#Outlander’s Ed Speleers Wants to be Hated — For the Right Reasons | thelast-magazine.com

Unlike most actors, Ed Speleers is not afraid of getting booed. As Stephen Bonnet, the villain of the new season of the Starz hit Outlander, he makes a memorable entrance escaping from a public hanging before taking advantage of the compassion of the beloved central couple Claire and Jamie, newly arrived in America, robbing them of their valuables after they’ve promised not to turn him in. Given the show’s passionate fanbase, Speleers is bracing himself for indignation. “I’m up for being disliked and hated if it’s in the right context,” he laughs. “The beauty of this piece is that it has such huge fans and I think if they vehemently detest the screen version of Stephen Bonnet, then I’ve done my job. So I’m aiming to be disliked by the fans, but hopefully for the right reasons.”

The thirty-year-old Speleers is joining the show, based on the popular novels by Diana Gabaldon, in its fourth season, with its time-traveling romance well established. Claire, played by Caitriona Balfe, is a World War II nurse who has suddenly found herself in Scotland in 1743, where she eventually falls in love with Sam Heughan’s Jamie. Over the years, they have made their way to the American colonies, where they first encounter Speleers’s Stephen. Some might pale at the thought of joining a massive fan favorite halfway through—and especially as the antagonist—but Speleers is quick to point out the virtues. “The beauty of getting a role that has huge books written about it is there’s a lot to sink your teeth into,” he explains, “to try and extract from both other seasons and the novels themselves. There’s a rich tapestry of character description embedded in all these books, which is a great source material which you don’t always have. If you’re joining halfway through, you get to see what the tone of the piece is and I think that’s an advantage.”

Vintage sweater by Dior Homme. Trousers by Belstaff. Boots by Kenzo.

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