Tom Ellis (‘Lucifer’) on his lead character: ‘It’s always more fun to play a baddie,’ but it’s ‘the ultimate redemption story’

“It’s always more fun to play a baddie,” Tom Ellis declares with a knowing grin about playing the titular Devil on Netflix’s blockbuster fantasy drama “Lucifer.” For our recent webchat, he adds, “It is cathartic in a way, as an actor, to be able to play a character that says everything that you probably would want to say in real life, but can’t get away with saying.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.

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Ellis is the leading actor as Lucifer Morningstar, the Devil himself, who abandons Hell for Los Angeles where he runs his nightclub Lux and consults for the LAPD. The series co-stars Lauren German as Detective Chloe Decker, Kevin Alejandro as Detective Dan Espinoza, D. B. Woodside as Amenadiel, Lesley-Ann Brandt as Mazikeen, Rachael Harris as Dr. Linda Martin and Aimee Garcia as Ella Lopez. The series was developed by Tom Kapinos, based on the DC Comics character created by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth, and Mike Dringenberg for the comic book series “The Sandman.”

Amid the compelling fantasy mythology and often joyously irreverent dialogue, “Lucifer” has also evolved over the years into a fascinating depiction of this central figure, literally the Devil, who is much more than meets the eye. While we expect Lucifer to be nefarious and unethical, he’s also quite sincere, emotionally intelligent, vulnerable and relatable. “I knew that if we had any longevity to this series, then he’s someone who was going to evolve as a person very much on a journey,” he agrees. “I always thought the show was a journey about redemption, like the ultimate redemption story of the most irredeemable of characters perceived by humans over history.”

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“Lucifer” premiered on Fox in 2016, but was unceremoniously cancelled by the network after three seasons. Shortly thereafter, the show was revived by Netflix, after which it exploded to become its most popular series alongside flagship programs “Bridgerton,” “Cobra Kai” and “The Crown,” regularly ranking as its number one program (regardless of format) according to the streamer’s weekly public ranking chart. The fifth season of “Lucifer” was well received by critics, scoring a “fresh” 85% rating at Rotten Tomatoes, and the show has been renewed for a sixth and final season of 10 episodes, with Netflix yet to announce a premiere date.

“I was gutted,” Ellis admits when we was informed that Fox had axed the show. “It was mind-blowing, and I felt awful about the whole thing until it was announced that the show was cancelled. That was the moment I started to feel better because my phone just blew up it went absolutely crazy and it kept going crazy for days,” he explains about the outcry from fans. “It just kept snowballing and snowballing and then, and then it happened,” he says of the Netflix pick-up, adding that “it is amazing, because we feel so vindicated now.”

“They’ve been amazing for us,” Ellis shares about working with Netflix. “We haven’t really changed the show an awful lot, but there is a kind of freedom to the show, I think that that’s come with being on Netflix,” he explains. “Now everyone’s on the same season and it drops at the same time it’s like this sort of global juggernaut and it’s just it’s quite an overwhelming experience when the show drops, to be honest!”

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