Actor Alexander was someone the show’s producers had their eye on for a while (Pictures: Getty/Rex/Starz)
As Starz’s hit historical fantasy drama Outlander entertains its fans with weekly episodes from all-new season 6, newcomer Alexander Vlahos has revealed his inclusion on the show has been on the cards for some time.
However, he wasn’t entirely sure how to respond when producers told him he was ‘perfect’ for the role of Allan Christie.
Arriving alongside his unforgiving father Tom Christie (Mark Lewis Jones) and curious sister Malva (Jessica Reynolds) at Jamie (Sam Heghan) and Claire’s (Caitriona Balfe) home of Fraser’s Ridge in the opening episode, the so far rather inscrutable but troubled young man has received a lashing for stealing an engraved powder horn.
Allan is set to step into the spotlight in later episodes, as more is revealed about the Christie family, who Alexander describes as ‘the grey’ in between the black and white of evil and good.
Speaking exclusively to Metro.co.uk, the actor explained that he was approached by casting director Suzanne Smith, who had previously put him in his break-out role as Philippe I, Duke of Orleans, in lavish show Versailles, to gauge his interest in joining Outlander’s next season.
He added: ‘I then had a lovely chat with Max Roberts and Maril [Davis], the executive producers. They said that I had been on their radar since Versailles and they’d been looking to find a role for me, and then Allan Christie came up and they said I was perfect for it.’
Alexander as the enigmatic Allan Christie (Picture: Starz)
The Chrisite clan, who are newly arrived at Fraser’s Ridge for season six (Picture: Starz)
‘I don’t know if it’s a compliment!’ he laughed, ‘Because now knowing what Allan is and who Allan is and who Allen represents? I’m like, “I was the only person that could play this part?!”’
However, he was delighted to join the production as he was ‘completely welcomed by everyone’, even working with director Justin Molotnikov on some episodes, who had cast the 33-year-old as Mordred in series five of the BBC’s fantasy-adventure show Merlin in 2012.
There was also some familiarity among his family unit too.
‘Mark Lewis Jones who plays my dad, Tom Christie – I my first job out of drama school in a TV show called Crash and Mark was in that – so it just felt like I was being wrapped in a cosy blanket.’
Without revealing spoilers of what’s to come further on into Outlander’s latest season, for viewers who have not read Diana Gabladon’s novels, Alexander points to the importance of the powder horn as the ‘catalyst’ for much that will happen at Fraser’s Ridge.
Alexander and Mark Lewis Jones (L) have worked together before (Picture: Robert Wilson/Starz)
The actor was drawn to Allan due to the ‘grey’ nature of the character (Picture: Nils Jorgensen/Rex/Shutterstock)
‘The Christies, the Browns and the Frasers all from that moment start to fracture throughout the season,’ he shared.
‘With Allan especially, I always coined him as a sort of puppeteer. Sometimes you don’t see him in a couple of episodes, he sort of disappears, but actually when he does reappear, you notice that he’s been pulling the strings behind the scenes, especially with Malva. He’s constantly thinking about trying to better his own situation and his family’s.’
Alexander also hesitates to put any kind of label on Allan or the Christies though.
‘I always kind of baulk at the word villain because I just don’t think they’re as black and white as villains are. And that to me as an actor is the most interesting thing. I played Mordred [in Merlin], who you think is an absolute out and out villain, but I always look for parts that are not black and white.
Allan’s sister Malva (Jessica Reynolds) is intrigued by Claire’s medical practice and works as her apprentice (Picture: Robert Wilson/Starz)
‘It’s the grey in between that makes them interesting and I think the Christies encapsulate what that grey is. They’re out for themselves and the relationship between Allan and Malva – you’ll see a lot more of that drip feed and progress throughout the season.’
The actor, who can also currently be seen in the long-awaited season two of Sanditon as ‘rock star’ artist Charles Lockhart, happily acknowledged how many period dramas he has appeared in.
He revealed: ‘Before Covid happened, my agent and I were digging our heels in. “No more horses, no more bonnets, no more corsets, no more castles. We’re done, we’ve done it, people know of you from it. We’re done.”
‘And then the pandemic hit, and I was just like, “Well, I don’t know what to do” – and then Outlander was the first call. And then weirdly, while doing Outlander, Sanditon called as well, so I’ve been like, “Do you know what? Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.”
Alexander as Charles Lockhart in the new second season of Sanditon (Picture: ITV/BritBox)
With co-star Evan Williams Chevalier in Versailles (Picture: Francois Durand/Getty Images for Ovation TV)
‘If I’m going to be the bad boy of period dramas, I will take that – hands down.’
Alexander also pointed to the transformative nature of historical parts for actors, especially regarding costumes, which can ‘transport yourself to a completely different time’.
‘I don’t think that jump is as big if I turn up in jeans and a hoodie and then get into my costume, which is also jeans and a hoodie,’ he said. ‘With the modern aspect, I don’t feel like as an actor you’re really able to transport yourself so much, whereas turning up at 5am on a tiny, Scottish hill and get into boots and jodhpurs – you are immediately transported to different period.
‘I think, deep down, that is why I wanted to be an actor and I wanted to be able to embody different masks and guises from different characters.’
Outlander season six is streaming on STARZPLAY.