The Last Word with Torrance Coombs, BFA'05
Q: What or who makes you laugh out loud?
A: Spooky-eyed horses get me right in the funnies for some reason.
Torrance Coombs rose to fame as the horribly-villainous-yet-alluringly-handsome Thomas Culpepper in Showtime’s popular series The Tudors.
In grade school he joined the choir in an attempt to break out of his shell, which apparently did the trick because he soon landed his first acting role as the hip-swivelling, tail-swinging Rum Tum Tugger in the school production of Cats. In his determination to truly “nail” the character, Coombs studied videos of Elvis Presley in concert.
Coombs’ love of acting continued throughout high school, eventually leading him to the acting program at UBC. After graduation, he launched into the theatre scene, including two seasons at Vancouver’s prestigious Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival. He’s appeared in TV shows including Supernatural, Battlestar Galactica, Haven, Heartland, Endgame, and jPod and this year can be seen in the upcoming film Liars All, as well as the recently released Kill For Me.
Coombs is currently in Dublin, Ireland, filming CW network’s pilot Reign – a historical drama chronicling the rise to power of Mary Queen of Scots. It’s been four years since Coombs was in Dublin filming The Tudors, and according to his tweets he’s clearly missed the charm of the city, especially the pints of Guinness.
What is your most prized possession?
Either my acoustic guitar or my severed head from The Tudors. I go back and forth.
Describe the place you most like to spend time.
I spend most of my time in my living room. I’d rather be spending my time travelling the world.
Who was your childhood hero?
I think the closest thing I had to a hero was my dad, who was actually a prof at UBC for a long time. Before Wikipedia existed, he knew all the answers. He was never afraid to say “I don’t know,” but he rarely needed to.
What was the last thing you read?
The Dunk & Egg novellas from George R. R. Martin. They’re every bit as amazing as the main Song of Ice and Fire series.
What or who makes you laugh out loud?
Spooky-eyed horses get me right in the funnies for some reason.
What’s the most important lesson you ever learned?
Listen! (It’s so much easier said than done. I’m still working on it.)
What’s your idea of the perfect day?
I’m lying in bed watching hockey and eating bacon. Suddenly, I get a phone call offering me a role in a movie that shoots in Europe.
(Trek Note: Coombs recently landed a role in the CW ’s drama pilot, Reign, and is currently in Dublin, Ireland.)
What was your nickname at school?
I’ve got one friend who calls me Mommy. I call him Daddy. Maybe one day we’ll invite children into the fold?
What would be the title of your biography?
Pretty Eyes and Dumb Luck.
If a genie granted you one wish, what would it be?
To make a first-world lifestyle sustainable for the entire planet in perpetuity. Or maybe just open an In-n-Out Burger in Canada.
What item have you owned for the longest time?
An old joke book. Sample joke: What is the difference between a running man and a running dog? The man wears trousers and the dog pants!
What is your latest purchase?
A pair of combat boots from a military surplus store. They give me a decidedly manly gait when a role calls for it.
Whom do you most admire (living or dead) and why?
Anyone who is unafraid to be themselves. Maybe it's because I'm an actor, but I have a lot of trouble trying not to be someone else.
What would you like your epitaph to say?
If you could invent something, what would it be?
A teleporter. Air travel is such an inefficient way to see the world.
In which era would you most like to have lived?
I'm pretty happy in this one. I don't know if I'd have survived in any other.
What are you afraid of?
Failure. Success. Bears.
Name the skill or talent you would most like to have.
The ability to make anybody happy.
Which three pieces of music would you take to that desert island?
Decemberists - The Crane Wife
Arcade Fire - Funeral
Depeche Mode - Violator
Which famous person (living or dead) do you think (or have you been told) you most resemble?
People often mistake me for Morgan Freeman.
What is your pet peeve?
Flagrantly bad grammar.
What are some of your UBC highlights?
The plays I was involved in while I was in the theatre program, and the people I got to know. UBC Improv. A few messy nights at the Pit.