Loosely based on the character from DC Comics‘ Neil Gaiman-written “Sandman” comic book, Fox’s “Lucifer” follows “Rush” and “Miranda” actor Tom Ellis as a bored Prince of Darkness relinquishing his kingdom in order to relocate to Los Angeles. The sexy and stylish Lucifer runs a nightclub while using his powers to consult the LAPD — but even in the City of Angels, supernatural forces tempt him to return to his old hellish glory.
Tom Ellis spoke with press last July at Comic-Con International in San Diego about playing the iconic demon, Lucifer Morningstar’s interest in homicide detective Chloe Decker and how the character — who has starred in two DC/Vertigo solo comics series, one from 2000 to 2006 and one freshly relaunched — views humanity.
You went from playing this adorable little thing in “Miranda” to portraying the Devil. That’s quite a jump.
Tom Ellis: There was a little segue called “Rush.” It’s quite nice as an actor to do varying degrees of different things. To play a character who can be bad is a lot of fun. The way the script was written was something very appealing to me. It just reeked of someone who relished talking and relished saying the things he was saying. The idea of relishing life and having fun and encouraging other people to have fun is something I tapped into.
In “Rush,” you did things that were out of your comfort zone. How is “Lucifer” pushing you even further?
There’s certain things I love. The girl in it, Scarlet [Estevez], who plays Lauren [German]’s daughter, is fantastic. She’s 7 years old. To look a 7 year old in the face when she tells you her name is Trixie and say, “Well, that’s a hooker’s name,” is kind of wrong, but a lot of fun to do. It’s stuff like that. It’s a dark show, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously.
There’s a fine line between having fun about it and I wouldn’t say too dark, because we want to keep a darkness about it, a forebodingness about it and certainly a horror element about it. We concentrate on the fun side of delivering it. I would say “Rush” was a bit darker in places than this. We’ll see what the season has to offer.
You don’t get much more iconic than the Devil. Where do you start as an actor in terms of your approach?
The funny thing is I didn’t really comprehend that much when I first took it on. I just took what was on the page and the idea of who this guy was. That’s where I formed my starting point. But it’s only since doing the show and starting to do press about it that you realize you are playing a character that everybody knows and has some kind of version [in their head] of who that character is. That is why we run up against certain groups who are objecting to it, which is inevitable and interesting when people want to comment on stuff they haven’t seen.
How does Lucifer view the human race and in what ways does that change over the course of the season?
He finds them very puzzling. He finds the thing that drives them puzzling, like money and greed. You would assume those are things that he understands. The point that we find out about Lucifer is that he doesn’t make people evil. He doesn’t make people do bad things. He says, “All of that is inside of you. The choices are on you.” What he is able to do is get people to openly talk about what their deepest, darkest desires are.
Again, it’s a fun thing to do, to draw stuff out of people and unbeknownst to them, they’ve just told him they’ve slept with someone. He’s puzzled by these humans, but he’s especially puzzled by Chloe [Lauren German’s character]. His powers don’t work on her and he can’t work out why. That vexes him.
“Lucifer” airs 9 p.m. Mondays on Fox, starting tonight.