Tom Austen has proven over the last few years to be a true chameleon. From his debut in Shameless to bit parts in big-budget movies, he returns to our screens as all-American jock Mac in E4’s Beaver Falls this summer – as well as landing a part in the new series of Misfits.
Would you say that there is any part of your ‘real’ persona that you envelope onto your character Mac?
Mac definitely is one of life’s optimists. He tries to see the best in everything and everyone and I would like to hope I do the same. Mac is one of the nicest guys in the world.
How’s Mac different from the rest of the boys in the series?
Mac is all American. He grew up on a farm in a small town in Wyoming and has never really ventured out the state. He’s got real American values and is completely wide eyed to the goings on at Beaver Falls. He’s clean cut and loves his sport, especially basketball and doesn’t really go in for sitting up on the roof having a joint with the boys- well, not to begin with anyway.
You have very diverse range, from stage to the big screen. What would you consider to be your favourite thing about your chosen career?
I think just that – the diversity! In the last year I’ve got to travel the world and see amazing places doing what I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve been lucky to work with some amazing actors on fantastic scripts and feel like I’m learning and growing with it all the time. I love that you have no idea what tomorrow will bring let alone where you might be in a year or twenty years down the line.
What was your first ever role?
I played a rent boy in Shameless on Channel 4. I was just running round talking about fucking, stealing babies and handcuffing prostitutes to beds. It was a proper baptism of fire for my first job. I don’t think my Nan was pleased.
You must have to take a completely different approach to playing a character like Rafaello in The Borgias?
Doing something period always throws up so many different challenges. Stepping into a pair of knee high leather boots and a cape was always going to be a bit more of a stretch, but if you break it down they are still just people and The Borgias is so well written you see those people so clearly and can learn about them.
You’re also going to appear in the fresh series of Misfits. Can you tell us a little bit more about how you’ll fit into the show?
It’s a very small part but I’d always wanted to get involved. I’ve always loved the show and the way it’s shot are unlike anything else on TV. It’s really exciting for that, but I don’t have a power. I just get controlled by someone else’s.
What other parts are you interested in exploring?
I’ve spent the last while playing the good guy – the caring guy, the lover, the romantic… I love all that BUT I’d love to play someone really fucked up and demented and go a bit mad with it.
What else can we expect from you?
I’ve just got done filming a small part in an adventure movie called Legendary in Beijing and I’m currently on location in Paris shooting a new thriller detective series with Jean Reno called Jo, playing his right hand man, which is awesome. Hopefully everyone will like it as much as we do when it hits the air.
Words: Shane Hawkins