The Big Issue: Tom in Last Christmas is smart, handsome, kind – he seems too good to be true, but these are all words that could describe yourself, and you’re real, right?
Tom is the breath of fresh air that Emilia’s character Kate needs in her life. He has this air about him of free-will, of not conforming, not caring what people think about him and being very present in time. He is not a slave to his mobile phone, and that’s an attribute that we lack in our lives sometimes.
It feels like he’s probably never logged onto Twitter.
We open ourselves to criticism much more, we allow random trolls online to dictate how we feel. When you live without that there’s a weight lifted from your shoulders.
Is Christmas extra special because that’s when people do switch off and slow down?
People travel halfway across the world to spend Christmas Day playing offline board games like Monopoly and Risk, all those games that start arguments. That’s living in the present, retouching each other’s lives.
The Big Issue has inspired the launch of 120 street papers globally, including sister titles in Australia, South Africa, Japan, Taiwan and Korea.
Do you have any Christmas traditions?
We live out in the beautiful Surrey countryside and a few years ago I said let’s go out for some fresh air to work off that stuffing. We made it a Christmas tradition, to talk about life and be a family. That’s exactly what we started doing.
You moved to the UK from Singapore when you were young. Do you remember what your first British Christmas was like?
Definitely the cold is one of the things I remember. It was all fascinating to me. Spending time in Singapore over the last ten years really highlights the need for cold weather during Christmas because it makes you feel so much more Christmassy.
What are the ingredients needed for a good Christmas film?
There has to be a number of things – love, jeopardy, happiness, wish fulfilment, dreams that come true and a little bit of Christmas magic in there – things that can’t be explained.
How has the success of Crazy Rich Asians helped change the film industry?
Crazy Rich Asians, Black Panther, all these films coming out with people with different ethnicities playing important roles – I think Hollywood is really opening up to it and it’s the start of something. I do believe I’m at a point in Hollywood’s history where things are really changing. I’m excited to see what I’m allowed to be a part of.
Last Christmas is out in cinemas from November 15