Theo James Revives Comedy Roots in Guy Ritchie’s “The Gentlemen”

After his loud and brash role in “The White Lotus,” Theo James is back with a new challenge in Guy Ritchie’s Netflix series, “The Gentlemen.” This time, James plays Eddie Horniman, a reserved British Duke entangled in an aristocratic weed-growing empire.

The series, a comedic take on British aristocracy, has not only provided James with a refreshing role but has also amused the real Duke of Beaufort, whose estate served as the filming location.

James, reveals in an interview with Deadline that he was drawn to “The Gentlemen” because of his love for ascension stories. He finds them gratifying and sees an opportunity to blend this narrative with a comedic critique of the British class system. “We didn’t aim to emulate ‘The Godfather,’ but we loved the story of a young, moral son becoming corrupted by power,” James said. This strong concept, mixed with British aristocracy, offered a unique and entertaining premise.

Eddie Horniman is a character who appears both out of his depth and in his element. James explained that Eddie is a tactician, yet his victories often come by accident. Even in violent situations, Eddie is merely trying to survive, adding an intriguing tension to his character.

The Gentlemen

Working with Guy Ritchie was a highlight for James. Ritchie, known for his specific tone, balanced comedy and drama without tipping into farce or melodrama. This delicate balance is a hallmark of Ritchie’s style and was a significant aspect of the series’ production.

The portrayal of British aristocracy in the series is both fascinating and comedic. James, who didn’t grow up near aristocratic circles, found filming at the Duke of Beaufort’s estate particularly enlightening. The Duke, an eccentric character himself, added authenticity to the setting. The series uses comedy to explore the rituals and eccentricities of the upper class, offering both humour and insight.

Transitioning from his role in “The White Lotus” to Eddie Horniman was a striking change for James. Cameron in “The White Lotus” is loud and confident, while Eddie is reserved and calculating. This contrast allowed James to showcase his versatility as an actor.

Following “The Gentlemen,” James finished a Stephen King short called “The Monkey,” where he plays twin brothers with vastly different personalities. This genre piece marks another significant departure from his previous roles.

James has expressed a desire to do more comedy, having started his career in the genre. Guy Ritchie’s approach in “The Gentlemen” taught him the importance of maintaining stakes in comedy, ensuring the audience remains engaged.

Looking ahead, if there’s a second season of “The Gentlemen,” James believes Eddie should dive deeper into corruption, possibly moving out of Halstead Manor and even Britain. This evolution would show a significant transformation, making Eddie almost unrecognizable from the character introduced in Season 1.

The Gentlemen” not only marks Theo James’ return to comedy but also blends British class satire with a thrilling storyline, making it a must-watch for fans of both Ritchie and James.

M. Osama Asghar

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