hoult], and I like playing supporting parts. I like stepping into other people’s worlds, and feeling the pressure is off. And also, sometimes the supporting parts can be the most interesting.
As a lead, you do slightly sacrifice…there are a lot of supporting characters in all shows…on Mad Men, people go “I love Roger! He’s hilarious. He’s fantastic”, and he is. Of course you love him, but you may not want to follow him as a lead character for the entire thing. But he is a fantastic satellite character. By the nature of supporting characters, they are interesting, and they are on the screen…and they work primarily because they dip in and out - you get little bits of their life, and you wonder more about them. You have to follow a lead.
So, I kind of like the chance to step back into a more character role, just pop in, and be more ambiguous. Not show everything - you’ve seen the entire life of Leo. There is very little mystery to him, because we threw a lot at the audience about him, very early on.
This year, we’re redefining him as he goes along. That was always the plan, and I’m glad we’ve kept to it.
Will there be changes in tone and themes in season 3, with the new show runner?
Yes, there is a new show runner, but he has David’s [Goyer] vision. David is still around, watching all the rushes, giving notes on scripts, writing to all of us, emailing…making sure we know he is still there. It isn’t like someone has quit and someone else has replaced them. David loves the show, and will probably be at Comic Con with us in New York, along with John. I think it was just simply that he had taken on Constantine, he’d taken on other things, he had set the show off, and was happy to take a step back, and let someone else do the day to day running of the show. It’s been great. A perfect handover. David interviewed John Shiban, and wanted him.
John is around more than David could be, which is lovely - he is here all the time.
What will Da Vinci’s actions be after seeing his mother (in the season 2 finale)?
[laughs] I can’t tell you that!
Da Vinci’s Demons season 3 sounds like it is going to be amazing!
I hope so. I really do. Da Vinci’s Demons flies under the radar, but the people who love it are wildly passionate about it. we’re hoping this new season will change that. So people will catch onto the show in the third season, which happens for a lot of shows. And I think this one deserves to be seen.
I love people saying “You know what? It’s actually really good!”, “What an underrated show!”, “You know what? It’s a hidden gem!”. But I’d like more people to go "It’s a gem!!" [laughs]
Some fans were disappointed to go to Florence, only to find you were filming Da Vinci’s Demons in Wales!
Yeah! A similar thing happened to us, when we got the job. We’re going to film in Florence! No, you’re not. You’re filming in Wales…[laughs]
Why does Blake Ritson not use twitter?
Blake lurks in the background. Just reads it all. [laughs]
Would you like to return to Broadway?
Yes! As soon as possible.
Is there any real chance of you doing that?
It is so hard. I was supposed to do a play this year, but the end of the play overlapped with the initial prep for Da Vinci’s Demons season 3.
Any interest in comedy roles in future?
Doctor Who is quite funny!
Were you approached to play Leonardo da Vinci in the upcoming Assassin's Creed movie?
I don’t think Leonardo is going to be in that movie. I think Ezio is going to be Michael Fassbender.
Do you like acting in films or television, or do you prefer acting in plays?
They are all the same. I’ve said this before, but it’s the actor’s thing to say that theatre is the magic. Theatre is the magic, until you are in a run for 15 weeks, and find yourself wishing you could do something different every day. Then when you are doing that, you think “I wouldn’t mind being on stage in…”. I like the different disciplines, and I like keeping myself sharp in all of them. I feel like I haven’t done a play in too long. I miss it. For someone who tried to do one play a year at least, it will almost be 4 years since I was last on stage.
Magik, with Benedict Cumberbatch. That was listed as post production on IMDb last year. Did it ever get made?
No! I don’t know what happened to that.
Is there anything else you’ve done, which I have missed on the website?
I don’t think so. You found the short documentary “A Brief History of Confession”.
Yes, your voice sounded amazing in that!
Ha! I was knackered that morning. It’s always good, when you wake up with a bit of a sore throat. You think “this will sound good” [laughs].
I also did a really lovely reading for Sweet Talk Productions recently, but don’t know when it will come out. I did Henry’s Demons for them too. The reading was very humbling - I read the diaries of Lieutenant Mark Evison, who died in Afghanistan in 2009. His mother had also written her own parts, which were intercut with his diary entries. I think it is going to be aired on Radio 4, but am not sure when. It was a very humbling day in the radio booth. Really powerful stuff - the guy was concerned about the faulty equipment, lack of equipment, and was writing all this down, as he didn’t feel right about it. Of course it lead to his death, which was just awful.
Have you produced anything else?
No, I haven’t. Although there is a short film which a friend of mine has written - an amazing writer, Richard Galazka. He’s absolutely fantastic, and we are trying to get the short off the ground, with a couple of my friends in it. It's called The Toll Road. He’s written the script, and I was going to direct and produce it. But we just haven’t found the window of time. You have to ask for so many favours, and suddenly it’s a scramble to get it done, and you’re not available. It would be nice to do that.
What was your very first acting role?
The Winslow Boy, in the Hazlitt Theatre, Maidstone. It was an amateur dramatics production, and I was about 12. I did gang shows with the Scouts, playing Dames when I was younger… I did a thing called The Dracula Spectacular, a musical, at school. I wrote a lot of plays and pantomimes at school as well.
Did you keep them?
My mum’s probably got them in the loft somewhere. I should find them, really.
Can you explain your party trick?
Which one? Jumping on a work top? I’ve got a good spring - I can leap on to a work top from standing. I got it from my dad, who still does it at 60. It’s quite extraordinary. It’s more of his party trick, as he was 55 and doing it.
You have long been known as an Apple fan, so how many iDevices do you own now?
Too many! I’ve got quite a few…the iWatch is probably going to end up on my wrist, even though I really don’t need it or want it.
Glasses. Do you need to wear them all the time?
No. Reading predominantly, and when I am knackered. Though I recently found out I had been given the wrong prescription by the optician. I was getting very strained, and was feeling very dizzy all the time with them. My eyesight was very blurry, especially when I was tired. I went to the optician again, and they told me the original prescription was completely wrong. I am actually nearsighted in one eye and farsighted in the other. My glasses had been made for both eyes being the similar, when one eye is very different to the other.
Is there anything you are very bad at?
There are loads of things I am very bad at… Football! I am not great at maths. Although the tests at school told me otherwise, that numbers were my future, and I should be a bank manager. When I put my mind to it, I can do it; but when someone starts talking accountancy to me, I realise I haven’t been listening for 20 minutes, and have just been hearing white noise. [laughs]
Have you ever seen a ghost?
Yes. No-one’s ever asked me this. It was when I was working at Project Blue, which is a restaurant in Maidstone. I was a waiter there, when I was at school. They had a kitchen out the back, on a lowered floor. I was left to lock up one night - I was 16 or 17 at the time. I went out the back, and as I went through, there were two sections to the kitchen. I went through the first bit, and as I went through, there was someone there, in the kitchen. I was assuming it was the chef packing his stuff away, so I just sort of kept going, then thought ‘No!”. I looked back, and there was a little girl, who was half buried in the ground, up to her knees.
Did you ever find out who she was?
No, she was in old fashioned dress. Now, I am not sure that wasn’t a dream that I had when I was 16, that I have remembered so much, it could be real. Also, in the loft of that place, they had a flat. One time we went up, and all the furniture in the flat had been piled up on top of each other. That was a bit spooky.
Generally I would say I don’t believe in ghosts, but those two experiences I had when 16 or 17, are still unexplained. Unless I was just dreaming, and someone was just playing a practical joke with the furniture, which was highly possible.
Are you a good driver?
Yes, but I don’t do it enough. I tend to only drive in America. Weirdly, the first time I ever drove on my own was on the right side of the road, after my driving test here [in the UK]. I’d been driving for 2 years, because you just don’t need to in London. Then I got out there, and the first time I got in a car, it was on the right hand side of the road, in an automatic car I had never driven before. I do like it, but that is because it is mainly tied up in my head with driving around LA, with the top down, thinking “driving is so romantic”. [laughs] I am sure if I was number to bumper in London every night, I’d go mad.
Do you have a favourite make of car?
Audi. I like the A5.
Are you allergic to anything?
What book are you reading?
I’m reading The Goldfinch (by Donna Tartt), at the moment