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Downton Abbey Star Rob James-Collier Says Hollywood Keeps Typecasting Him As Gay

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Actor Rob James-Collier says that after playing gay butler Thomas Barrow in Downton Abbey, he can’t stop getting typecast in gay roles.

41-year-old, James-Collier says that because he was so popular as the scheming butler, most of the time he only gets calls about playing more gay roles when he’d rather try different and varying parts.

Speaking to Radio Times, James-Collier said:

“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.”

That said, James-Collier has been doing well enough for himself even if he’s had to decline several roles “which happened to be gay characters.” In fact, it looks like even though he “really wanted to show something different,” and focused on not taking gay roles he still was able to work.

Last year, he starred in the film The Attendant and is preparing for the release of The Ritual, which is the film of a camping trip gone 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.”

That said, perhaps he hasn’t worked as much as some of his former costars like Dan Stevens who is the lead of the cult followed X-men tv series Legion and star of Beauty and the Beast.

h/t: Queerty

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I could see where he would be typecast, but not due to his character's sexuality. Thomas was a well developed character, but his being gay was secondary to his being underhanded and while his sexuality got him into trouble in a few instances, most of his troubles were his own doing. If I saw Rob James-Collier in something else, I may not expect him to be gay, but I would expect he'd be a schemer. 

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