Tom Bateman Witnessed A Murder On The Orient Express

Photographed by Danielle Kosann

It’s not every day we find ourselves sitting down to chat with one of Hollywood’s most talked about new actors. Tom Bateman, breakout star of Murder on the Orient Express, is a tried and true Potatohead. Bateman is guilty of the same so-called Golden-Aged Thinking we suffer from: He longs for a different, more romantic time and urges people to put down their phones on dates. We chatted with Bateman about everything from his favorite time period (Elizabethan England) to what he’s giving as gifts this holiday season. Oh, and did we mention he’s British? Swoon…

What’s your ideal food day?

An ideal food day would be boiled eggs and toast for breakfast, my mum and dad’s roast dinner for lunch and anything as long as it’s with good company in the evening. It would be Italian, preferably. I love their sense of family and food. And wine. Lots of wine.

What was it like working with the cast on Murder on the Orient Express? Can you tell us something funny about a few of your cast members we don’t know already?

Filming Murder on the Orient Express was probably the best job I’ve ever had. Ken put together a hugely talented team – one that, for a young actor like myself, was a dream to watch and learn from – but also the kindest. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed or loved so much. Something you may not have known is that Marwan Kenzari does not appreciate me super gluing his breakfast bowl shut and his water bottles to the countertop…I found that out the hard way.

Murder on the Orient Express takes place in the 1930s, what elements in the film of your character (wardrobe, way of speaking, movement etc) are very 30s? 

The whole world lends itself to the time period. It was such a joy to film because the attention to detail was so precise. We were completely immersed in the world of the Orient Express and that influenced how we moved, spoke and held ourselves. Once the set, costumes and props were done, the work was almost done for us.

Did you always know you wanted to be an actor? Did you ever want to be anything else?

I only realized at about age fifteen that I wanted to be an actor. Before then, I suppose I wanted to be one but I just hadn’t realized it yet, in that I wanted to be a policeman, a lawyer, a vet, a skydiving instructor, a scientist – you name it, I wanted to be it. I suppose the attraction was that different lives and worlds appealed to me. Acting satisfies that itch.

Do you still want to be anything else? 

I don’t think I could do anything else now. People who do what they love for a living are very lucky and blessed in that our jobs are also our hobbies. I’d do this for free – don’t tell any of the producers that!

Do you personally like mysteries? Why or why not?

I love mysteries. I think the appeal of the genre is that audiences can become actively involved and try to crack the case instead of being a more passive viewer. That’s what I love about them anyway!

Is there another time period and place you’ve always loved? What is it and why? 

I love Elizabethan London – the whole grit and immediacy of it. There was a time when you couldn’t build higher than St. Paul’s Cathedral, and I think London must have looked so beautiful then. I suppose it’s easy to look back and admire a time in history – we only learn about the beautiful bits. I’m quite happy where and when I am now, but what makes me sad is our lack of connection to what is around us now. People see the world through their phones, now, not their eyes. I miss a time without those.

Would you consider yourself a romantic? Why or why not? 

I’m not sure a person can call themselves romantic. It’s a trait others have to see, I think. I love people, in all walks of life. Sitting opposite a person, talking and listening to them could be seen as romantic – or just how we should all be living.

What’s your idea of the perfect first date? 

For the perfect first date, see above. I think there’s something wonderful about walking, too. You get to see the world around you and be a part of that with someone.

With the holidays coming up, have any amazing gift ideas you can give to people shopping for boyfriends, husbands, partners, brothers, etc.? 

I actually think that people have too much stuff. I try, the best I can, to give people experiences. I bought my brother a plane flying experience for his birthday. That’s something that will last forever and not simply add to consumerism.

What was the funniest thing Amy Schumer did on the set of Snatched

Amy is actually a lot more serious and concentrated on the work than you might think! That said, she constantly took the piss and made me laugh.

What’s the best advice you have ever received? The worst? 

The best advice I have ever received is that you have to be true to yourself. That was given to me regarding acting, but I think can be taken larger than that even – to our whole lives.

What would your last meal be and who would it be with? 

My last meal would be with all the people I love in the world around a huge table in the countryside eating vast amounts of pie and mashed potatoes with wine.

If you could give us a quote of the day to sum up your mood and mode, what would it be? 

Do something – see what happens. I just went for an evening walk around New York in the rain. Just to do something and see what might happen.

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