Cardiff born and raised, with a father, sister and an uncle serving as ordained Baptist ministers, everyone’s having a proper chuckle that Tom Ellis’ finally getting his share of the Hollywood limelight for playing the fallen one himself, Lucifer Morningstar.
“I suppose he’s kind of a caddish figure. He read like something out of a high-style theatre play by Oscar Wilde or Noel Coward, infused with a bit of rock n’ roll and Mick Jagger,” said Ellis once. English folk however, shall always connect him to another painfully flawed character, in hit comedy Miranda. Written-by and starring sensational Brit funny-woman Miranda Hart, Ellis plays her love interest who’s mortally fearful of commitment.
“To be in a show like Miranda that captures everyone’s imagination is amazing, but it’s hard when people can’t see beyond that. I started traveling to North America because Miranda was so popular in the UK. A lot of actors will tell you it’s a lot more fun to play people who are morally ambiguous than it is to play the good guy,” he opined previously. And certainly the gods of Tinseltown have been generous. Back in 2014, Ellis got the opportunity to play a coke-sniffing LA doctor in Rush, whose around the clock house-calls to revive overdosed celebs and patch up bleeding girlfriends made him a compelling anti-hero.
August Man Malaysia takes five with the good natured Englishman, as he answers a couple of questions for us.
Your star is getting bigger every day, first with Miranda and Rush, now Lucifer. How has it been, dealing with the attention?
It’s bizarre but lovely is the honest answer. I’m glad I’m having the opportunity to be involved in these things. I’ve always loved acting and feel like I’m glad I had the years before these shows to really learn my craft. From the work side of things it’s something I relish. Outside of work I don’t get too carried away with the attention. I have three daughters who are incredibly grounding so they’ll make sure I’ll never get too big for my boots!
Lauren German’s character obviously plays up the fact guys always want the one they can’t have. Why do you think men are attracted to the unattainable?
I think it would be fairer to say most people are attracted to the unattainable… people aspire, dream and generally want what they can’t have the world over. There’s always something more powerful about the idea of having more.
What was it about acting that captured your imagination as a school boy?
I didn’t really do acting until I was 17. Up until then I was, and still am obsessed with sport. My English teacher asked me if I wanted to join the theatre studies class as she needed boys. There were 12 girls and one boy and so I leapt at the chance! Over the next few weeks I started to get the “acting” bug. I loved performing but I also loved the company that I had just joined. For the right reasons. In the self-aware teenage years I met a group of people who were expressive and fun and more importantly like-minded. Acting made me happy and gave me a real confidence. For the first time I’d found something I wanted to pursue and I thought I may have a shot at it.
With neither being inherently good or bad. Do you think people are like that in general? How would you describe yourself?
I think the majority of people are good but they still continually wrestle with their conscience. For most people what’s good and bad is quite obvious. How you choose to behave is what’s important to me. I try to be kind to everyone which can sometimes backfire but my conscience feels better if I at least know I’ve tried to be kind! I’m not sure Lucifer has quite the same perspective.
Read the full story in the June 2016 issue of August Man Malaysia!
Photographs by Karl Simone; Creative Director Melvin Chan; Styled by Bruno Lima; Words by Zech Pharamond