Tom Ellis says the script for Fox’s Lucifer was the funniest he read all pilot season. At the 2015 San Diego Comic Con to discuss the new series, Ellis described the script as “punctuated with moments of real hilarity all of the way through” during our roundtable interview. Ellis said the script immediately grabbed him, making him actually laugh out loud during the first reading. “It was an hour drama, but it was funnier than most of the half hour comedies, in my taste,” said Ellis.
When director Len Wiseman (Underworld, Live Free or Die Hard) was brought on board, they met, talked, and Ellis says the resulting decision to star in Lucifer was a no-brainer. Ellis in person is a charmer, and it’s easy to believe that as Lucifer he’ll be able to talk a saint into being a sinner. “Fun is a word I keep hammering home about this because the project as a whole is fun. But I think he’s wont to have fun and encouragement to have fun and just kind of live a little. He’s just kind of gently persuading people just to let go,” said Ellis, laughing.
The script was funny, but what was it about the character that Ellis found so enticing that he couldn’t wait to play? “Tom Kapinos wrote the pilot originally and the way that he had written this character was set in the modern world but the character didn’t speak in a modern way. It felt like he was from another time,” explained Ellis. “It was written with a sort of fluid and a grace and an air about it that was this foppish Noel Coward-esque character that had a swagger about it. He loved classic British rock music, and he talked about the Rolling Stones, AC/DC, and all these bands that he loved. So I had this kind of stencil in my head of, ‘Well, if you’ve got Noel Coward and Mick Jagger, that’s where I’m starting.'”
The Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil” seems like a natural fit for the show, but unfortunately it won’t be showing up on the soundtrack. “Rolling Stones tracks are notoriously expensive. And, also, not just the tracks. We tried to have a line in there – I think I can say this – we had a line in there where he came up to someone and said, ‘Allow me to introduce myself. I’m a man of wealth and taste.’ We had to pay if we wanted to use that line something stupid, like $50,000, as it was written in prose,” revealed Ellis. “I like to create playlists whenever I’m working on anything. Music is a big thing for me and I like the sound, the tone, the energy of the piece, and attitude. So I had this playlist with loads of stuff, Bowie and The Who, Hendrix, and some more modern stuff on it as well. I think music will be a big part of the show. It certainly helps us deliver the attitude.”