RS: To me, that was what was really fascinating about the book, and when I was thinking about playing Tom is the idea of looking at old cathedrals and realizing the men who built them...I mean, I'm working in Rome at the moment and I'm walking across buildings that are 2,000 years old and going up close and seeing the brickwork—these tiny, thin Roman bricks. [I'm] realizing the people here who made those bricks would stop for lunch breaks and someone might have a snack that his wife made for him and someone might be making his own and someone would have better quality sandwiches. And then people would have their little rivalries and their teasing and who is popular and who is unpopular.
The day-to-day politics of what drove people don't change. The medium of expression might change—the tools they use, the things they wear—but actually what drives people and how people interact with each other is the same and always will be. Across the world—whether you're in a tribe or in the city—it's the same across different ages. And that, for me, is what really fascinated me and what I think is the appeal of it. That when you go to Canterbury Cathedral and you realize it was built by people just like us that went to work every day and it was an adventure and it took hundreds of years sometimes. That's extraordinary to me.
The most difficult scene to play