Tom Ellis on ‘Lucifer’s L.A. Adventures and What’s Coming Up in Season 2

Tom Ellis
Tom Ellis

We have plenty of sympathy for this Devil.

From his heavenly battles with angel brother Amenadiel (DB Woodside) to his newfound knack for sleuthing alongside LAPD detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German), Lucifer (Tom Ellis) experienced his fair share of family squabbles, earthly conundrums and romantic foibles during the Fox drama’s freshman season. Ellis reflects on his favorite moments from Season 1 and previews the action to come.

How did you approach the character of Lucifer to bring us your own version of the Devil?
I didn’t really think about playing the Devil part of it. It was this character on the page. The notion of the Devil is often a very fixed notion. What I loved about this particular take on it was that it was about a guy who hadn’t chosen to be that and wanted to get away from it, but because he was the Devil, he still had all those traits. The experience of humanity changing and evolving him was the thing that was more exciting to me than just playing the bad guy who is intrinsically evil.

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How do you think Lucifer grew over the course of the season?
When you’re working on a new series, there are a few episodes where you have to keep establishing the dynamic that was set in the pilot. But when we got to Episode 6, “Favorite Son,” where Lucifer’s wings were stolen, this was the first time something affected him and the stakes suddenly went up for him—and subsequently everyone around him. That’s when the show really hit its stride. And obviously, the stakes are immediately higher in Season 2, because we realize that Mom has escaped Hell. That’s pretty ominous for everybody. [Laughs]

What do you know about Lucifer’s relationship with his mother (who will be played by Tricia Helfer)?
Mom being around means that we’ve got a character that Lucifer is afraid of. The show is firmly rooted in some sort of real family dynamic. The fight between Lucifer and Amenadiel in Episode 12 is just a bigger version of the fight they used to have in their bedroom when they were 5 years old. We don’t want [the show] to become stagnant. We want to keep moving and evolving.

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What was it like filming Lucifer’s huge fight with Amenadiel?
It was a lot of fun, but it was pretty exhausting. Watching DB’s stunt double get thrown into my whiskey collection was exciting and depressing at the same time! [Laughs]

What was your favorite episode to shoot in the first season?
Episode 9, “A Priest Walks Into a Bar,” mainly because of the guy I was working with, Colman Domingo [playing a priest who figured out Lucifer’s true identity]. He’s a wonderful man outside of the whole thing, but we really had a great time as actors working on that hour. I’ll never forget shooting the piano duel in Lucifer’s penthouse. It was one of the most fun times I’ve ever had on any set. Colman and I are huge fans of music, so we just loved telling that story through music. It’s funny, I do get asked a lot on Twitter if that is me playing the piano and singing. I left the mystique there by not answering them. It is me singing, that’s for sure. But I’m very good at air piano, let me put it that way! [Laughs]

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The big relationship at the center of Season 1 was between Lucifer and Chloe. What’s your take on their connection?
When working with Lauren, we laugh a lot. She’s got an amazing sense of humor, and we’ve used that a little bit with our dynamic on the show. I love that people have reacted to that relationship, because it’s in many ways the heartbeat of the show. The idea that people are rooting for them to get together is great, because when you’re making a TV show, that’s exactly what you want. But I think if you get these characters together, that’s the end of your show.

What does Lucifer make of Chloe’s mysterious power over him?
When he realizes that Chloe is the person who makes him vulnerable, he literally bleeds. It’s a penny-dropping moment for him when he’s realizing it’s a choice to be with this person [who can bring him harm]. It’s almost like a fairy-tale feeling to that relationship, a little bit like Beauty and the Beast.

What else are you hoping to explore in Season 2?
People keep writing to me, saying they want more singing! Lucifer has an appreciation of music and creativity. I would like to have more opportunity to do that, maybe with some other characters as well. The most fun is when Lucifer’s guard is down. He’s very comfortable when he’s got his veneer of protection and feeling of “I’m in charge of every situation,” but when that guard drops, that’s when we have fun seeing this character surprise himself, other people and the audience.

Lucifer, Season Premiere, Monday, September 19, 9/8c, Fox.