Always the bridesmaid, never the bride.
That’s how I’m starting to feel with the world of celebrity interviews. Recently, myself and numerous other writers and journalists were on a conference call with Tom Mison aka Ichabod Crane on Fox’s hit TV series Sleepy Hollow. I had my pen ready, with my palms sweating, anticipating asking my questions. Unfortunately (again), I wasn’t able to. He was only available for half an hour, as eight lucky reporters spoke to him. But I did listen as Tom Mison talks Sleepy Hollow and here’s what I heard.
For those who follow the show, Sleepy Hollow does a nice job balancing the disturbing nature of its material and the humor brought from a man who is a fish out of water. Commenting on his character, Mison states, “I think it’s trying to work out how moody someone would be when they come out of the ground after 200 years…It’s finding the balances, like the balances between that and the balance between Crane trying to hide his confusion at the world and when it suddenly comes out.” A definite challenge for the actor, Mison admits “It’s a really difficult part to play, but I think that’s what makes it so satisfying. There’s lots for me to sink my teeth into.” As I watch Sleepy Hollow, Mison is definitely the glue holding the show together. He not only links the historical events of Sleepy Hollow to today, but he is incredibly fun to watch.
The cast of Sleepy Hollow is strong. The central figures work well together, and many of the returning actors such as John Cho, Clancy Brown and John Noble have been terrific choices. Mison brought up an interesting point about such decisions. “It’s surprising, the actors who are coming in for characters. I think very few people would imagine that John Cho would become the baddy.” This is part of Sleepy Hollow’s charm; things aren’t always as they seem. The creators, being a part of the highly successful Star Trek movie reboot, have some cache in the entertainment world and are able to wrangle actors who carry significant weight, even if they are only in one or two episodes.
One of my most intriguing questions for Mison, which I wish I could have asked (sniff, sniff) revolved around his clear chemistry with Nicole Beharie who plays Abbie Mills. When asked about this Mison retorted, “I think it was right off the bat… I think we’re very similar actors. We both like to play with what the other actor gives us, and we both like to be generous with each other. We know that the good stuff, and what everyone refers to as chemistry, is actually generosity.” One thing is clear: the two work effortlessly onscreen together.
With as much levity brought to Sleepy Hollow by Crane, one might believe that some of that on camera humor was unscripted. Mison speaks to the contrary, “We tend to stick to the script. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of adlibbing. I think there’s a story that the writers and the directors want to tell, and I don’t think it’s up to an actor to act or detract from that. It’s our job to tell their story in as imaginative a way as possible.” For a writer, Mison would be a dream to work with. He knows his part in the grand scheme of storytelling and focuses solely on that to preserve what the other creative talents have done.
All in all, Mison came across humble, humorous, and generally a delight. He was happy to take questions and lavished the love for his Sleepy Hollow cast mates and creators. He was as polished off screen as he appears every Monday night on Fox. Although it was disappointing not able to ask Tom even one question, there is always a silver lining. He parted with these words, “I’m sorry for everyone who didn’t get a chance to ask a question, but thank you for being patient despite no reward at the end. Now I’m openingly laughing at you.”
So I’ve got that going for me.