Interview: Tom Austen

If, like me, you have spent more late nights at home surfing E4 than you would care to admit, you may well be pleased to hear that Beaver Falls is soon to return to our screens. The beginning of season two is an especially happy occasion as it brings with it the addition of heartthrob du jour, Tom Austen. Chances are, you’ll have been enjoying a lot more of Austen on your screens recently, as he’s been racking up the televisual credits, with parts in The Borgias and Misfits since his Shameless debut. Lucky us. He was nice enough to chat to us from location in Paris.  

How’s Paris treating you?

Very well thank you. I’ve only been out here for a couple of weeks now and we haven’t been shooting for long, but so far so good and it’s properly hot now, which is awesome.

What drew you to the role of Mac in Beaver Falls?

So often when you are sent scripts, especially for TV, the characters are so two dimensional and they literally just serve a purpose in forwarding the storyline of other characters and have absolutely nothing about them. Mac on the other hand was such a well-rounded, well thought out character with a huge journey during the show and one that I was desperate to play and get under the skin of; not being everything you might initially seem is something that really draws me to a character.

Were you a fan of the show?

I auditioned last season for the part of Flynn so met with the producers and everyone and thought they seemed like a really cool team and really enjoyed watching the first series- there’s not really anything else like it on TV that bridges that gap between the states and the UK and I loved it for that, so was really pleased to be asked to come on board and be part of the second series.

Can you give us a hint of what we can expect from Mac and the upcoming series?

A whole lot of things that would be the least you would expect!  I’m not going to say too much but, as far as Mac is concerned, he is a really interesting character with real heart and with a story unlike any other characters in the show. As for the show as a whole, I think it’s grown up a lot. It’s still got the same humour at its core, but we get a lot deeper into the relationships between the counsellors and everything that comes with putting a group of ‘up for it’ twenty somethings in the middle of nowhere over the course of the summer and all the goings on beyond the beautiful facade of Beaver Falls.

Any showdowns between you and A-Rab?

Ha! Mac really isn’t that sort of guy- he is such a good person and cares too much about Rachael to ever get involved in that kind of shit slinging- I think probably much to Arab’s disappointment- Macs pretty hard not to like- I hope anyway!

Any behind the Beaver Falls’ scenes gossip you’d care to share?

Gossip? Oh plenty, care to share? Nah! ha ha. Everyone got on so well, the oldies were so welcoming of us newbies (Emer, Scarlett and me) and all I’m going to say is that we had three months of fun in the African sun and properly made the most of everything such a beautiful place like Cape Town had to offer- I mean the area we lived and worked in was called ‘the winelands’ so urrrm yeah… we did that.

Given you interviewed for another part in the first series, how does it feel playing opposite the actor who got the part?

It’s a funny one because initially Flynn was a part that I really wanted and it was a show that I really wanted to part of, but once it’s gone and another actor steps into those shoes you lose any kind of feeling that it was ever yours or ever could’ve been. It happens all the time in the business and wasn’t something that bothered me at all. Of course Sam felt massively threatened but that’s just his nature (I’m joking of course) but the two of us got on really well, and I think I was always more Mac than Flynn anyway.

What’s been your favourite character to play so far?

It’s a hard one to say because they’ve all been so different- I haven’t been out of drama school that long and I think Beaver Falls and playing Mac was the first time in a TV job that I really saw a character’s journey through fully and got to invest loads in it and put loads of myself into it and the creation of it. So I’d probably have to say ‘Mr Nice Guy’ Mac. He’s cool as fuck too which I definitely liked having a crack at.

Are there any story lines you wouldn’t want to play personally?

A boring one. Some scripts, especially some for TV, seem like they’ve just been bashed out by a load of monkeys on typewriters in the back room and make no sense and have absolutely nothing too them, they just follow the same old boring route that’s been taken a hundred times and I have no interest in doing anything like that at all. I’d rather be sitting on my arse at home than going to work if it was to do that.

Obviously you’re a good looking guy, do you ever get any unwanted attention? Is constant knicker-throwing an issue for you?

Knicker throwing can be a massive health and safety point, especially if you are trying to get somewhere in a rush. HA! No nothing like that, to be honest for the last couple of years I’ve just had my head down working. A lot of the stuff I have filmed is only starting to come out now, like The Borgias and Misfits and of course Beaver Falls, so I’ll let you know if shit gets crazy. I very much doubt it though; I think mostly the people that get that sort of stuff are the ones who go looking for it and I’m not really that sort of guy.

Do you think that soaps should have a clear licence to portray any current issues in the media, or do you think there should be some boundaries as to what is acceptable to put out there?

I think it completely depends: if it’s going to be something that can be portrayed responsibly and sensitively, then it a sure fire way of getting those issues out there to people who might not otherwise be aware of them. Not ever having been involved in a soap it’s difficult to comment, but I think as ‘entertainment’ it’s not there duty to portray those issues but if they can and do something positive about it then I say go for it.

What’s next?

Well, I’m on location in Paris now until the end of the year filming a detective

thriller series, Jo, with the director of the Danish version of The Killing, starring Jean Reno and myself, so just going to be out here fighting crime for a while. And then I think everyone involved is hoping we’ll be back out to Cape Town in the new year for some more Beaver action. Fingers crossed everyone likes it!

Beaver Falls returns to E4 Aug 6th at 10pm