If you didn’t recognize Ed Speleers right away, it’s probably because seeing him in a modern setting is a bit of a novelty. In one of his most notable roles, Speleers spent many years as a regular on “Downton Abbey,” bustling around downstairs and carrying trays upstairs as a footman in the Crawley household. Speleers played James Kent aka Jimmy, the overconfident staff member whose ambition led to questionable choices and fraught, soapy tension. Eventually, his rudeness faded into snark and he warmed up to his fellow workers, all the way through Jimmy’s bittersweet season 5 departure. Speleers stayed busy though, later popping up in “Outlander” as Stephen Bonnet, the sinister smuggler who so effectively terrorizes the Fraser family that he remains one of the show’s most memorable villains.
While he was absolutely chilling as the despicable “Outlander” pirate, Speleers’ roots are in the realm of heroism. The British actor got his start in the industry as the titular hero in “Eragon,” the ill-fated film adaptation of Christopher Paolini’s fantasy novel of the same name. Though the 2006 film was panned by critics, plenty of folks have fond memories of Speleers as a young farm boy who goes on a legendary adventure with dragons. While watching him woo Joe in “You,” perhaps you flashed back to Speleer’s feature debut.