Monday 8 June 2015

Tom Hughes on Kyle Soller: It's Difficult to be an American Actor in England

Photo via The Independent on Sunday

When I suggested recently that actor Tom Hughes was just right for the role of  Drake Carne, should Poldark run to a third series, I had no idea his best mate was Kyle Soller, who plays Francis in the BBC drama.

In a charming interview with The Independent on Sunday, Tom and Kyle talk about each other. Here are some excerpts that give a nice insight into Kyle coming to England from the US.

Tom Hughes in The Game BBC2
Tom Hughes:  "With some people you know you're going to be mates. We were both at a final audition for a place at Rada; we spent the whole day together auditioning and I struck up a kinship with him. Afterwards we clasped hands and gave each other a quick hug and I remember thinking, if nothing else, I've made a friend. When I got the call to say I was on the list, I looked down at the others in my year, and there was Kyle, and from that day on we've been tight.
When he came to London it was his first time in the UK, and he was living on his own in a flat. His knowledge of what England was like was based on TV and books. I told him a lot about Chester, where I'm from. He seemed interested, so I asked him to stay at my parents' house. We walked along the canal, and I took him into Wales, to show him how beautiful it is. If you take a man north, you've got to give him a pint, and he had his first ale, too.

The thing I loved about Kyle was that we never talked about work: we'd talk music and whiskey.

We got a flat together with a couple of other lads. It was meant to be a little sanctuary, but it turned into our little hell. The day we moved in, the first goldfish died in the garden pond. And within a week, all the fish were dead. We then had a spider infestation, followed by a dead fridge for a month. It was a nightmare: these two kids down in London not knowing what do about it. Eventually we had to do a runner, and our big plan to live together didn't pan out.

It's difficult to be an American actor in England. Making a go of it is almost an impossible challenge. But [playing Francis in] Poldark is testament to how hard he works and his acting ability. I've had three or four people say to me, "I had no idea he's not English!"

Kyle Soller as Francis
Kyle Soller: "We met during the last round of auditions for Rada, 10 years ago.  Towards the end of the group-movement audition, we were all instructed to recreate an airplane with our bodies. I didn't know what I was doing, I was just lost, until I saw Tom at the back standing up straight and pretending to be the tail. His eyes motioned me to join him, so I ran over, jumped on his back and became the tailplane. The moment we left the room, we looked at each other and hugged and I said, "See you in September!" It wasn't presumptive; I just knew I'd met a kindred spirit.

We've had a similar upbringing of listening to music, playing sports and acting, and he's someone who matches my rhythm to a tee. We have these music-sharing parties at his place, drinking the whole day and playing music on our guitars. We always said we wanted to form an oldies group together - though I was more Rolling Stones than Beatles, so he gave me their back catalogue. And he has got me into stuff I never got into in America, such as the Stone Roses."

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