Rob James-Collier thinks playing gay has harmed his chances of a Hollywood career.
The actor, who previously starred in UK soap Coronation Street, played scheming gay butler Thomas Barrow in the hit ITV show for four seasons, but now he worries he’s been typecast because of his role.
While other Downton stars including Lily James and Dan Stevens have gone on to launch careers in Hollywood thanks to the show’s US success, Rob admits to the Radio Times that he’s spent more time out of work than in work.
“I think audiences in the US 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,” he argued.
“It can lead to typecasting.”
Since the show ended in 2015, Rob says he’s been offered a few theatre roles “which happened to be gay characters”, but he turned them down because he “wanted to show something different”.
“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,” he continued.
“They might not be in a rush to see you as a heterosexual love interest. That takes time.”
Rob last year starred in British movie The Attendant, and is now set to appear in an upcoming horror called The Ritual, which focuses on a campaign trip gone horribly wrong.
“It’s a genre I have never done because there’s sometimes a stigma around these films,” he said. “There can be too much hack-slashing gore and nudity. This is different.”