THE CAMBRIDGE CREW
THE THESP BESTIES
Budding bromance: Tom with Bill Nighy, above, Ralph Fiennes, right, and Benedict Cumberbatch, far right Things quickly got starrier as Tom’s acting career took off. In 1996 he formed a close bond with Ralph Fiennes after they met backstage at the Almeida Theatre, North London. Ralph reports he was immediately won over by Tom’s effusive wit, claiming, ‘When people meet Tom for the first time, he quickly turns on the charm. He can have a room in stitches.’ Two years later, Liam Neeson became a good friend after they appeared on stage in (at the time, one reviewer claimed Tom was ‘too sexy for his size’).
Tom continues to attract an admiring circle of A-listers, including Bill Nighy (they’ve starred in five films together, with Bill claiming Tom’s work is ‘so sophisticated that you can’t see the acting’) and Benedict Cumberbatch after they performed at literary event last November. Social ascent started early thanks to a private education at Abingdon school alongside the members of Radiohead, who Tom drafted in for a charity event in 2004. At Cambridge University, he formed a close friendship with the future James Bond director Sam Mendes, who cast him in several plays alongside social anthropology student Nick Clegg. Tom and the former deputy PM starred together in Sam’s 1988 version of and remain friends (they even share a godchild).