Who’s Who: Creating New Austen Inspired Men
With the army in town and some new renovations to the beloved seaside resort, we’ve met a number of beguiling newcomers in Season 2 who are already shaking things up! Head Writer and Executive Producer Justin Young shared some in-depth breakdowns of the new men making themselves at home in Sanditon, including Ben Lloyd-Hughes, Tom Weston-Jones, and more, and offered thoughts on how some relate to well-known Jane Austen characters.
Creating an Austen Man
Going into Season 2, Young was very conscious that there was a perfect balance to strike between Austen hero traits and making these newcomers stand apart from the Austen men we already know.
“It’s funny because when we were developing the new characters we were very keen to come up with characters who didn’t feel too similar to existing Austen characters,” Young explained. “We didn’t want the audience to go, “Oh, we know who that is. That’s Darcy, and we know who that is that’s Wickham.” I couldn’t point to any of the new characters and say that is that character from that novel. However, we made sure that they all felt recognizably of Austen’s world.”
So, without further ado, here are your newest Austen men!
First up on our list of new men on the Sanditon block is Charlotte’s new employer, Mr. Alexander Colbourne, played by Ben Lloyd-Hughes. Colbourne is a mystery man, a father and a widower, and a bit gruff on the outside. But we’ve seen glimpses of a softer side hiding underneath — and so has Charlotte.
“Alexander Colbourne is very internal. He’s a very cerebral, thoughtful man who doesn’t really open himself up that easily,” Justin Young explained. “I find it hard to think of another Austen character who feels like that. Somebody asked me in an interview a while ago if he’s closer to Rochester in Jane Eyre. I sort of said, “Oh, well a little bit.” He’s not Rochester at all because he’s not gothic in that way. He’s just got a much gentler, more held back, thoughtful nature.
“I think he feels like he’s bearing the weight of the world on his shoulders at all times and isn’t able to communicate with the ease of the Colonel Lennox. I think that’s the kind of soulful quality that Ben [Lloyd-Hughes] brings to that part. It’s hugely appealing because he makes you lean forward. Lennox leans forward to you, and Colbourne leans back and you have to do the work. I think that’s really, really compelling.”
He and Charlotte may have conflicting opinions on certain matters, but as we’ve seen before, Charlotte is up to the challenge of peeling back the layers of a person — after all, she fell in love with Sidney Parker. Will Colbourne prove himself the kind of challenge she can’t stay away from?
Next up is another contender for Charlotte’s heart (not that she’s quite ready for that, yet): Colonel Lennox, played by Tom Weston-Jones. Instantly, Charlotte catches the soldier’s eye. Lennox is refined, charming, and confident, a true leader…and maybe the one who’ll be the one to break down Charlotte’s newly built walls around her heart.
“You meet Colonel Lennox, and we’ve met all kinds of soldiers before in Austen’s work. We’ve met Colonel Brandon [from Austen’s Sense and Sensibility] who’s a fantastically honorable man. We’ve met other soldiers in Austen who maybe aren’t quite so honorable. I’ll leave it to the audience to decide which he is. Certainly Lennox is a war hero, he is very dashing, he’s a man of hidden depths, he’s very comfortable in his own skin, and he’s very convivial.”
Also new in town is the eccentric, outspoken, and all together beguiling Charles Lockhart, played by Alexander Vlahos. The independent thinker is instantly intrigued by another outspoken free-thinker with little regard for societal rules — Georgiana Lambe, who has a reputation for turning down every man who looks her way. Will Charles Lockhart be the one to change that?
“Of course, I know he’s already a fan favorite,” Young said of the one-of-a-kind Lockhart. “Even the idea of Charles Lockhart is fun and exciting. We just thought, what happens if you take somebody who is like the distilled essence of a ironic rogue? Lord Byron was called mad, bad, and dangerous to know. I think Lockhart is a little bit mad, bad, and dangerous to know. You have this world which is all about manners, decorum, and social behavior, and he doesn’t give a fig about any of that. He’s like, ‘Nope, I don’t subscribe to these rules. I’m going to just act the way I want to.’ I think that’s like a grenade thrown into the middle of this polite society and it’s really, really fun to watch what happens.”
Captain Carter & Captain Fraser
Of course, Colonel Lennox isn’t the only solider in town stirring up some feelings! Also on the scene are Captain Carter (played by Maxim Ays), a sweet soldier who immediately catches the eye of Charlotte’s hopeless romantic younger sister, Alison; and the complete opposite of Carter, Captain Fraser (played by Frank Blake), who’s not quite as friendly as his comrades in arms.
“[They] are a fantastic duo. Captain Carter who is wide eyed, charming, boyish and he’s just really keen, lovely, and puppyish. He’s paired with Captain Fraser who’s the antithesis of that. Fraser is taciturn and cynical. He’s seen it all. With both men, with all of our new men, there’s more to them then initially meets the eye. All of them have hidden depths and complications.”