Rufus Sewell plays Tom Builder
Photo: Egon Endrenyi
PAGE 3
JW: What was your favorite part about playing Tom Builder?

RS: Well, for me, I think he was a working man. And as an actor, lots of struggling actors work in bars or serve in restaurants. Whenever I was struggling and before I went to drama school, I would work on building sites. ... People I knew like my uncle's friend was a carpenter and I was a carpenter's mate. I was a laborer, never skilled because I was young and unqualified. So I'd work on building sites. ... Even though I was a student—and later a drama student—[I was] working with people who were much, much better read than me, much smarter—not just in terms of common sense, not that cliché—but actually the intellect that was far superior to me, and they could work with their hands.

I've never had a chance to play a working family man like that. In fact, it's not often I've been allowed to play a part that you'd even let near children, to tell you the truth, which was really nice [laughs]. To play a father, to play someone who went through so much and was flawed and he had this blind sides but he was essentially a decent man struggling to do the right thing and failing and succeeding and that I found very moving.

JW: One of the most difficult scenes to watch was when Tom had to leave his newborn son in the middle of the road. As a father, was that difficult for you to play?

RS: It was incredibly difficult. It's just one of those things you read it, I mean, [it's] the whole first the introduction of that character. ... I don't want to give the game away, but the things that happen to him later, the things that bind him and the problems he has to deal with I just found emotionally very compelling. They hit you in the gut.

JW: In making this series, did you have a favorite scene?

RS: No, I didn't have a favorite scene. And also you can have things that are your favorite when you read and then there are things that surprise you. And there were so many things that I really loved. I liked all of the scenes with the children and with my son. I loved all of that because it's something I haven't had many chances to do. I am a father, but I haven't had much chance at acting playing a father, and I liked that very much.

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