Interviewer: The role of Freddie is a difficult one. He has to be seductive and charming, but also a little heartless. What drew you to Tom Hiddleston?

Terence Davies: I didn’t know Tom’s work at all to be absolutely honest. It was my casting director Jane Amell who suggested I should see him. I remember our first meeting vividly. I have a mortal fear of being late because when I was at school you got caned for being late. My manager was driving me along High Holborn and when the traffic got really bad I insisted that I get out and walk. I actually ended up running all the way to Soho. Tom was late too, and was just about to go off to Los Angeles. There followed a series of apologies. I then asked Tom to simply walk around and throw himself on the sofa. Many actors are not very good at doing this sort of business. Tom did it with real ease. He then read and was brilliant. We were supposed to be seeing other people that day but I cancelled them. I said to Jane, “We’ve found him’. Tom came absolutely prepared and knew every scene by heart. He also came dressed impeccably, in sort of clothes Freddie might have worn. He really is a very intelligent man, and a very gifted one.