What You Don't Know About Behind Her Eyes Star Tom Bateman

The new Netflix limited series "Behind Her Eyes" ascended to become the No. 1 most-viewed media on the streaming service, Forbes reported on February 19, and fans are infatuated with the actor who plays David on the show. It is based on the bestselling book by Sarah Pinborough and follows Louise, a single mother "who enters a world of twisted mind games when she begins an affair with her psychiatrist boss while secretly befriending his mysterious wife," according to the series' official description.

British actor Tom Bateman portrays David, Louise's boss and love interest, and while he might be a relative newcomer to American audiences, his talent is no surprise to viewers in the UK. According to his IMDb profile, the 31-year-old actor was a first-season regular on the British-French crime drama The Tunnel, which aired three seasons in France and the UK. He also was a recurring character on the BBC and Starz collaboration of "Da Vinci's Demons," which fictionalized Leonardo da Vinci's early life, and played Dr. Robert Jekyll in the UK's TV mini-series production of "Jekyll and Hyde" in 2015. 

He skydived without permission while filming a movie

In 2017, Bateman appeared on the American big screen alongside big-name actors in two major studio films: "Murder on the Orient Express," starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Judi Dench, and Johnny Depp, and "Snatched" starring Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn. In 2015, he talked with Marie Claire about working with Dench, sharing that the first time he met her was while working on a play together in London. "The first thing I said to Judi was, 'Hello, I'm sh***ing myself with nerves,'" he told the magazine, adding that her response was, "'Me too, that never goes away."' 

He also admitted to GQ UK that he had no idea who Amy Schumer was prior to being cast as her love interest in "Snatched." After looking her up, he decided she was a talented comedian, but admits his off-set antics got him in hot water during filming of that movie. He went skydiving without the executive producer's permission, which could have left him injured and delayed production, he explained.

Bateman also shared the screen with Liam Neeson in the 2019 movie "Cold Pursuit" in which he played a villainous drug dealer (per IMDb). 

He has a twin brother named Merlin

Born in Oxford, Oxfordshire, Bateman comes from a large working-class family. According to his profile on PBS, he has 13 siblings, one of whom is a twin brother named Merlin. He jokingly told GQ that when his family attends his premieres, he has to herd them "like cats."

In a video interview with People, the 6-foot-2 tall actor said he and his twin brother were the second youngest amongst his siblings. When asked how his twin brother feels about the actor's rising sex symbol status, Bateman laughed. "Merlin is better looking than me, so he will claim that as well," he said. He added that he looked almost identical to his younger brother, Ben.

He said his family was very proud, and he explained his siblings had a mix of various careers, including hospitality, teaching, and real estate. He added that he has siblings who are airline pilots and one who works for the Red Cross. He joked that he "was the stupidest one."

He'd love to play the next James Bond

For years, the handsome British actor's name has been rumored to be on the consideration list to play James Bond after Daniel Craig's exit from the role. In 2019, he told "Good Morning Britain" rumors about Bond casting followed any British actor in a tuxedo (via YouTube). "I don't think there's an actor alive who would say no that," he added. Other actors rumored to be in consideration include British actors Henry Cavill, Theo James, and Idris Elba, according to Yahoo! Movies.

When asked if he'd be interested in pursuing the role, Bateman told GQ UK that he'd be thrilled to get the role even though it wouldn't come without challenges. "I can't imagine the pressure of taking on that mantle, but it would be great to have a young Bond," he said.

If you want to see Bateman as Bond, don't get your hopes up, according to Celebrity Cover News, who reported the odds were not in his favor in 2019. Maybe the success of "Behind Her Eyes" will change that.

He's been in a lot of period dramas

As an acclaimed stage performer in the UK, Bateman seems to enjoy getting dressed in period costume and playing historical figures. He played the lead role of John Beecham in "Beecham House," a PBS "Masterpiece" series set in 1795 in Delhi during the Mughal Empire period (via PBS). He has also had a lead role in the UK mini-series "Vanity Fair," which was based on the 1848 novel of the same name by William Makepeace Thackeray (via IMDb).

He told PBS, "The reason I love filming period dramas, is that they instantly make you act differently. People don't talk about their feelings as much. They don't say, 'Oh, I really fancy you.' And you don't touch each other. So, you have to add another way of expressing those feelings which is really fun." In addition to these series, Batemen not only appeared in "Murder on the Orient Express" but is set to reprise his role in the upcoming sequel, "Death on the Nile," which is set in the 1930s. 

Tom Bateman is a member of the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company

Although Tom Bateman has become a film and television star, his first love is the stage, having fallen in love with the craft after being cast in a play, per The Scotsman. He participated in theater throughout school, attending the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. While he was still in school, he starred in a production of Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing" alongside "Doctor Who" stars Catherine Tate and David Tennant.

He still treads the boards as a member of the Kenneth Branagh Theater Company, where he's had the opportunity to work with such icons as Dame Judi Dench and, of course, Branagh himself. "I've admired [them] since I was about ten," he told the Daily Mail of working with his heroes in another Shakespeare play, "The Winter's Tale," as well as "Harlequinade" by Terence Rattigan. "I was starstruck every day at rehearsals."

Considering his resume, it will come as no surprise that Bateman is a huge fan of the Bard, saying that he wishes he could travel back in time to meet the playwright. "I've done so much research on him and there are so many unanswered questions," he said.

Tom Bateman is not a fan of social media

Social media is an effective tool for connecting with a fan base, and many actors wield it to grow their audience. There are a rare few who use it sparingly, and Tom Bateman is one of them. In an interview with Glass Magazine, he spoke about his distaste for the increasingly connected way we live our lives.

"I have a real dislike, or a recoil reflex, towards things like social media and phones. I hate my mobile phone," he said. "We, as human beings, are communal animals who connect and create. How do we conquer this planet? It's because of our ability to communicate, so it's a vital part of our being, our core."

Bateman doesn't have verified social media accounts, saying he prefers to do as much as possible face-to-face. "The problem with Zoom is that you become this tiny thing on a 2D-screen with a tiny voice coming out, and that's not you as a person," he said. Bateman is also against the carefully curated images of people on social media, citing the example of people posting snippets of a concert online instead of enjoying the show. "You're buying a fashion accessory to make people think that you are something," he told iNews. "So people will go: 'Oh that's a person who goes to Paul Simon concerts.' People construct who they want to be and they work from the outside, not the inside."

He's an intensely private person

Tom Bateman's dislike for social media isn't just about preferring to keep things more personal. He is also very selective about what he allows the public to know about him, telling The Scotsman that he doesn't like answering questions about his personal life — and who can blame him? Bateman may be an actor, but he doesn't seem to particularly relish the spotlight; as he put it, "I'm a bit of an old-fashioned person who keeps things private, I'm afraid."

The public often scrutinizes celebrities, but Bateman wants no part of that. "With this job people want so much from you and of course I understand, but if you don't keep that back, then what have you got left?" he said. "If you auction off parts of your life you are left with nothing but a bag of money and no soul."

Bateman even asks those close to him to dodge questions from the press, telling iNews that his family has been hounded by the paparazzi — much to his dismay. "I've learnt to grow a thick skin. But ... I think it is weird for them," he said.

He learned how to barbecue for his role in Behind Her Eyes

Actors often have to learn new skills for a project. Natalie Portman studied ballet for her role in "Black Swan" (via the Seattle Times). Margot Robbie spent a lot of time training on the ice to portray figure skater Tonya Harding in "I, Tonya," per The Hollywood Reporter. As for Tom Bateman, he learned how to barbecue for "Behind Her Eyes."

While barbecuing isn't a huge part of the show, Netflix execs apparently decided that Bateman's barbecue skills weren't up to snuff and that he needed to attend a workshop so that he could convincingly grill on screen. "The hilarious randomness of our jobs is that each new project has new challenges, such as having to sword fight or horse ride or suddenly have to know everything about the Medici family," the actor told British GQ

Barbecuing isn't the only skill Bateman picked up for the thriller. He also clocked a lot of hours learning to perfect a Scottish accent for the role.

He doesn't define success by fame

Although he's had plenty of meaty roles under his belt, true superstardom has seemed to elude Tom Bateman thus far. In 2019, he told The Gentleman's Journal that he did not feel particularly secure in his career, saying, "I do a job and then I'm almost back to square one. I question myself every single day."

There have been a lot of disappointments over the years. The 2019 television drama "Beecham House" was one that some expected to launch him into a household name, but critics panned it. That same year, the film "Cold Pursuit" tanked at the box office after Bateman's co-star, Liam Neeson, made racist comments. However, Bateman didn't let it get to him, telling British GQ, "Aside from the fact that I was in the film with Liam, it's not really anything to do with me."

Still, Bateman isn't unhappy with where his career is. In an interview with The Scotsman, he recounted a piece of advice from actor Jonathan Pryce: "a successful actor is not a famous actor, it's an actor who acts."