“Sleepy Hollow” star Tom Mison is having quite a bit of fun playing Ichabod Crane in Fox’s new fall hit.
In breeches, a high-collared coat and knee high boots, he makes up the historical (he’s an Oxford professor from Revolutionary War times) and stylish half of the world’s newest apocalypse thwarting duo, alongside Nicole Beharie’s modern and spirited Lt. Abbie Mills.
“I don’t know whether we’ve got names yet, like a Brangelina type name,” Tom tells Access Hollywood, on the phone from North Carolina where the series is filmed. “I heard that we had ‘IchAbbie,’ or ‘AbbieCod.’”
How about “CrAbbie,” Access chimes in.
“It could be CrAbbie,” he laughs of the potential name for the pair who are cosmically linked and ready to fight off a head-seeking headless horseman (who is an expert in modern weaponry), a demon with ram horns and that ever-looming apocalypse. “I think one of the [show’s] writers is particularly keen on ‘CrAbbie.’”
Monikers aside, with a new episode on the way, this Monday at 9/8c on Fox, Access spoke with Tom about playing a man from another time, the trouble that comes with having a TV wife stuck in a netherworld, and what the Headless Horseman has in common with one of Matt Damon’s most famous roles.
AccessHollywood.com: What was it like on premiere night? You’re on Twitter, and people were going wild over the show.
Tom Mison: It was very cool. Fox have had a really, really good team who made sure lots of people knew about it and so, for this amount people to follow that up and actually watch it and seem to watch the whole thing and want to watch more episodes, it’s just such a treat.
Access: Did you get any calls from back home following the success of the premiere (which was seen by 10.1 million people)?
Tom: Oh yeah. I got a call from my mum the next morning. She Googled it to have a look at how it was received and she called to say, ‘Congratulations’ and all that stuff.
Access: But she added in, ‘Why aren’t you on ‘Eastenders,’ the national British soap? I am, of course, making a joke!
Tom: (Laughs) Do you know, I think I must be one of the only actors I know who has never even auditioned for a small part in ‘Eastenders.’ It’s escaped me. Maybe I’ll get an opportunity after this.
Access: In the season premiere, ‘Sleepy Hollow’ Ned Stark-ed John Cho … Can we expect these death shocks to continue? People probably saw John Cho and thought, ‘Yeah! John Cho is in the show.’ And then, it was Sean Bean ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 1 all over again.
Tom: (Laughs) Oh yeah, quite. Well, I mean there’s plenty more of that. The really good thing about ‘Sleepy Hollow’ is you have no idea who’s going to die, when. … But then equally, we showed in the pilot several people can come back to life, so you have no idea who’s going to come back. Death means very little in our Sleepy Hollow, so expect more surprise deaths and more surprise resurrections.
Access: Speaking of not dead, Ichabod’s wife, Katrina, is trapped in this portal world with a weird beast with ram horns on its head. How much is trying to free her going to propel his journey?
Tom: A lot. As well as averting the apocalypse, Ichabod’s main drive is that he finds out that his wife is trapped in this weird sort of purgatory and is imprisoned by some super demon — the uber demon — and so it’s trying to find out who that is, why she’s there and how we can get her out. That seems to be Ichabod’s main drive, whereas Ichabod and Abbie together seems to be about the apocalypse.
Access: Have you been finding people shipping Ichabod and Abbie, hoping for a relationship between those two characters, even though he’s married to a woman in a far off dimension?
Tom: Well, like you said, I’m married and death means nothing in our Sleepy Hollow so Ichabod’s still a married man, despite their being plenty of temptation in the real world.
Access: How would you describe Ichabod and Abbie’s relationship?
Tom: I don’t know whether they’d have chosen to hang out with each other. They’re kind of forced to because they are the two witnesses that can avert the apocalypse, so it’s a really nice dynamic that they irritate the hell out of each other. He, for obvious reasons because he’s a cantankerous, arrogant, confused man, and her, just because, well, she’s a smart arse. So they irritate each other, but they kind of love those irritations as well. That’s why I think it’s an interesting dynamic between ‘CrAbbie’ (laughs).
Access: Would you be open to a potential love scene with either of these women should producers throw it your way?
Tom: I wouldn’t dare speculate, but you can expect another female character to appear in the form of Abbie’s sister. There’s three girls for him to choose from.
Access: What will we get from Abbie’s sister? She’s been described as someone who took a left turn off the sanity trail.
Tom: Yeah, when Abbie and Jenny were kids and they both saw — as you eloquently described it — ‘the weird demon with ram horns,’ Abbie went into secret mode for fear of being locked up as being insane, whereas Jenny, she’s not gonna hide it. She doesn’t care if you think she’s mad or not and you discover that she’s a little more active in this quest to find out what’s happening with the demon world. She’s cool, she’s tough, she’s a really tough one. She’s got Abbie’s toughness, but it’s more in your face than Abbie’s is.
Access: Is Ichabod’s main goal this season to stop the apocalypse or is he just kind of trying to find a hiding place for that creepy head. It’s creepy, right, Tom?
Tom: It’s really good. The guys who have been making the props and the sets have just done such a remarkable job. That’s one of my favorites — the head and yes, it will certainly make a very important reappearance. … I mean, how do you balance out [stopping] the apocalypse and saving the woman you love from a netherworld? Luckily, it’s a question I don’t think many of us will have to answer (laughs).
Access: True. Now, the Headless Horseman — at the end of the first episode we found out he is a weapons expert. Should we be worried about more dangerous weapons and put guards around the A-Bomb?
Tom: (Laughs) I’m sure if he had access to the little briefcase with the codes, of course he’d use it in an instant. I think whatever he gets his hands on, he’ll be able to use it as a weapon. He’s like Jason Bourne, or, he is death in the form of Jason Bourne. He’ll grab something and he’ll kill you with it.
Access: Look out Matt Damon! So, fun question — do you think Ichabod will ever grab a pair of Levi’s or will he stick with the pantaloons/breeches?
Tom: It’s a subject that people seem to be very interested in is our sartorial choices. I don’t know. I think when you’ve been transported far away from home through 250 years, in Ichabod’s case, you try and hold on to whatever you have left of that and Ichabod’s coat and boots are certainly remnants. It’s like a security blanket. So far we’re [leaning] towards that being Ichabod’s look, but there is no doubt when he gets into more scrapes and he tears his britches, he’s going to have go and get something.
Access: Finally, let’s talk about the humor of the show — the show has a really good sense of humor. I think immediately about the car window scene in the pilot.
Access: Are we going to get to see more of that where the show makes fun of itself a little bit?
Tom: Absolutely and I think you’ve hit the nail on the head where it’s the show gets the joke. So we can keep it being very important and serious subject for all of the characters, but the show as a whole gets it and yes, there’s plenty of that. I think that’s probably the most important ingredient is that it stays slightly tongue and cheek. If it was very, very earnest, if we were earnestly saying these guys are saving the apocalypse from the man with no face and an axe, that would be harder to get on board with, I think. But the writers, they’re very, very clever and from Day 1, Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci and Len Wiseman have all been saying humor’s the key and I think it really works. They’ve struck a really nice balance and I’m really grateful for it.
Access: And thank God it wasn’t the 1970s when they had car windows you had to manually crank.
Tom: Oh! Winding. Exhausting. After three takes of that I’d be knackered.
“Sleepy Hollow” airs Mondays at 9/8c on Fox.
-- Jolie Lash