Downton Abbey Star Reveals How The Show Ruined His Hollywood Career


Remember butler Thomas Barrow in the biggest period drama hit of the last 10 years, Downton Abbey?

Of course you do. The suave, confident, and downright evil character, played by Rob James-Collier, was a stalwart of the hit ITV show, and audiences loved to hate his character until the show came to an end in 2015.

However, despite the roaring success of Downton both in the UK and across the pond, it seems that actor Rob believes his role in the show actually did him more harm than good when it came to finding roles after the programme had finished.

While his fellow co-stars, including Dan Stevens and Lily James, have enjoyed fruitful careers Stateside since their Downton roles ended, Rob hasn't quite been so lucky.

And the actor has put his lack of acting success in America down to the fact that his gay character has lead to typecasting in the industry in the US.

Speaking to the Mirror, he confessed, "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 admitted, "It can lead to typecasting."

Ex-Corrie star Rob went on to voice his opinion that he now feels many Hollywood execs pigeonhole him into the role of the gay love interest, due to his Downton character.

"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."

Speaking to the Huffington Post recently, Rob also revealed that he struggled to find work following the end of Downton. He admitted, "I spend more time out of work than in work. I was waiting for the right thing and I could've been waiting for years.

"I always try and do something new and different. Unfortunately, it's not always the way it turns out because it's hard. It's a tough game to be in."

Amy Hunt

Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist specialising in homes, interiors and hobbies. She began her career working as the features assistant at woman&home magazine, before moving over to the digital side of the brand where she eventually became the Lifestyle Editor up until January 2022. Amy won the Digital Journalist of the Year award at the AOP Awards in 2019 for her work on