As we all eagerly wait to see what kind of trouble Joan Collins is going to stir up on tonight's new episode of The Royals, I decided to check in with arguably the show's hottest troublemaker, Tom Austen ('Jasper'). I asked him what it's like playing such a man of mystery, how he would describe Alexandra Park ('Eleanor'), and what it was like punching William Moseley ('Liam'). Plus... he may have mentioned how he and Park once "broke the set." Read below.
The Reel Spin: 'Jasper' has had such an interesting arc on the show. We still don't really know his full story yet, and that just makes him all the more intriguing. How would you describe 'Jasper'?
Tom Austen: I'm not entirely sure he's someone you can very easily describe. Which is what I think makes him so interesting. He's completely unpredictable and a total mystery. But you know that he wants something. And is willing to do anything to get it. But just when you finally think you've got him figured out, you'll realize pretty quickly that you don't!
TRS: Fans can't get enough of 'Jasper' and 'Eleanor' and with good reason. The chemistry between you and Alexandra Park is insane. I love the way the two of you challenge one another... can you put into words what it is like working with Alexandra?
Austen: The best way to describe working with Al would be -- easy. We became really close really quickly during shooting and kind of developed this unspoken 'no holds barred' approach to working with each other. Both of us are pretty uninhibited as people and love trying to push each other further and further which is pretty similar to 'Jasper' and 'Eleanor' I guess... maybe a little less dark than those two! Only a little though.
TRS: If you had to describe Alexandra in one word... what would it be? And if she had to describe you in one word, what do you think it would be?
Austen: I would say sexy and Alex would say sexy as well - except I would do it in one word and Alex would struggle to keep it to a minimum of one hundred!!
Photo courtesy of E! Entertainment
TRS: You had this really great moment where your character gets to essentially punch the future King of England in the face (William Moseley). Was that as fun to shoot as I imagine it would have been?
Austen: [Laughs] Yeah that was a great scene to shoot. There was so much going on in that scene, and we shot it at like 3 o'clock in the morning and the end of a really long week and it was a really hot night, but I love shooting scenes with lots of us in. Especially if they involve punching Will.
TRS: For me, one of the most exciting things about The Royals is the incredible ensemble cast. Is there anyone in particular that you haven't gotten to work with yet that you would like to do so?
Austen: A lot of my storyline in the first season is tied in with 'Princess Eleanor,' so usually if I'm in scenes with more of the cast it's in an "official bodyguard" sense so 'Jasper' is usually on duty and behaving himself. Which is his and mine's least favourite thing to do. So I'd love to see how they would write him interacting with other characters outside of that. I'd love to shoot some wild night out with the other princesses, 'Maribel' and 'Penelope.' I love those two girls Hatty [Preston] and Lydia [Rose Bewley], and they properly crack me up, so I'm almost a million percent sure I wouldn't even get through the scene, but it'd be worth it!
TRS: Have you had a favorite moment during filming so far?
Austen: Season one is such a roller coaster for 'Jasper' and 'Eleanor' - there are so many highs and lows. And for me it's just that, rather than a specific moment it's the relationship we got to play out and develop every day. I love being part of this show, and I love working with everyone on it. So for me just being part of it is my favourite moment... Oh, and the time me and Alex broke the set of the tunnels in episode five because we did what we did too hard! [Laughs]
Photo courtesy of E! Entertainment
TRS: Have you noticed any differences between the way the show is received in the U.S. vs the UK?
Austen: I mean the response from fans online all over the world has been insanely awesome, but it's hard to judge when you are not in the country. I live in London and so it's really nice to see people responding to the show well at home. I think people here are - or at least were - a little more confused about the whole concept of the royal family being a fictional one, but whatever, they'll get used to it. But everyone in the U.S. who's into it and behind the show seems (I hope) to be loving it, and that's all we could have wanted.
TRS: Since you portray a character with many secrets, do you have any secrets of your own that you would like to share with your fans?
Austen: Nice try.
THE ROYALS AIRS SUNDAYS AT 10PM ON E!
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Interview by Pamela Thomas