Fans of Hugh Bonneville have been shocked after watching the trailer for his new Netflix film, I Came By, in which the actor is appearing as a character rather removed from the pleasant Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham.
The 58-year-old star has tended to play posh, harmless and possibly slightly ineffectual people in projects including Notting Hill, BBC spoof W1A and megahit Downton Abbey.
Now, he’s showing off a new side to himself in the tense upcoming release, with viewers branding him ‘creepy’.
Yes, it’s that old chestnut, people being surprised by actors acting.
In fairness, it is quite something to see Paddington’s Mr Brown in possession of a basement filled with suspicious tools and, the trailer promises, the ‘darkest secrets’.
I Came By is about a graffiti artist (George Mackay) who targets the homes of the elite, only to uncover a twisted secret in a hidden basement, triggering events that put his loved ones in danger.
Bonneville is a former High Court judge Sir Hector Blake, and owner of the secret underground room.
The actor is heard ominously in the trailer’s voice over, teasing: ‘I really tried to be kind, but I had this rage that is so liberating, so empowering, do you want to know what happened?’
Bonneville shared the clip to his Instagram account following its release, with his fans complimenting him on the different role.
‘Scarrrryyy [sic] and superb! Can’t wait!’ congratulated one fan, while another simply posted: ‘Oh my Lord Grantham. 😮’
‘Omg this looks amazing!!!!!’ wrote one follower, before confessing: ‘Not sure I can cope with him being the bad guy though 🤣!’
Someone else knew exactly how they were going to tackle the thriller’s unsettling nature.
‘Oh my gosh how creepy!!! I can’t wait to watch it during the daytime, with the doors locked and a giant bar of chocolate…’ they shared.
The Emmy nominee also had support from Grange Hill and EastEnders star Sean Maguire.
‘I will watch this man read the phone book,’ he commented. ‘Buy it, rent it, he’s pure class. On & off screen.’
The pair appeared together in 1991 miniseries Dodgem.
I Came By opens in select UK cinemas on August 19 and streams on Netflix from August 31.