It’s not every day we’d choose to sit down with the devil, but Lucifer actor Tom Ellis is our kind of man. He knows the power of a good under-eye mask, spends his time experimenting in the kitchen and loves cheat day (not to mention a late night snack) almost as much as we do. Does that sound like an honorary Potatohead or what? We met up with the actor recently to discuss everything from getting in character to his ideal food day. Read through below to learn more about this swoon-worthy star; he’s our new, hot potato…
From start to finish what would be your ideal food day?
My ideal food day would start with poached eggs, bacon and baked beans, which is very British of me. Then I’d probably go for some pancakes and maple syrup, if I was feeling dirty, or cinnamon French toast with whipped cream. Lunch would be a hot salt beef sandwich with pickles and mustard on rye. They make a great one at the Selfridges Deli, and it’s the only reason I’ll go there because I hate shopping and crowds. Then for dinner, it would be the orecchiette from Osteria Mozza in Los Angeles. It’s my favorite dish anywhere.
Are you health-oriented? What are your diet and workout routines like?
Unfortunately, I love beer, candy, and bread – preferably late at night. But having to fit into my rather slender suits on Lucifer forces me to abstain from my natural eating habits, so I do try to stay in some sort of basic shape by cutting beer and working out with my trainer. These days, I do more high-intensity workouts rather than lifting heavy weights as my body is starting to creak a bit, and I’ve also started to do more yoga. I’m much better when I’m filming, but during hiatus, I let myself eat and drink what I want. Even when I’m working, though, I will usually let myself have a couple of cheat days on the weekend. If I’m working towards a photoshoot or a scene that requires the dreaded ‘shirt off,’ I cut out carbs and alcohol completely and force myself to drink 4 liters of water a day.
Any personal grooming essentials you can’t live without?
I’m a huge Dermalogica fan and use a lot of their products on my face. I had pretty bad acne as a teenager and in my early 20’s, but Dermalogica cleared everything up, so I’ve stuck with it religiously since. I also love an under-eye patch on early shooting mornings, as I get very puffy. There’s a product my makeup designer discovered last season called “Angel Eyes,” which is pretty ironic. They’re amazing.
What’s been your biggest surprise in playing ‘Lucifer’ thus far?
I’ve been surprised by how eclectic our fan base is! From high school kids right through to pensioners, it seems that our show has made an impression across several generations. There aren’t many shows that families can enjoy together, but for some reason, Lucifer seems to have fallen into that category. Long may it continue!
How do you prepare for a long day on set? How do you unwind after a scene?
When I’m in the work bubble, I’m basically just either on set all day or at home doing homework, so I’m in a constant state of preparation! The only way I can relax is if I know I’m on top of work stuff, so preparing is my way of easing my mind. Once I feel confident with work prep, I love a good sports game. I’ll pretty much watch anything, but I’m a longtime football fan (of the English variety, of course.) Music is also a big part of my downtime and work preparation. I’d much rather listen to music than watch television. I create a lot of playlists for each character; it helps me set the tone, and more importantly, helps with my energy.
Words to both eat and act by?
Chew slowly. Remember to breathe.
Who’s someone you haven’t worked with, that you’d still like to work with and why?
Tom Hanks has always been a hero of mine. I think he is the complete actor, and I would love to have the opportunity to work with him. His humanity and humor shine through in everything he does, and I’ve loved pretty much every movie he’s ever made. He also has a childlike quality that I can completely identify with; you feel like he really gets a sense of joy out of life.
How do you get into character? What have you learned from playing ‘Lucifer’?
Again, building a music playlist is important every time I am figuring out a new role. I like giving a soundtrack to each character, whether it’s something they would listen to, or whether it’s simply something I think would be appropriate for a scene. It’s something I can immediately refer to when I need to tap back into something internal. As for what I have learned, Lucifer has instilled in me a work ethic I never knew was possible. Doing twenty-two episodes a season you realize how little sleep you can function on.
What is the issue you feel most passionately about right now and why?
As a father, I am always particularly shaken by the treatment of children around the world. There are a lot of great causes to get behind, but I always feel particularly drawn to helping out kids. We have a responsibility to help children that we don’t have towards anyone else. I’d also love to see Donald Trump out of office; his policies towards and treatment of women, the environment, and minorities are appalling.
What’s the biggest culture shock between working in the U.S. and the U.K.?
The commerce side of the job is the biggest difference; not everything, but a lot of things tend to be more financially motivated in the U.S.
What are your favorite cities for food? What restaurants do you go to in each?
In Vancouver, I love Bao Bei; I’ve spent the last three years in Vancouver for Lucifer and for a show before that called Rush, and I discovered a lot of great food there. Bao Bei was my favorite; it’s a really cool little Chinese Brasserie with great cocktails. In Los Angeles, I love Osteria Mozza as well as Republique. The brunch at Tasting Kitchen is also a favorite. In London, I love a low-key place called Banners. It’s in Crouch End, and it is very much a neighborhood spot where everyone knows each other. Recently I had a very romantic dinner with my fiancé at a place called Timberyard in Edinburgh. It’s a tasting menu with an accompanying wine list; it was all incredible, and the hangover was completely worth it.
If you could host a dinner party with any five people living or dead, who would be there?
I’m sure it’s a cliche answer, but I would be desperate to dine with Barack and Michelle Obama. They’re an inspiring couple on every level. I’d also invite Roald Dahl; not just because his books were a big influence growing up, but because his real life story is equally amazing. Meryl Streep, so we could all discuss how overrated she is. And lastly Stephen Fry. I’d make my signature dish, which is a mean Chilli Con Carne. I’d buy dessert because I can’t bake.
In the same vein as ‘what is the new black’ what’s ‘the new potato’ right now?
Spaghetti Squash is the new potato right now; we have it as a pasta substitute almost every night when we’re trying to avoid carbs. Spaghetti Squash with pesto, with bolognese; my personal favorite is Spaghetti Squash with red onion, crispy bacon bits, capers, garlic, and pesto. It’s magic. You can add a fried egg on top if you’re feeling particularly pervy.
*Tom Ellis shot by Danielle Kosann at The Dutch in New York, New York.