Two Glorious Days with Tom Ellis at MagicCon 2018

FYI: There are galleries with 1200×800 sized images behind the thumbnails. You didn’t really think, I would restrict Tom to 120×120 squares now, did you ;-)?

The written recap is at the bottom of this post, scroll down or click here:

Tom’s first panel on Saturday morning

Tom’s autograph session, Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning

Tom’s 2nd panel on Sunday afternoon

Tom’s surprise performance & the closing ceremony

I only knew Tom from Lucifer yet and I very much enjoy seeing him in that role. I have a thing for tall, handsome, sharp guys with a British accent. I haven’t watched a lot (or even any) Behind the Scenes or interviews with Tom before, so I didn’t have a clear idea what to expect. He could have been shy and a bit awkward. Or pretentious and boring. Thank God, he was neither, but rather very much the opposite. From those two panels and the autograph sessions I witnessed I can say: He is utterly wonderful. Down-to-earth. Funny. Articulate. Focused. Intelligent. Sweet and kind and so much more.

So, what did he talk about? Let’s start with some Lucifer – related questions /anecdotes: He explained the reason behind moving the production from Vancouver to LA (in short: it’s hard to make rainy Vancouver look like sunny LA). He’s from the UK, so he thought he was used to rain and damp weather, but according to him it’s still more or different rain / bad weather in British Columbia. The wings and the Devil Face are CGI, so they never really see the wings themselves. He obviously gets along very well with his Lucifer co-stars and crew, he talked very highly of all of them and told quite a few funny stories. They seem to have a lot of fun with each other, which I guess makes working those long hours on a TV set bearable. To have coworkers you can share a laugh with is an upside to any job in my own experience.

There also were a few questions were about his previous work (Dr. Who, Miranda) and also audition experience. The latter lead to him crawling around the stage like a dog and I think it was about a Smarties (chocolate sweets) commercial? It looked hilarious, but I’m not sure about the context anymore.

Tom said, he didn’t want to be an actor from an early age. For a while he thought he would like to be a physical therapist. The reason behind that – according to him – was, that he knew he wasn’t talented enough to actually make it as a player in professional football, but thought that working as physical therapist would get him at least onto the pitch. I think he needed some more classes or credits or something, so the drama school teacher approached him about that. She made her point by: “I have 12 girls and only one boy. I need more boys.” Tom’s reply (supposedly *g*): “Say that again? HOW many girls…?”

He is still interested in sports: Rugby, because that is his dad’s thing and because he’s Welsh. But more than rugby, he loves football. When he talked about that he used the term “soccer” first and from the back of the venue I (and others, I think), yelled: “FOOTBALL!” I don’t think he heard us though. Anyway he noticed it himself. “I can switch off my internal autocorrect and call it football here, right?” *g* He’s been a fan of Arsenal for a long time and as I don’t know much about the Premiere League, I didn’t quite understand why with a mock embarrassed / ashamed face he added a “but let’s not talk about that!” Are they not living up to their own (and anyone’s) expectations? No idea. As his favourite players he named: Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry and possibly to sweeten us Germans up: Mesut Özil and Per Mertesacker.

On occassion Tom made a few political statements; about US politics at least, because that’s where he lives and works now. The only one I clearly remember though was his reply to the question “Which other famous person would you like to be if you could switch lives for one day?” – “Maybe Donald Trump? So I could say ‘Sorry, guys, this was a mistake, I’m not good at this’ and resign?” Nice idea, Tom!

The most surprising story for me – who didn’t really know much about him in advance – was that the man who marvellously plays the devil on TV , actually “grew up in the church”. Quite literally as his family is not just very religious but “my father is a pastor, my uncle is a pastor, my sister is a pastor…” There were some questions / stories about how his family reacted to him getting THIS part, but also about his religious upbringing and if the idea of hell actually had been part of that. Spoiler alert: It hadn’t. Tom talked about how the focus had been more on Jesus as a good person doing good. And that this was something we all should aspire too.

It’s not him playing piano on Lucifer, because he hasn’t learned how to. Yet. He’s working on that though and hopes to maybe do a scene where he actually plays and sings on the show. When he was a kid his parents made the “executive decision” to sign him up to learn the trumpet and he switched to French Horn after that. In that same reply he mentioned he plays the guitar, which of course led to his amazing, wonderful, mesmerizing performance of two songs before the closing ceremony. Traci Chapman’s “Talking ‘Bout a Revolution” and Damien Rice’s “The Blower’s Daughter”. He didn’t finish playing that though, but at some point he broke off, and confessed “I don’t know how that song ends” Which was hilarious and adorable!

During both of Tom’s panel’s I gathered all my courage and stepped up to the microphone queue to ask a question. In parts to be able to take photos from closer up, because I had a seat at the back of the room. But also in equal parts to make myself get over my stage fright / anxiety in moments like these. It’s still something out of my comfort zone, but on the other hand it happens in a fandom-related moment and any of my fandoms is usually a happy place for me, which makes leaving the comfort zone so much easier. If that makes any sense? Anyway…

During the first panel I asked him about travel recommendations for my upcoming trip to Wales this summer. We chatted about the typical British weather, but then he also mentioned some places I should definitely visit. These places haven’t been on my itinerary yet, so I need to have another good look at all my travel books and my plans and see if I can swing by. When I stepped up to his table during the autograph session a few hours later, I mentioned that I was the one who had asked about travel recommendations and he advised me again to prepare for rainy weather. I know Tom, I’ve been to the UK before :-) No, seriously, he was lovely in these few seconds of encounter across the desk. During his panel on Sunday I referred to his time at drama school and listed a few of the fellow alumni from the The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (Sam Heughan, Alan Cumming. James McAvoy, David Tennant…) and asked: if he could pick one of those for a guest role on Lucifer, who would it be and for which part: Angel, Demon, Human? It turns out he’s still very close friend with James McAvoy! They’ve lived together at some point and now they live in the same neighbourhood. He said, James would probably never do a guest role on Lucifer, but if he did, it had to be a very Scottish Angel Gabriel. Which was a pretty good answer, I think.

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