Tim Downie got 'a little bit of shtick' on the sets of 'Outlander' for being a 'Red Coat'

Discussing his character, who is based on a historical figure, the actor said he worked hard to make sure that his portrayal of Governor Tryon was not of a uni-dimensional villain -- a gambit that has paid off with the show's fanbase


                            Tim Downie got 'a little bit of shtick' on the sets of 'Outlander' for being a 'Red Coat'
Tim Downie as Governor Tryon and Melanie Gray as Margaret Tryon (Starz)

Sam Heughan has spoken several times, including on his Twitter feed, about how he felt about donning the hated 'Red Coat' uniform in Episode 7 of this season. Heughan, who plays Jamie Fraser, fights for Governor Tryon (Tim Downie) and against his own godfather, Murtagh Fitzgibbon (Duncan Lacroix). One of the highlights of the episode is when he finally peels off the coat and has a showdown with Governor Tryon after Murtagh's death.

Tim Downie, who plays Governor Tryon, knows exactly the kind of sentiments the Red Coat -- dress code for the British soldier in the New World, oppressing hardworking new immigrants to the land -- can engender. Thankfully, he didn't get into too much trouble for it on the sets.

In an exclusive interview with MEA WorldWide (MEAWW), he spoke about what it felt like stepping on to the 'Outlander' sets in costume.

"When they talk about the Outlander family it really is a family. And you do feel very welcome. Even as a Red Coat, even as someone who is essentially horrible, everyone is really lovely.  You do get a little bit of shtick from the groups of town folk as you walk in because you are very conspicuous when you walk around in a big red coat and everyone else is dressed as the townspeople -- you really do stick out."

Downie also faced some trouble from a non-human member of the set -- a duck. "We were shooting by the lake and honestly, not a sound all day. I was trying to do this very serious speech about the king and country or something like that and as I was trying to explain this grave sort of matter, there was a 'Quack!' and I was like, 'wait, can anyone else hear that?'. This was at the end of the day and it probably smelled the food for something and it took a while to locate the criminal duck and have it removed." 

Discussing his character, who is based on a historical figure, Downie said he worked hard to make sure that Governor Tryon was not a uni-dimensional villain.

"On paper, he is very unlikeable. He is a Red Coat and he's not a particularly nice guy. But at the end of the day, somebody like him has to be a little bit funny, a little bit pathetic, a little bit of a try-hard. He probably didn't have very many friends -- so you have all those little layers that turn someone who is ostensibly horrible into someone you can kind of relate to. Hopefully, the audience member will think 'I don't like him, but I get it [his actions]'" 

His hard work has paid off with the 'Outlander' vocal fanbase embracing his complex character that both harms and helps the Fraser clan. "I have been super lucky. I have only been accepted with open arms, I'll get the odd person saying, 'you're horrible', [and] then I reply that 'I hope you know that it's just a character'. But most people have been very gracious. He [Governor Tryon] is kind of roguishly lovable so that has really helped in the development of the character and by the reception that I have had, people seem to have really taken to it [the portrayal]. I have had really warm, generous encounters from practically everyone. So I know I have been outrageously lucky with the fanbase."

'Outlander' will air its new episode on Sunday, April 12 at 8 pm ET/PT, on STARZ, the STARZ app, and STARZ On Demand.

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