Spike’s perceptive nature is laced with intuition leading him into curiosity and wonder which fuelled the topics we chatted about – art, creation and identity. As well as touching upon the pains and pleasures of growing up which is of equal importance to the gift of having people to fall back on if we need it. These topics surrounding support and open communication with others came up a lot during our time together, as we dug deep into Spike’s role in the new ITVX series Tell Me Everything.
Constantly opening up space to allow his thoughts and emotions flow freely, while always embodying an upbeat and self-assured optimism. Bex Aston captures this within Spike beautifully through her lens, while Colin Zuill styles the British actor in harmonious dark hues with the occasional addition of brighter sweaters and shirts beaming against honeyed rays of the sun. Chatting with Spike feels similar to sitting with an old friend you haven’t seen in years, but picking up right where you left off. Exuding an aura that is both calm and euphoric, our conversation felt the exact same.
'Tell Me Everything' launches on 8th December on ITVX, with all episodes made available at once.
Are you a tea or coffee person?
I actually don't drink either. If someone were to offer me tea or coffee, I would take it, but I don't really believe anybody truly likes coffee. I think a lot of people wake up in the morning and drink it because it wakes them up. It’s so horrible, coffee is just not for me. I’ll usually take a water, but sometimes I’m okay with tea. If you’d want to have a tea I’d be like, “Yeah okay I’ll have one.” Even with tea though, I have to put in loads of sugar and a bunch of milk. All milky and sugary, it’s not even tea anymore!
If you had to describe yourself to someone who didn't know you, what would you say?
I don't know how to describe myself, that’s probably one of the hardest things to do. To be completely honest, I'd probably have to ring a mate and ask them to describe me. I wouldn't be able to do it myself. But if my mate says the wrong things … I’d have to make sure they’re being nice about it!
What about if you could be any environment or place in the world, what do you think it would look like?
This question really gets the brain working. I'm going to say if I were a place, it’d just be Leicestershire, which is where I’m from. It’s nothing fancy but I love it there, it’s so cool.
Whether big or small, what are you most excited about at this moment in time?
I did a pilot, and it's just been greenlit! It’s for a series called Never Let Me Go based on the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro. I'm really excited about that, to start filming, and just see what the future holds. What about you, what are you most excited about at this moment in time, whether big or small?
Oh, turning the tables on me! I’m really excited about the autumn season right now, and I love seeing everyone get all dressed up for Halloween. Do you like Halloween?
I'm more for Christmas, but Halloween is always great too. I like this time of year in general. It’s probably my favourite time of the year. I really like Bonfire Night, it’s always great and I love the feeling of that night. I have a lot of friends who have birthdays right now as well, so it’s always a full month. It’s definitely my favourite part of the year.
Also, congratulations on the show being picked up, that’s so exciting! I’ll have to read the book now.
Yeah, the book is great! I’ve read it a few times now. I don't really have time to read often and I’m also dyslexic, but I always enjoy reading when I do. When I pick up a book, I get hooked.
You’re starring in the upcoming ITVX series Tell Me Everything. In your own words, how would you describe your character on the show?
So, I play Louis Green. He's just this kind of awkward ball of nerves, and I feel like Louis never really can read the room very well, which is really funny. He’s on this journey that I think almost everyone takes as a young person. He's quite lost. He's confused. But you see him just trying to work out what's cool and what's right for him.
How important was a sense of community and support while working on this specific project?
The aspects of community and support were very important, it’s really important with anything you do but especially for this show. We were making something about young people who are tackling lots of different emotions and going through lots of different things. It was important to have community and support because you want to do the show justice, and you want to make it as real as possible. With that in mind, you want to have people you can talk to, bounce off of, and share experiences with.
On the topic of community and support, who would you say your partner in crime is?
I don't know if I have a partner in crime. I have quite a small friendship group, so there are four or five of my close friends from back home in Leicestershire. But, I'd say the person I talk to the most and feel most comfortable telling everything to is probably my older sister, Lily. I wouldn't say she's my partner in crime, because I don't think she'd want to do any crime, and neither would I! But I feel like I can tell my sister anything and I feel like she can tell me everything too. There are only fifteen months between us, so we're really close in age.
What was it that drew you to the story of Tell Me Everything?
When I first read the scripts, I was seeing how much there was and how much my character Louis had to do, things that I’d be doing for the first time on screen. This was all so exciting for me because it was going to be my first chance to do loads of things I hadn’t ever done before. So, that’s what kind of drew me to this. With the experiences Louis goes through, there’s so much there that you’ll see in the show, and to be the one portraying it is really cool. A lot of things happen in the span of the show, even just in the first episode, and with Louis, as the show goes on it only gets crazier.
The show touches upon topics regarding mental health and identity. How important do these narratives feel to you personally to have in the media right now?
Oh, so important. I don't always feel like the media is a good thing, but it’s not always a bad thing either. I definitely think topics around identity and mental health should be spoken about all the time. It’s something which should be shoved into people's faces really because they’re the main things we have to talk about and not just within the younger generations. Mental health is something everyone needs to start talking about more. If you feel down about something, then definitely speak out. Just go out and have a conversation with someone about it. But I think the media definitely helps a lot with it.
We are living in a time where social media and the internet are very prominent. What is your personal relationship with social media?
Social media is a funny one, I don't like posting my whole life on there. I'm not really on too many social media sites. I have Instagram, but I don't have Twitter, Facebook, Tik Tok or anything like that. I try to stay off all of them, and try to stay off social media as much as possible in general. I'm a big fan of Instagram though. As I said, I don't have to post my whole life there, and I feel like that's fine. I still second-guess myself when I post though, it can be really overwhelming.
Can you share any types of self-care you do when life may get a little overwhelming?
For self-care, I listen to Otis Redding and go for a walk. I haven’t gone on a lot of walks in London yet since moving here, but where I live in Leicestershire is amazing. I don't think there's any walk in London that's going to be better than where I live in the countryside, I used to just listen to music and walk for a few hours. But I have been on a few walks around some of the parks in London, which is nice.
Your character on the show, Louis, is queer and learning to navigate his sexuality. In the past few years, there has been a big arc in stories surrounding LGBTQIA+ narratives. Do you find that Tell Me Everything is a part of this arc?
Yeah, I think Tell Me Everything is definitely a part of that arc. I don't want to give too much away, but there's a character Regan who is very comfortable with her sexuality whereas my character Louis is just trying to find himself. There's this scene where he's trying to speak about it but doesn't really know how, and I think that's a really nice scene which shows he wants to talk to someone about it. I definitely think Tell Me Everything is a part of that arc.
What have you learned about yourself by portraying Louis in Tell Me Everything?
To not care what people think so much. Louis goes on this weird journey where he’s trying to change to make other people think he’s cool but it doesn't really work. So, just be yourself and don't try to fool people by pretending you're something else – that’s what I’ve learned from Louis. It’s something I’ve always thought about before as well, but I never really put it into practice, so now I’m trying to follow through with that mindset. It’s a hard thing to do, but if someone’s judging you, it’s probably because they’re internally judging themselves as well, so you just have to not care.
How do you think the younger generations are leading older generations when it comes to opening safe spaces and having conversations about mental health and identity?
I feel like the older generation, when they were young, those topics maybe weren’t something that they really talked about too much. Now it's something that is at the core of youth. So, the young people of this generation… Well, I'm still young, too! [laughs] But the younger generations are definitely showing the older generations that speaking about mental health and identity is the right thing to do. I think it's certainly only going to get better from here with opening spaces and conversations surrounding these topics. A lot more people are starting to talk about their own struggles or experiences, and mental health of course affects everyone, so it’s good to have these open conversations with others. Shows in the media have been a big part of opening up conversations about these topics too, and I think Tell Me Everything is definitely one of them.
How is the celebration of adolescence just as important to display in the media as the darker and grittier parts of growing up?
The celebration of adolescence is so important, I think the whole aspect of growing up is actually super great. Growing up should be a great thing. Everyone goes through it, and I think when you sit down and see stuff that's really dark and depressing about growing up, you don't want to see it all of the time. But if you see a show about adolescence which is really light and colourful, it’s just as much about the narratives of growing up but in a way which celebrates it more. It’s exciting to watch something like that. For younger people who haven't fully grown up yet, being older is what you can't wait for. I watched the show Skins after I'd grown up a bit, but I think if I had watched that show before I’d gone to college, I would have been like, “I can't wait to get to college!” But celebrating adolescence and the now is really important too. Celebrating adolescence is just as important as showing the dark sides of it, even though those darker moments are great too because they help people open up those harder conversations.
What’s one thing you hope viewers take away from Tell Me Everything?
Through the narratives on mental health which happen throughout the show, I hope people see how friends can be just as important as family. I hope people will start talking to their friends more – if you have a problem, just speak to them. I think Tell Me Everything does a great job of showing that. Even if it just helps one person feel a little better, I’d be so happy with that. We need to start talking to the people we trust around us, I hope the show helps people do that.
What is a passion of yours outside the world of acting?
I love art and all things creative, whether that's painting or fashion or poetry. I always say with anything creative, I like to just dive into it. I thrive most in that way, I'd rather do a painting than sit down and watch a show. Although both of those things are definitely forms of art, and almost everything can be seen as art if you think about it but I just love being creative. Another thing I love is rock climbing. I haven’t been in a while, since I’ve been down in London, but that’s something I really enjoy. I don’t go free soloing or anything crazy, but I do like bouldering a lot.
Do you like going and looking at art as well along with creating it?
Yeah, I love art galleries and museums. I’ve gone to most of the ones in London already. When we were filming Tell Me Everything, I was staying pretty near London, so I did all the touristy stuff then. All the museums are so great here. I also really love reading poetry as well as an art form to look at. I have this massive poetry book filled with loads of different authors, it’s really cool. I’m not super deep into poetry, but it’s similar to music for me, where if I hear a song, something just clicks when I’m listening to it. It’s the same for me with reading poetry.
What feels like your biggest form of inspiration at the moment?
Going to the cinema and seeing people on a big screen inspires me so much. I just recently went and saw The Banshees of Inisherin which was amazing. Watching Colin Farrell and Barry Keoghan on screen was so inspiring. Every time I go to the cinema to watch something and see someone do an amazing performance, I always leave thinking; “One day that’s what I want to do.” So, going to the cinema always gets me really inspired. I don't even go to the cinema that much, but when I do go the first thing I think of is always how much I’d love to be doing that.
What is a piece of advice you’ve received that you always carry with you?
That it's okay to fail. Someone was saying to me that even the biggest actors in the world would have gone into an audition room at one point in their life and failed, but they're still the biggest actors in the world now. I'm still so young. I'm 21, and this is my time when failing is okay. It helps to go in with the mindset of, “If this fails, that's okay and I'll be fine with that.” It might get me down for a few days, but then I'm fine. At least I'm learning, and not everything is going to be 100% perfect all the time. You have to grow and it’s definitely okay to fail, that’s the advice I run with.