Unlike his character in “Lucifer,” Tom Ellis instead leads us away from temptation. DA MAN once again chats with everybody’s favorite Prince of Darkness.
Playing as the devil in hit television series “Lucifer,” Tom Ellis has successfully bewitched the world with his wickedly charismatic persona. But when he’s not in character, the Cardiff-born actor is well-aware about what is going on in the world and actually does something to help worthy causes. On this second appearance in DA MAN, Ellis talked about surviving the pandemic, the upcoming season of “Lucifer” and more.
DA MAN: Hi Tom, awesome to have you with us again. How are you these days?
Tom Ellis: I’m good, thank you, considering the current state of the world. Trying to remain positive. It’s great to be back working with DA MAN again.
DA: Are you in self-quarantine with your family?
TE: I’ve been holed up in L.A. with my wife since shooting on season five of “Lucifer” was suspended. Sadly, lockdown has meant I haven’t been able to see my children—who live in the U.K.—for several months. That has been the hardest part of all this for me. But at least we are all healthy. I’m grateful for that.
DA: How are you holding up and keeping positive during these hard times?
TE: Well, for the first couple of weeks, I welcomed the break because shooting on “Lucifer” season five had been particularly intense. But then after indulging my couch and takeout dining a bit too much, I decided to try and work out every day so at least I had some sense of daily achievement. It didn’t fix anything, but it certainly helped my mental state.
DA: What has the pandemic taught you so far?
TE: It’s taught me both positive and negative things about people. The selfless care of frontline workers in the face of such adversity has been inspiring and the fact that people have taken time to acknowledge those people has also been hugely uplifting. The other feeling it has left me with is how important true leadership is. Some countries have dealt with the pandemic responsibly, but in the United States, where I live, it has been handled terribly. Whilst medical staff put themselves in the line of fire on a daily basis, Trump’s agenda to put the economy over the health and safety of his citizens has directly impeded that. He is more interested in winning a reelection than caring for the people of his country. The knock-on effect of that is that some people have stopped doing what they need to do to help slow the spread of the virus because they’ve been led to think it’s not as serious as it truly is.
DA: As restrictions are easing up, how do you see the so-called “new normal” of everyday life?
TE: It’s going to take a lot of social responsibility for people to adapt. Even something as basic as wearing a mask in public seems to be a challenge for some. It’s vital for people to understand that unless we all push in the same direction, the virus will inevitably be with us for longer. It’s not going to magically disappear no matter how much we all want it to.
DA: Other than the about the pandemic, you’re very vocal on social media about current events such as the BLM movement and Pride. Where does this passion come from?
TE: There are certain things that I can’t stay quiet about and it’s normally when there has been an injustice, or someone is being unfairly treated. I grew up in the church and whilst there are many things about organized religion I don’t agree with, the basic message of peace, tolerance, understanding and forgiveness are at the core of me. I fully understand I am in a place of privilege, but I will always fight for the underdog. The Black Lives Matter movement is vital in America and the rest of the world. Often, actors and celebrities are criticized for voicing political views but if people think BLM is about politics then they really need to pull their heads out of their backsides.
DA: What do you think people from all over the world can learn from what’s happening in the U.S. right now?
TE: No matter how much progress you think you’ve made you can never get complacent. If you look back 10 years, I don’t think anyone would have foreseen Nazis and white supremacists marching through the streets of America while the U.S. president publicly defended them, like in Charleston … but here we are. It shows how quickly things can go downhill if we let the wrong people in office and how quickly the general public can become numb to it. Education is paramount, as it seems people have a willingness to be ignorant if they are allowed to be. If you live in a democratic country, then your vote is the most important voice you have. So, whatever you do, don’t waste it.
DA: Moving on, congratulations on the upcoming season five of “Lucifer”! You mentioned earlier about filming being suspended. How much of the show was done before lockdown started?
TE: Thank you! We were agonizingly close to wrapping but lockdown beat us. So, we still have 60 percent of our season five finale to shoot.
“There are certain things that I can’t stay quiet about and it’s normally when there has been an injustice, or someone is being unfairly treated”
DA: What do you think working on set will look like when you begin filming again?
TE: It’s going to be challenging to say the least. We’ve had to find a way to stay safe whilst remaining productive. Film sets are usually a hive of activity with people constantly making adjustments and last-minute tweaks in small, confined spaces. Now, with the restrictions, everyone has to take their turn to do their job, so it’s going to have a big knock on effect to how much we can physically shoot in a day.
DA: You were working on the third season of “Lucifer” the last time we talked back in 2017. Character wise, what has changed in those three years?
TE: I think the biggest thing is that Lucifer has continued his maturing process. His choice at the end of season four to go back to hell to save mankind was a hugely selfless act and suggests he may have started to understand the importance of thinking of others before himself. Or at least thinking of the detective before himself!
DA: What can fans of the show expect from the fifth season?
TE: Well, for a long time we thought we were making the final season of “Lucifer,” so we decided to adopt the mentality of “go big or go home.” Subsequently, most of the episodes are closer to an hour than usual and they are packed with fantastic stories and performances. We welcomed the legend that is Dennis Haysbert into the cast to play God and some of the scenes I got to do with him are amongst my favorite moments since the show started. I think people will love him. I know I do!
DA: We read that there will be a musical episode on the fifth season titled “Bloody Celestial Karaoke Jam.” What can you tell us about that? Any memorable moments you can share with us from filming that episode?
TE: It was by far and away the most fun I have had doing anything on a set ever! Singing and dancing makes me very happy, so when we filmed on a high school football field with 100 background dancers to the music of Queen, let’s just say I felt like I’d won a competition to live out my dream.
DA: The show has lasted for quite a long time with fans from all over the world. What do you think is the key to the success of the show?
TE: I think it appeals to such a varied audience because there truly is something for everyone. There’s humor, romance, mystery and action which are all key ingredients. But what really makes our “Lucifer” cake rise is that we all genuinely enjoy being part of the show and coming to work to tell the stories of these characters. That doesn’t always happen in this industry but when it does, it somehow translates onto the screen and becomes tangible for the viewer. It’s like a shared excitement.
DA: It was just announced that the fifth season of “Lucifer” will air on August 21 and that you have signed on for the sixth and last season. How do you feel about the fact that the series is coming to an end?
TE: Well, just to be clear, I had signed on for six seasons of “Lucifer” when I first started the job, so it was confusing to read that I somehow had a choice in the matter. I’m obviously sad that the show is coming to an end as it’s been such a huge part of my life for half a decade. That said, we were told that season five was the final season and I lived that reality for almost the entirety of shooting it. So, it’s fair to say that I’ve had time to get my head around finishing. In the cutthroat world of TV, it’s a privilege to know that you get to write the end of your story properly, so I find a sense of peace in that. We’ve just had that privilege twice!
DA: What will you miss the most about playing Lucifer Morningstar?
TE: Lucifer has been such a gift of a role. I don’t think I’ll ever get the opportunity to have so much variety within one character again. One day I’ll be doing something completely ridiculous and farcical and the next there will be a scene filled with honesty and tenderness. One day I’ll be shooting a complex fight scene and the next I’ll be singing at the piano. It’s kept me on my toes and constantly challenged me as a performer which, in the sixth season of a show, is a huge testament to our writers.
DA: What would you do if you weren’t an actor right now?
TE: Play golf every day in the hope that I may be the oldest person to ever join the PGA tour and represent Europe in the Ryder cup.
“Education is paramount, as it seems people have a willingness to be ignorant if they are allowed to be”
DA: What do you love most about fatherhood?
TE: That’s a tough question. When I don’t see my kids there’s a gaping hole in me that can’t be filled by anything else. So, I guess the answer to that question is, every moment that I get to hold my children is the thing I love most about fatherhood.
DA: This might sound a bit clichéd, but what are your hopes for the future?
TE: In terms of work, I always want to do something completely different from my previous role. I trained in theatre and will always want to go back to my roots because that’s what I fell in love with in the first place. Film is also a huge passion of mine and I would love to continue with my film work. I have ambitions to work with directors who I admire like Danny Boyle, Jordan Peele, Kenneth Branagh, Ava DuVernay and Sam Mendes and many more! Also, my family are huge fans of classic rom-coms like “When Harry met Sally” and “Notting Hill” and I would love to enter that world at some point too.
In terms of life, I hope for so many things, but they all center around humans doing better. Climate change, social injustice and a way out of COVID-19 are at the top of my list right now. If anyone is a parent and not thinking about those issues on a day to day basis then that concerns me. I hope for leaders who can lead with empathy and compassion and I hope that people view those qualities as strengths and not weaknesses. I hope for a better world for my children as they grow up because I honestly believe the majority of people in the world are good and kind. They just need the right encouragement and the right people to set the example.
PHOTOGRAPHY Mitchell Nguyen McCormack
STYLING Kimberly Goodnight at mediaplaygroundpr.com
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