Tom was extremely kind in agreeing to do an interview for the website, with illuminating and entertaining answers, to our mostly trivial questions.
Thank you Tom.
The website interview contained a lot of questions, in three sections. Tom was brilliant in answering them all, even transcribing the whole thing so I didnt have to! He is truly amazing.
Guilty Pleasures and Favourites
The Wire is the greatest television show ever made, but Lost remains a close second for having slipped such a complex and intelligent show under the radar and onto a mainstream American TV network.
Guilty pleasure –
Masterchef. Watching Gregg Wallace manage to fit a shoebox worth of pastry on one fork and then put it all in his mouth in one impressive go is oddly satisfying.
Too close to call. Dancer In The Dark, maybe? But there’s another seven or so jostling for that number one slot. Tough question.
Guilty Pleasure – Back to the Future.
Love Haruki Murakami, Michael Chabon, Don De Lillo, Jonathan Safran Foer, Raymond Carver, David Mitchell (Number 9 Dream/Cloud Atlas author, as opposed to one half of Peep Show.)
Guilty Pleasure –
Pretty much anything by Stephen King. Who somehow manages to simultaneously be wildly successful and hugely underrated. And at the moment Brian K Vaughan’s “Y: The Last Man” series of graphic novels.
Changes on a pretty much daily basis.
Guilty pleasure –
“Fat Kid on a Rollercoaster”
Last dose of live culture:
Blur’s reunion gig in Hyde Park
Last album bought:
Florence and the Machine – Lungs
If you had to be stranded in any one place in the world, where would it be?
I’m a little bit in love with New York.
Last meal on Death Row?
Sashimi. And Haribo.
Who in the whole of history would you most like to sit next to on a long-haul flight.
Anyone comfortable enough to a) tolerate my staring straight ahead silently and nervously during take off, b) steadily getting drunk on the complimentary miniatures, and then c) falling asleep in their lap. The softer the lap the better. So for his patience, his forgiveness and his comfortable thighs, I’ll go with Buddha.
Best hangover remedy?
Don’t drink too much the night before.
What helps you get out of bed in the morning?
Road-works outside my window.
Are you a night owl or a lark?
Night owl – very much so. I tend to do all my best work in the middle of the night. Although nobody’s around to see it.
Who was your celebrity crush growing up?
I was a big fan of Cheetara from the Thundercats. Either her or Bronwyn from Neighbours. I remember kissing her page of the Neighbours Annual 1988 so much that I went right through to Madge.
What’s the single worst purchase you’ve made in the last year?
A pair of leather slippers from a souk in Morocco. By the time they’d got home they smelt like dead people. I think they may have been made from a camel’s bladder.
Your favourite item of clothing?
I’m a bit of a sucker for wrist nonsense.
It’s not fashionable but you like…?
A nice cup of tea and a sit.
We wouldn’t know it about you but you are very good at…?
Cooking, even if I do say so myself. I like to think that if it all came crashing down tomorrow I’d try to retrain as a chef.
We may not know it but you are no good at…?
Football. At all. Which, I can tell you, makes being at an all-boys’ school a lot of fun.
The tube. Even on the days when half the lines are suspended and it’s hot as a microwave, it’s still the quickest way round London.
Your favourite work of art?
I go back and forth. I like Ron Mueck. Edward Hopper. I love David Shrigley. And I have a real passion for photography. But not sure I could ever pin it down to one.
The shop you can’t walk past?
It used to be HMV, but working in one for three years to fund drama school kind of killed the magic. Now, I’d say The Apple Store.
The best invention ever?
I am lost without my MacBook Pro. And iPhone. It’s pathetic, really. I’m Steve Jobs’ bitch.
Here is the second section of the long interview Tom did for the website, focusing on his acting.
What advice would you give someone trying to break into your profession?
Don’t look for rhyme or reason, sense or justice. It’ll drive you mad. Just be persistent, choose as wisely as your achievements can allow, and find ways to be satisfied within yourself rather than letting yourself become defined by the industry you want to be part of. Just because I can give the advice, mind, doesn’t mean I can take it!
Did your degree in English Literature help to analyse the language and the texts you work with, or did that come more with the training at LAMDA?
Both were incredibly useful – the degree as a shortcut towards breaking down text, particularly with stage work or having to cut to the heart of a character for an audition – and LAMDA for opening my eyes to routes towards approaching work I never necessarily knew existed. But a lot of the time, when the pressure’s on, it ends up boiling down to instinct. Instinct built on the basis of previous education, but instinct nonetheless.
What is the best and the worst thing about being an actor?
The best? The acting itself. The worst? Everything else.
Do you still have to audition a lot, and are you always up against the same actors?
Of course, I think it’s only when your presence has the power to get a movie made, or to make sure bums are on seats, that you stop being vetted as to whether you’re the right choice for the director. And yes, same crowd – on both sides of the pond. Always overlapping and stealing jobs from one another.All really nice guys, professionally and personally.
Do you have a wish list for a director or co-star that you would like to work with?
A few years back an ex-girlfriend bought me a wall-clock with a blackboard rim that I used to write the names of every actor and director I wanted to work with on. I still have the clock somewhere, though the (very long) list has mutated and changed over the years. Some of the people on it I hold in such admiration that I doubt I’d do my best work when on set with them though. I’d probably just stand there open-mouthed. And point. Until I’m removed by security.
Do you have a preference for stage, TV, or film work?
They’re such different worlds. I love the rehearsal process in the theatres, the thrill of those first few weeks live onstage and the chance to really refine a performance, but I don’t mind admitting that long runs can get a little dull if you’re heart’s not 100% in the character. Whereas I’ve always been obsessed with the magic of films and cinema, from a really early age, so I guess – if pushed - that’d be my preference.
Any dream projects?
Many. Something very personal I am working on right now, with far more creative control than usual might just be the definition of a dream project, but I daren’t jinx it by talking about it. Although I probably already have. Expect to never hear anything about it again!
Are you interested in directing/writing/producing yourself?
Definitely. I won’t say anymore for fear of the little jinx monkey.
What draws you to a role?
The writing. It always go back to the writer. For Wickham, Guy had created such an interesting twist on the character and a really unexpected arc that would throw new light on an old role, whilst still remaining in the realms of the possibilities Jane Austen had laid out. It was an incredible feat on his part and therefore incredibly tempting to bring to life. Every actor wants the chance to just play roles that are full of light and shade, ambiguous and interesting, but occasionally jobs are taken in order to spend time with a friend, or to be close to home - and sadly, because the bills are stacking up and in order to keep following as choosy a path as possible, you need to do something that you hope nobody will ever find/see! Personally, I tend to be drawn to the challenge, more than anything else – although that doesn’t necessarily mean I eventually secure the part…
We realise we will never see No Heroics, but can you describe your costume to us or tell us more about it?
Not sure how much I can say, to be honest, as Mickey Mouse still has it locked in the dungeon of the Disney castle, and it may go on to have a life elsewhere. But both the superhero outfit and the casual day-wear were probably the coolest costumes I’ve ever worn for any job and I miss them. Almost as much as I miss the fantastic cast.There are photos knocking about, as well as the pilot itself which may leak one day – and if I ever officially hear that the embargo’s been lifted then you guys will be the first to see them.
The Fan Section
Given the challenge with certain period costumes, is there an era you would absolutely not go near?
The house is burning, loved ones are safe, but what else do you need to rescue?
I have the continuity script from the first movie I ever did, full of notes and photographs of every single scene, and inscribed with the nicest things by all the cast and crew. It would break my heart to lose it.
Who would you be on Stars In Their Eyes and what would you sing?
I do a pretty mean Neil Young.
What are your favourite sweets/chocolates/indulgences?
I have a bit of a soft spot for jelly sweets. Don’t leave me unattended at a pick n mix.
Hendricks and tonic. Corona. Jamesons. In that order. Followed by a sensible glass of water. And a lie down.
Which poet/poem is your favourite?
Too difficult. I like the simplicity of Ezra Pound’s ‘And The Days Are Not Full Enough’ . I was pleased to see Carol Ann Duffy be appointed the poet laureate. In all honesty, I don’t read anywhere near as much poetry as I’d like, having been subjected to (and having to write) so much of it at university it now slightly reminds me of papers and deadlines, which is a shame.
I run a bit round my neighbourhood and don’t eat half as much as I want to.
Any nudity soundbites? (there is a growing collection of comments in the forum, about on-screen nudity, from favourite actors)
Here’s the exclusive… Somewhere on a cutting room floor in Paris there lies a full-frontal nude scene that never made it into A Few Days In September. A love scene between Orlando and David that was shot very artistically and tastefully over a day in Venice, but which I guess Santiago figured wasn’t necessary for the final cut. It’s never the easiest thing to get naked in front of a room full of people, because no matter how mature everyone is trying to behave, you can’t help but get the feeling that everyone’s only one more genital glance away from giggling. I figure doctors have the same problem during certain inspections… So you just block it out, get on with the job at hand – so to speak - and try not to either hate it, or enjoy it too much…
Mac or PC, IE, FF, or Safari?
Mac, Safari. A convert last year. Never going back.
Would you like to work with any of our other actors?
Of course! You have excellent taste, and they all do such great work. It’d be a privilege. I’m sure our paths will cross at some point in the future. Hope so.
What question are you never asked and most want to answer?
I am never asked if I would like a free car. The answer is yes. Yes please. I would like a free car.