Over the past decade, British actor and producer Theo James has starred in a diverse array of roles from action hero hunk to sensitive romantic lead and in his latest film, the Sci-fi thriller Archive, he plays a roboticist living in a remote facility, secretly working on a prototype to restore the memory of his late wife. From his impressive acting CV, we pick out a few of his stand-out roles.
Downton Abbey – Kemal Pamuk (2010)
Theo James first made a significant splash on our screens in one of the most popular TV series of recent years – Downton Abbey. Theo played Kemal Pamuk, a dashing Turkish diplomat who accompanies a friend of the family on a visit to Downton. During his stay he seduces the imperious Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) but unfortunately dies of a heart attack ‘in flagrante’! Theo made a huge impression on viewers and his character’s actions initiated nearly two seasons of intrigue surrounding the daughter of Downton’s damaged reputation. The memorable scene where Mary and her mother carry his body back to his own room in the middle of the night, trying not to alert the rest of the household, meant that Kemal (and Theo) would not easily be forgotten by the millions of viewers around the world.
The Inbetweeners Movie – James (2011)
The following year, Theo swapped the full morning suit of the Edwardian era for a pair of beach shorts when he joined the cast of the much-loved The Inbetweeners TV series on holiday in Crete for their first big-screen outing The Inbetweeners Movie. Theo played James, an arrogant club rep and the new love interest of Carli (Emily Head) – Simon’s (Joe Thomas) on-and-off-again love interest.
Divergent/Insurgent/Allegiant – Four (2014 – )
The character of Four in the Divergent franchise was Theo James’ biggest role to date starring as the lead alongside, the then newcomer, Shailene Woodley, along with Ashley Judd, Miles Teller Zoe Kravitz and Kate Winslet. Based on the novels by Veronica Roth, this young-adult sci-fi adventure was set in a dystopian and post-apocalyptic Chicago. Divergent spawned two sequels – Insurgent (2015) and Allegiant (2016) with Theo reprising the role of Four.
Sanditon – Sidney Parker (2019)
For the 2019 television adaptation of Jane Austen’s unfinished novel Sanditon, Theo starred as one of the main love interests for heroine Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams) – Sidney Parker. Andrew Davies, who also adapted Austen’s Pride & Prejudice for television in 1995 and famously ‘sexed up’ the source material with the scene of Colin Firth emerging from the lake with his wet shirt clinging to his body, gave Theo his own iconic Mr Darcy moment when Charlotte stumbles across him emerging completely naked from the sea after a swim.
In probably one of his best and most complex roles to date, Theo James stars as George Almore a roboticist stationed at a remote, secret location where he has been working with Artificial Intelligence to create a true, human equivalent android. Archive is set in 2038 and George is two and a half years into a three-year research contract and is on the verge of a breakthrough. His prototype is almost complete. But this most sensitive phase is also the riskiest and it becomes clear that George has an ulterior motive for his work that must be hidden at all costs. Like a futuristic Dr. Frankenstein, George is attempting to create an android version of his deceased wife Jules (Stacy Martin).