Tom Cullen

Kaleem Aftab
David Burton

Romance? Tom Cullen stirs in his seat. In the new film Weekend, British director Andrew Haigh’s recently released discourse on relationships, the rugged actor is lust personified. Cullen’s character, Russell, meets artist Glen (Chris New) in a Nottingham gay club on a Friday night, and they end up spending the weekend in a loved-up haze of bars, train stations, and, of course, the bedroom, where Russell is coaxed into talking into a voice recorder about coming out for Glen’s latest art project and thus reveals himself to be a quixotic soul. The performance in the film won the 26-year-old Welsh-born Cullen best actor at the Nashville Film Festival, but off camera, he is more reluc- tant about making grand gestures of love. “I think the older you get, the more lax you get, and the less romantic you are,” he says. Cajoled, he does admit to having done some rather romantic deeds early on. “When I was 17, I had my first proper girlfriend, and on Valentine’s Day, I painted a canvas of her, bought her a massage, put flowers on the stairs, and ran a bath.” Cullen wonders if she’s still got the canvas. He certainly no longer has the girlfriend, having parted ways with her in his early 20s—along with dog, house, and a job running a Mexican restaurant— to attend drama school in London. He hated the famous Central School of Speech and Drama (“Too many rich kids!”) before adventuring on to “some of the best years of my life” at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. Presently, Cullen is back in London, where he’s happily living in Stoke Newington and laughs that he’s totally embraced cliché hipster accoutrements: “Beard, fixie bike, and iPhone.” Facial hair, though, is needed for his next role, in the Ridley Scott–co-executive produced miniseries World Without End. The 14th- century English historical drama is set two centuries after its predecessor, The Pillars of the Earth. “I play a salt-of-the-earth farmer who ages 15 years,” he enthuses. “It’s going to be epic!”


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April 2014

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