White Lines centres around Laura Haddock’s Zoe, who heads to the party island to find the truth behind the death of her brother, Axel, a DJ from Manchester who dies in mysterious circumstances. Played by Tom Rhys Harries, Axel could become the internet’s new bad boy boyfriend as the show, created by the people behind Money Heist, hits Netflix. Adios, Connell and your chain!
The statement, ‘what goes on in Ibiza, stays in ,’ has kept a wealth of secrets over time and covered up a multitude of extra circular activities. But ’s latest addictive 10-part show, White Lines is set to bring those secrets to the forefront in a wild murder mystery set on the White Isle of Ibiza during the 90s. So, buckle up for high drama and some absolute bangers as it’s the closest we are coming to a European island this summer!
As I zoom into the world of Tom, I wonder if he’s ready for overnight Netflix fame? “I have to hide some skeletons quite well… I’m joking,” he laughs before composing himself. “I have been doing this since 2012, so I have gotten to know myself as an actor and as a person. I don’t think I wobble easily. Wait, that’s a terrible quote!”
As we discuss his life in lockdown, “watching a lot of films, trying to do something productive, half starting, finishing and just eating popcorn,” get your own popcorn and get acquainted with the charming Tom Rhys Harries as our chat, according to the man himself, “turns into a therapy session,”…
How would you pitch White Lines?
A whodunit on acid! The show has a lot going on. I have never seen anything like it before, and if anything can give people a bit of escapism is a good thing. It’s a saturated world, full of crazy characters doing random sh*t!
Like Agatha Christie on acid, then?
Yes, Agatha Christie if she just dropped something before writing – woohoo! Agatha is my jam!
What did you learn about yourself through playing Axel?
I have been doing this a while to different levels, but it’s made me realise it doesn’t matter what the scale is because you start thinking about the reach of Netflix, you would lose the plot. I also learnt I don’t have as much stamina as much as I like to think I do in terms of partying and working!
You filmed White Lines on location in Ibiza, what was the wildest moment?
We did a lot of stuff! One of the things I was considering doing was getting a load of my friends over for my birthday but realised I had two-night shoots in a row which would mean I would wrap up filming at 5am on a Sunday, so that went out of the window. We had a lot of fun, but you couldn’t party and then do the work we had to do because you would not be able to operate.
It is very addictive viewing with a wealth of important issues around partying and drug use. What do you think is the most pressing issue this show brings up?
There is a real underlying rhythm and heartbeat of this show that is to do with familial grief, loss, how you deal with grief and mental health that really drives a lot of the character’s impulses. My character is dealing with the loss of a mother and he deals with his grief in a different way to his sister, played by Laura Haddock which is a cause of conflict between them. That is something that was very present in my mind, the kind of coping mechanisms you have in place to deal with any turbulence or upheaval in their lives.
How have you managed that idea of ‘turbulence’ in your own life?
I have been thinking about it a lot recently given the circumstances we are talking to each other in and the restrictions that have been put on us as a society for the benefit of our health services and personal health. A lot of my tools, coping mechanisms and how I stay on top of my mental health have been taking away from me. So, I have been thinking about how I can adapt, I exercise a lot, I write music – its’ not very good – but I am trying!
Being an actor how do you navigate the constant swing from rejection to acceptance?
You just have to take stuff on the chin. I have a very thick skin. I have countless more rejections than acceptances, but I choose to do this, so you have to accept that is part of that. It levels out in ways, as if you are lucky enough to work on things you are passionate about with people at the top of their game like I have on White Lines it balances out.
Is there a piece of advice that has helped you deal with those lower moments?
I really hold onto, ‘what is meant for you, won’t pass you by.’ I am not religious in particular, but I do believe that everything happens for a reason and that gives me some kind of peace. I think if anything is challenging in life and you can learn and grow from that it will benefit you in the long run.
What challenges did White Lines presented you?
I felt really early on and reading the scripts that I was really keen that Axel as someone who thought he could get whatever he wanted, when he wanted was very fit. I had just done a TV show called Unforgotten and in prep for that I was out of shape because the character was very loose, very unhappy and very damaged. But with Axel I was very keen for him to be very fit and ready to go for his approach to life. He feels like a character who is not real, as we only ever see him through how other people remember him. I did a lot of physical training which was really challenging at a company called 22. I loved every minute of it though, but it is very hard to sustain what I was doing!