Actor Rob James-Collier claims playing a gay butler on Downton Abbey has led to being typecast in Hollywood.
While the 41-year-old was a fan favorite for his portrayal of the scheming Thomas, he says that popularity hasn’t been parlayed into meaningful roles following the show’s conclusion.
Talking to Radio Times, the actor notes he hasn’t been offered the same opportunities as costars Michelle Dockery, Lily James, and Dan Stevens.
While Dockery stars in TNT’s Good Behavior; Stevens is currently the lead in FX’s Legion; and James just made an appearance in the hit film Baby Driver.
“I think audiences in the U.S. can identify quite easily with the quintessential English gent and English lady, whereas a neurotic, dark, gay character like Thomas is a hard thing to put into the American market. It can lead to typecasting….
Because Thomas Barrow is gay and is, essentially, the bad guy for much of the show, a lot of people within the industry can only see you as that. They might not be in a rush to see you as a heterosexual love interest. That takes time.”
James-Collier claims he’s declined several stage roles “which happened to be gay characters” because he “really wanted to show something different.”
Since the show wrapped, the actor has starred in 2016’s The Attendant and will soon appear in a horror movie called The Ritual, in which a camping trip goes frightfully wrong.
“It’s a genre I have never done because there’s sometimes a stigma around these films.”
“There can be too much hack-slashing gore and nudity. This is different.”