Downton Abbey star Rob James-Collier says playing gay role hurt his career

Downton Abbey star Rob James-Collier says playing gay role hurt his career

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, Beauty and the Beast actor Stevens is currently the lead in FX’s Legion, and Cinderella star James just made an appearance in the hit film, Baby Driver.

(l-r) Michelle Dockery, Lily James, and Dan Stevens

“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…” James-Collier says. “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,” he says. “There can be too much hack-slashing gore and nudity. This is different.”

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7 Comments

  1. Francis
    October 12, 07:35 Reply

    Sometimes I wonder if it’s best to do some straight characters before jumping out of the closet so as to epp your market post coming out.

    On the other hand, some people just unfortunately have gay face which makes dem doing straight characters quite unconvincing ??

    • Pink Panther
      October 12, 07:46 Reply

      Lol. True. Have you seen downton Abbey though… I don’t think that’s the situation here. This guy doesn’t have a gay face.

      • Francis
        October 12, 08:27 Reply

        You don forget say na because of you I watch am. Lol. I have a hard time seeing that face sucking a woman’s unlike Matt Bomer and co dem

        • Pink Panther
          October 12, 09:37 Reply

          Lol. Don’t even start with me. It’s a stereotype-driven characteristic, that much I’ll admit. 😀

    • Henrie
      October 12, 08:35 Reply

      But collier isn’t gay, is he?

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