It’s as though the tuxedo was invented for Leo Suter. Shooting his cuffs and righting his bow tie, the young actor appears more comfortable in his Gieves & Hawkes black tie than most of us do in jeans and a T-shirt. Not to mention the fact that somehow, unfathomably, he’s even managed to make a cummerbund look cool.
But with a build like his and a jaw like that, how could he not shine in a dinner jacket? It’s Suter’s classically handsome looks — not to mention his considerable acting skills — that have carved him a niche in costume drama, after all.
The 25-year-old first won hearts during a buttoned-up turn as Edward Drummond in ITV’s Victoria in 2017. Fast-forward two years, and the actor has just slipped on his breeches once again to originate the role of an ex-East India Company soldier in ITV’s period piece, Beecham House.
“I’ve heard it described as ‘Downton goes to Delhi’,” smiles Suter. “It’s got that period drama charm, but with more guns and elephants and Indian spices.” Set in the 19th century, Leo is making his name in an ensemble cast that also includes Tom Bateman, Marc Warren and Dakota Blue Richards. But, despite this being Suter’s second prominent period drama role in as many years, he has no worries about being typecast.
“I’m not worried, no!” laughs the actor. “I really enjoy period dramas. It’s fun to enter those worlds — where the costumes and language and settings are all so decadent.
“Of course, I don’t want to limit myself to playing only those roles,” he adds. “In fact, I have an exciting project coming up. I can’t talk about it yet, but it’s a world away from period dramas.”
"I wouldn’t say I have a game plan per se. So much comes down to luck and coincidence."
But it’s not all been cravats and frock coats. Suter recently took a lead role in BBC Three drama Clique, and has tackled playwrights from Shakespeare to Butterworth in several prominent stage roles. But, for all the characters he has embodied, the actor believes every one of his performances relies on truth.
“I think, at their heart, theatre, television and film all rely upon the same thing; an actor needs to find the truth of a situation and play it.”
“And it’s a treat to get to play such different characters and to stretch my acting muscles. To experience this diversity at a young age is really useful. It means I’m exposed to different writing styles and storyline arcs that only help in my development as a performer. It’s all great experience for whatever comes next in my career.”
With six exciting young actors on set, dream roles and career goals are a hot topic. But, refreshingly, Suter seems less intent on gunning for particular parts (although he does look good in that tux.) and is instead focusing on building a solid, respectable and ultimately varied body of work.
“Something I can be proud of,” he reasons. “But I wouldn’t say I have a game plan per se. In this game you can’t. So much comes down to luck and coincidence. It’s important to be able to go with the flow — because you never know which connections will take you where…”
This article first appeared in the March issue of Gentleman’s Journal, subscribe now…