Most of us know Kyle Soller as the quintessential English gent Francis Poldark on our screens every Sunday evening. The guy who married Elizabeth, gambled away his mine and – after a failed suicide attempt – has now found a sort of charming equilibrium to his life.
Except when we sat down for a chat with Kyle, we made a discovery that shocked us to our core. He’s NOT ENGLISH. He’s very much American – and he sounds like this…
And there’s yet another twist: he’s friends with Tom Hughes, who plays Albert in ITV’s rival period drama, Victoria.
In fact, he’s full of surprises – as we found out when we interviewing him…
I’m picturing you watching TV in a trendy London apartment, maybe on an iPad with some oversized headphones…
I do catch up on shows on Netflix, yeah. But I’m actually more of a film watcher, and I’m a sucker for documentaries. I like to hunt out anything from Planet Earth to TED Talks. I go to the Curzon cinema in Bloomsbury as they have a dedicated documentary wing.
Crikey, I wasn’t expecting you to be American.
I know. I live in London. People stop me and say, “Oh my God, you’re American?” That’s the best review, for me. It’s a nice feeling that they believe my English accent.
We don’t have many American actors here. It’s more common for Brits to go to Hollywood.
Exactly – usually they clean up! They take all our jobs so I’m just getting one back for the team. I’ve worked with some amazing people on some really fun projects.
Are you surprised by the mania that Poldark has triggered?
Really surprised and very happy to see how it’s received. It’s crazy and wonderful. Aidan [Turner, who plays Ross] handles the attention extremely well. I’m glad I don’t have to go through it. I am his body double, though.
Sure, we believe you. Do you prefer American or British TV?
I wouldn’t say one was better than the other. You don’t really do 24 episodes of a drama over here, do you? I haven’t worked on American television but they’ve shifted to exploring a character over many episodes. It’s more satisfying to work on a long shoot.
Do you have any guilty pleasures – some terrible game show?
I’m sure I do, I just can’t think of any. This isn’t guilty at all, but I’ve almost caught up with Happy Valley. It’s amazing. I just loved it. It was pushing the boundaries. Sarah Lancashire is a great actor.
Do you listen to the radio much?
I listen to 6 Music pretty much every day when I’m at home. It’s an amazing space to find new music, and the presenters are fantastic.
What would you do if you had a spare hour at home?
I’d probably play on the guitar.
Are you any good? You don’t have to be modest.
Yeah, I think I’m great at playing the A flat chord! No, I’m OK. When I first came to London, my friend Tom Hughes [Albert in Victoria] gave me CDs with a load of great British bands from the 1980s and 90s such as the Stone Roses and Spiritualized, which I had missed out on. It gave me a musical education.
Are you inseparable from your mobile phone?
I’ve got a healthy relationship with my phone. We chat sometimes, you know, but we don’t have to see each other every day. I’m not on Twitter or anything like that.
Are you the outdoors type?
My parents had five boys and they just wanted us to be outside all the time. I’m glad they did. I drove my poor mother insane with constant visits to the hospital. I loved pretending to be a lost boy like Peter Pan, jumping off buildings and swinging on trees – being wild and reckless with my body and using the world as my gymnasium.
Which is how you got that six-pack that Aidan Turner passes off as his own, right?
Exactly! I usually keep that on the down-low, but there you go. The secret’s out now.
Poldark continues tonight on BBC1 at 9pm