Downton Abbey star Rob James-Collier claims playing a gay character left him 'typecast'

Jacob Stolworthy

British actor Rob James-Collier has suggested that playing a gay character in Downton Abbey hurt his career chances in America.

The former Coronation Street star, who appeared in the series from 2010-15, claimed that playing the character Thomas Barrow in the popular ITV period drama left him "typecast."

“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 told Radio Times. ”It can lead to typecasting.”

He continued: “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 went on to reveal he has turned down film offers to play roles "which happened to be gay” due to a desire "to show something different.”

The actor appears in new horror film The Ritual which is directed by David Bruckner.

Two of James-Collier's co-stars have gone on to enjoy success in the US with Dan Stevens the lead in Noah Hawley's X-Men spinoff Legion and Michlle Dockery - who's convinced a Downton film will happen - in Good Behaviour.