The Welsh actor chats about his experience filming the latest Apple TV+ thriller alongside Uma Thurman.
When Apple TV+ released the trailer for their latest thriller Suspicion, we knew we were in for one hell of a ride. One pit stop we were not expecting, however, was discovering the talent of Tom Rhys Harries who plays a British citizen suspected of kidnapping the son of a wealthy businesswoman — played by the iconic Uma Thurman. While doing whatever it takes to prove his innocence to the National Crime Agency and FBI, the Welsh actor simultaneously captures the hearts of audiences worldwide with his emotive performance and tangible passion for his craft.
Since his breakout role as the lead in Netflix’s 2020 global hit White Lines, Tom hit the ground running with acting work, both on TV and the big screen. Set to star alongside Emilia Clarke in the West End this coming June, Tom Rhys Harries will be exploring the depths of his acting further in Jamie Lloyd’s contemporary adaptation of Chekov’s The Seagull.
Full of paranoia, nail-biting twists and the unsettling secrecy of espionage, Suspicion has quickly established itself as the ultimate binge-worthy drama of 2022. And before the fourth episode drops this Friday, we took some time to speak to Tom himself about his experience in the series, and what we can expect from him next as he climbs the steps to full blown stardom.
To read the full interview, scroll below…
Hi Tom, how are you? Where are we speaking to you from right now?
Hi Wonderland, I’m on a train with my mate. We’re on the way to see another friends play and I’m trying to answer your questions before we arrive. There’s a horde of teenage HULL city football fans sitting in almost every seat surrounding us. They’re drinking Jaegermeister and blasting “Pump It Up” by Endor on repeat. The smallest of the ‘Lads’ stands up and screams ‘Everyone in the carriage get on your legs, I expect it to be Park Life in ere!’ ….No one obliges. One of the boys looks like vintage Aled Jones and keeps looking back apologetically and mouthing ‘sorry’ to the rest of the passengers. I catch his glance, stare him dead in the eye, I whisper ‘You’re swimming upstream man, get out whilst you can. There’s still time’ and with that, a single tear trickles down his left cheek, he brushes it away and throws me a dainty thumbs up.
Let’s talk about your beginnings as an actor! When did you first realise your passion for the craft?
I cannot remember one specific moment of deciding I wanted to be an actor, I was never particularly academic, I grew up in a very creative environment and Welsh culture leans towards the arts pretty heavily. As soon as I was studying at Royal Welsh college of music and drama I do remember a sense of relief in feeling that I had found some kind of structure. A focus towards work that, to me, felt both interesting and endless.
Do you remember your first audition? What was that experience like?
I auditioned for a Volvo ad with two friends when we were about 13. The head of the drama dept at school had a friend who was in casting and they needed some kids to do a bit on this advert so he taped us and sent it off, a couple of months later and the three of us were on our way up to London for a recall. We had a chaperone with us who had a budget of about £20 per diems for each of us, which at that age felt like a jackpot bonanza. We ordered as many sweets and hot chocolates on the way to the audition as possible and burnt through those per diems. By the time we arrived, we were all so sugar-high wired that when the director asked us to improvise building a car out of these boxes we went HAM, started ripping up the boxes, and running up the walls. Did not get that job.
You have starred in some great projects, including White Lines and The Gentlemen and now Suspicion… Which has been your favourite to work on and why?
They’re all their own thing, what you take and learn from each job is as individual as the different people you work with. There’s the insecure aspect of any kind of freelance work which can be exhausting so within that when things seem to be going well I find it important to take a second to acknowledge that, say bonjour to that moment and move on.
Congratulations on the launch of Suspicion! How are you feeling about the world watching it?
I’m just so glad it’s finally out. The Suspicion cake had been proofing for a while, in the oven for ages and now it’s baked – hopefully, it’s not burnt or overdone and people enjoy it. It takes a small village to make a film or tv show in normal times and we shot Suspicion right in the heart of the pandemic so that brought Its own challenges but it got shot and now it’s out. I always love the collaborative aspect of shooting any kind of project, everyone is one part of a collective all trying to produce the best version of that show possible. Between the shooting and the release of a film or tv show, it can sometimes be years. It’s a documented snapshot of time which is fascinating to me.
The show is split between New York and the UK! What was it like filming in the two locations? Did you prefer shooting in one over the other?
I always find it funny that there are constants to a filming crew wherever in the world you are, the grips, the sparks, the camera operators all share similar traits wherever I’ve been. Getting to visit areas you might not have unless you were out working is always pretty cool.
And, you are starring alongside the likes of Uma Thurman and Kunal Nayyar, both of whom are big industry players! What was it like to work alongside them?
Uma is an icon of cinema and just to be on the same call sheet as her was surreal. I can’t say enough positives about Kunal he’s a brilliant committed actor but more importantly, he’s a genuine, kind, and caring man.
With this being an action-packed thriller, I can imagine that some of the scenes were quite physically and mentally demanding to film! Did you have to do any specific preparation or training ahead of filming to prepare you for this?
I love preparation, I think I’d say it was my favourite aspect of the work. I make a sort of scrapbook of different art, quotes, and scribbles that I think could possibly relate to a character. I also make a lot of playlists, that’s always cool as I’ll often leave a job having found a new musician or band that I’m then into. If you dig you could probably find an old pinboard I made hiding in some corner of the web.
What are you looking forward to this year, apart from the release of Suspicion! I know that you are starring alongside Emilia Clarke in the West End’s The Seagull!
Personally, The Seagull has come to represent something bigger than just a job and the fact that we have the opportunity to come full circle and complete the process with it is pretty special (we did 4 shows in March 2020 before Theatres around the world shut down). And again on my answer above, rehearsals are my favourite part of a play and I know that’s a big part of why I love theatre so much. You’re given a month or two to really delve into a character and the world they inhabit along with the company. We sadly lost one of our cast members Seun Shote last year – I will be thinking of him and his family throughout the run. Thanks for the chat.
(LEFT) Jacket by MAISON MIHARA YASUHIRO, Polo Top by SANDRO, Blazer by DUNHILL
(RIGHT) Jacket by KING & TUCKFIELD, Blouson by MAISON MIHARA YASUHIRO, Trousers by YMC
(LEFT) Sleeveless Jacket by DUNHILL, Suit by MARGARET HOWELL, Knitwear by ZILVER, Shoes by GRENSON
(RIGHT) Blazer & Trousers by YOHJI YAMAMOTO, Jacket by WEEKDAY, Shoes by GRENSON, Bucket Hat by NORSE
Mark Anthony Bradley
The Great Northern Railway