Zap2it: You play Cajun Thoroughbred jockey Leon Micheaux in a show about racing called “Luck,” but have you learned how to place a bet?
Tom Payne: David (Milch, creator of the series) places, like, 20 separate bets, and all the time he’s looking at the board and seeing the odds change. Still, we did it for nine months, and I had enough trouble getting my head around what my character has to do, let alone getting my head around that. However much you try to work it out, you’ll never get it completely right, or everyone would be millionaires.
Zap2it: You’re 5-foot-7. Isn’t that tall for a jockey?
Tom Payne: It has nothing to do with height; it’s all about the weight. The more height, the harder it is. … He’s very talented in what he does, but his body is betraying him as he gets older, and he’s aware of that.
Zap2it: As a Brit, what did you do to master a Cajun accent?
Tom Payne: I went down there, because I’d never even been to Louisiana. But you go to one place, and they’ll say, “This person is a real Cajun guy,” and they’ll tell you, “They say it this way.” Then you’ll go a mile down the street, and a guy tells you a different thing. I just had to make a choice and say, “This is the guy, and this is how I’m going to do it.” It’s funny down there, a whole other place. It’s so great.
The series finale of “Luck” airs Sunday, Mar. 25 on HBO.