Before returning home to Downton Abbey, Allen Leech rocks it up in Bohemian Rhapsody.
Allen Leech remains steadfastly in the driver’s seat of his own career. In the global phenomenon Downton Abbey, the Irish actor charmed as Branson, the chauffeur-turned-son-in-law with challenging ideas about class distinctions. Now, he’s at the heart of a different monarchy—the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, in which he plays Paul Prenter, Freddie Mercury’s personal manager, who strikes discordant notes among the band of rockers. Next up, it’s a return trip to Downton for the clamored-for feature film follow-up. “I find myself suddenly back in London doing a very different thing!” he says.
Leech admits he was unsure how his post-Downton career would unfold after moving to Hollywood. “You’re excited to be done with a project, but you’re also nervous because that guaranteed work’s gone away,” he says. But LA suits him with its year-round weather that enables his gardening obsession, and its Industry-centric culture. “Rather than finding people to try to talk to about work, you have a hard time finding someone to talk to about anything else!” he says with a laugh.
Queen was a family favorite (“My dad was big into them”), and his Rhapsody role was tantalizingly juicy. “Paul got under the band’s skin, really ruffled feathers,” Leech explains. “Thankfully, I’ve heard from [Queen lead guitarist] Brian May that he’s quite astounded at how ‘pitch-perfect’ the film is.”
While Leech preps for Downton part two, he’s counting on his wedding planner to see him smoothly through his upcoming nuptials to fiancee Jessica Blair Herman. “I’m like, ‘You plan stuff and just come back to me with four choices for something, and I’ll pick one.’ Then she’ll tell me it’s the wrong one anyway....” That’s a wrap.