The Devil Is in the Detail: 'Lucifer' Star Reveals Music Behind the Man

Star Tom Ellis takes THR into the mind, and the music, of his devilish new character.
Lucifer still 1 - H 2016  Courtesy of FOX

There’s been no shortage of comic book adaptations these past few TV seasons. But as midseason premieres continue to roll out this month, Fox is taking a stab at another with DC Comics' Lucifer, starring Tom Ellis in the lead role.

Developed by director Len Wiseman (Underworld) and showrunner Joe Henderson, Lucifer is a modern-day take of what happens when the devil himself decides he’s bored with hell and heads to Los Angeles to manage a nightclub and sin amongst the humans. In this version, he also happens to team up with a female detective (Lauren German) to solve crimes.

“The amount of people who have told me I’m perfect for this part, like my friends and family, is slightly worrying,” Ellis tells The Hollywood Reporter. “His openness is where the fun is. I never at any point wanted to make this character arch. He just didn’t strike me as that person. His sense of fun is infectious, and that’s how he gets to people.”

According to Ellis, the real selling point was when the original draft of the pilot suggested the series open up to “Gimme Shelter” by The Rolling Stones. By the time the pilot wrapped that song had been dropped (“it was far too expensive to use”). But it had inspired Ellis to create his own playlist for the character.

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"I took whatever music was already suggested within the scripts and added to that,” he says. “The character has kind of this timeless, great '50s rock vibe coupled with an Oscar Wilde character speech. It was kind of like this love child of Noel Coward and Mick Jagger.”

While filming the pilot in Vancouver, Ellis began listening to the playlist whenever he wasn’t shooting. With 38 songs and counting, he maintains that it never got boring, but started to serve as a memory sense tool instead.

“I’d find myself in the gym at the hotel working out, and then in between lifting or whatever trying to get Lucifer’s walk down,” says Ellis. “'Devil’s Haircut' by Beck was on my playlist before the show. Anything that’s on my playlist that makes the show I’m like, ‘Yes!’”

The actor has since shared his playlist with showrunner and executive producer Joe Henderson, who listens to that and another collection of devilish rock 'n' roll music whenever he writes.

“Music is very important to our show, and our challenge honestly is not having too many wink songs about the devil,” adds Henderson. “Our challenge is moderation. But really it’s like Lucifer, this guy loves rock 'n' roll, he loves good music. He’s old school, so what we’re trying to play with is a good mix of old school music and new music that represents that rock 'n' roll mentality.”

Below, Ellis shares a sampling of his playlist.

“Fame,” David Bowie

“Smoke on the Water,” Deep Purple

“Back in Black,” AC/DC

“Cocaine,” Eric Clapton

“The Man Who Sold the World,” David Bowie

“Two Fingers,” Jake Bugg

“Sympathy for the Devil,” The Rolling Stones

“Ring of Fire,” Johnny Cash

“Rebel Rebel,” David Bowie

“Purple Haze,” Jimi Hendrix

Lucifer debuts Monday, Jan. 25, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Fox and on CTV in Canada. 

Do you think the TV show will live up to the comics? Sound off in the comments below. 

Twitter: @amber_dowling

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