Interview: Tom York

From the interview archives.

Known for his portrayal of Hero in Olympus, British actor Tom York has been thrust back into living rooms everywhere having joined the cast of Poldark. VULKAN reached out to Tom to get a little insight on the his new role as Sam Carne and how his character might affect the series going forward. 

How did you feel when you landed the role of Sam in Poldark? Were you already a viewer of the show?
Elated! There really aren’t many feelings better than getting a call like that. It was a massive relief after months of hoping, mixed with the joy and excitement of getting to play Sam (potentially) for the next few years. Although I wasn’t overly familiar with the show before I started the audition process, my parents certainly were. They’re big fans and were very excited to hear I was going up for it. 

Harry Richardson plays your brother, Drake, and is also a new addition to the cast. Did you spend any time with Harry prior to filming to try and build up a natural brotherly rapport? If so, what did you do to bond?
Yes, absolutely. I feel very lucky that both Harry and Eleanor were up for building a bond from day one. We all wanted to make sure we had a short hand by the time we were filming as we play brothers and sisters. We didn’t do anything particularly exciting. Lots of food, wine, and a little dancing go a long way! We’re very lucky that we get on so well, we really are close friends now. 

Is there any sibling-style bickering or teasing between you two and Eleanor Tomlinson on set?
Absolutely! We all love a good joke. But to be honest on set, I would say I probably have to be a bit more serious just because Sam is a bit of a black sheep and being so different to me, I do need a bit of time to focus in on him. 

Sam feels a great desire to carry out what he believes is the will of God. Is there anything in your life, other than acting, that you carry such a passion for?
I’m certainly very passionate about the way I want to live my life and I’d say I have a strong moral intuition in the same way that Sam does but I definitely don’t think the stakes are as high for me. His compulsion to save others, in the way that he believes if he doesn’t their souls will be resigned to eternal damnation, is definitely more extreme! 

Do you think Sam will become overwhelmed by his desire, or is he level headed and ready to tackle anything?
I think Sam has had an unimaginably difficult life by today’s standards. Abusive father, extreme poverty, a life of hard labour, just to name a few of Sam’s daily obstacles. I think he was probably in a very, very dark place before he found Methodism but upon finding his faith for the first time, his whole mental framework was irreversibly changed. I think it saved him, quite literally. So no matter what obstacles he faces in the future I don’t think his belief will ever really be under question, it’s too essential to him now. But then who knows? We’ll have to wait and see… 

Sam and Drake are both, I think, a little surprised and perhaps even a little jealous when they learn how Demelza has gotten on with her life and they seem to want that for themselves, too. Would you consider Sam manipulative or an opportunist?
I think he’s convinced that God has placed him on a path and that he only needs to follow it without distraction to find his personal salvation. But within that, he does manipulate others and takes the opportunities he gets. I’d say that the manipulation is subconscious and the opportunism is (to his mind) God merely lighting the way forward. I think that’s how he sees the world, or certainly convinces himself that it’s that way. 

What was your favourite part about filming in Cornwall? Would you revisit?
Standing on the stunning cliffs in Cornwall, feeling the wind roaring past you, hearing the waves crashing against the rocks below… If that doesn’t put you in the world of Poldark, I don’t know what will. It was amazing. I’ll definitely be back, in fact I’ve already booked a little trip down there before we start filming series 4.

What would you say are Sam and Drake’s greatest differences, and do you think it will cause trouble for them down the line?
I’d say the biggest difference is that Drake follows his heart, and Sam follows his beliefs. That difference is the key and will almost certainly test their relationship as time progresses. It’s hard for Sam, he wants Drake to be happy, but too many missteps and he’s putting the fate of his Immortal soul in jeopardy. To Sam, even love is not worth that kind of risk.

What kind of role are you hoping to land next? Is there a genre that you haven’t been able to try yet that you’d really like to experience?
I would really love to do a comedy. Something similar to The Thick Of It, which is very much my sense of humour as well as brilliantly written and performed! 

The fidget spinner craze, are you for it or against it?
Honestly I see them on sale everywhere, but have no idea what they do. I imagine they’re something I could get quite happily addicted to… Undecided. 

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