An interview with Game Of Thrones and Humans actor Will Tudor for Wonderland Magazine.
THE STAGE-TO-SCREEN STAR CONFRONTING LIFE’S BIG QUESTIONS.
I’M FIVE MINUTES into my conference call with actor Will Tudor, when suddenly, whilst I’m in the middle of asking him about his first TV-set experience in the BBC’s Great Expectations, the line cuts out and his charming voice disappears. After 20 minutes of emails and dial tones, Tudor breaks PR rule number one and calls me directly. Needless to say, we bond over our mutual dislike for the technology that hasn’t faired us well thus far.
“I actually started quite late to it, thinking back. I always wanted to do it, I was always the family member who did voices and impressions,” Tudor begins, outlining how he was always destined for thespian life. “I always had it in me but I didn’t actually do a play until I was 16 at school, and I was lucky enough to be cast as the eponymous Doctor Faustus. I just walked out on stage and thought, ‘I love this. This is completely amazing’.” That feeling came again in his first TV role in the BBC’s much-loved Great Expectations, where Tudor found himself “hugely fascinated by screen work,” a world away from his formative stage years.
Tudor had always wanted to act, not only to feel the cushioned red carpet underfoot as some might assume, but because “there’s so much to it and there’s so much to learn.” Growing up in quaint Stratford-Upon-Avon (aka Shakespeare central), it’s not surprising that a love of words and their delivery is deeply ingrained in him. “It sits in me well,” he says, like a smitten English Lit student, “the flow of it, the beauty of the language. It’s something I really respond to.”
After three years of “lively” hijinks with the drama society at uni, a freshly graduated Tudor received a call from his agent, kicking off the news of a role with, “Okay, it’s full frontal nudity, it’s Game Of Thrones.” Naturally, Tudor was flashing some flesh on screen a short while after as Olyvar, a spy and prostitute. “The character was originally only a one-episode thing,” but the cult show’s writers were so impressed they turned his one-off cameo character into a recurring star, which the ineffably polite Tudor calls, “incredibly kind!”
“The character had so much to him,” he continues, “so much power and wiles, which in the Game Of Thrones world was so much fun to play.” A fan before he was featured, Tudor gushes over the world of Jon Snow and Co, “It’s unlike anything that’s been done before… It’s incredibly cinematic. It’s set in a world that’s so different from our own but we all recognise parts of it. It’s a world where the basic instincts, the animal part of us, is allowed to run wild.”
A full 180, Tudor’s next role was as a robotic “synth” in Channel 4’s most successful TV drama series 20 years: Humans, a role he’s reprising this winter in series two. “Humans is a show which is so timely in its exploration of not just artificial intelligence but what it means to be human,” Tudor reasons. We get deep into a discourse about the morality of artificial intelligence, and whether scientific developments will one day allow ‘bots to feel as we do. “Philosophically, it’s got all these ideas tied in, and they’re questions that we haven’t really asked, or needed to ask for hundreds of years,” he answers, not one to feel fazed by the deepest of the big questions. “What does it mean to be a human? If we can create something that can view the world and, dare I say it, have opinions on the world, what does that mean for us? How have we been able to get to this point, where we can then be the creator? It puts the whole question of religiosity on the table.”
As far as his own near future goes, not one that’s scattered with an electronic population, Tudor has got that mapped out too. His next role sits within a tale exploring post-traumatic stress disorder, produced by living legend, Martin Scorcese. He’s unwilling to share spoilers, although he’s quick to assure me that his Game Of Thrones character made it through the cast’s most recent cull. “My character’s not dead yet,” he laughs. “Which is always a good sign.”