Theo James: From odd jobs to 'Golden Boy'

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It's no secret that days on production sets often drag into nights, causing some actors to grouse.

However, those who have had jobs that make muscles ache by shift's end know to keep actors' woes in perspective.

Theo James, 28, is among those with perspective. He paid his dues as a guy who got dirty before he became an actor.

"I was a laborer for two seasons, and it killed me," James tells Zap2it. "They were making an office site. I had to make holes, and they said, 'Listen, mate, you need to dig up those sections with a shovel.' Eight of us were sitting around with saws and no masks. And they said, 'Yeah, that's asbestos. Bury it.' "

James was a bartender and a lifeguard and had an unsettling stint with the National Health Service in his native England. For that job, he went to the homes of the recently deceased and cleaned up bodily fluids left behind.

Consequently, long hours on the set do not rile him.

"Everyone, when tired, has moments of complaint," James says. If he finds himself slipping into whining, "I try to slap myself in the face. It's nothing compared to what other people have to do."

James was the social-climbing, conniving and short-lived Kemal on "Downton Abbey." More recently, he has been Walter Clark, the cop who ascended to the position of New York police commissioner in a meteoric rise on CBS' Tuesday drama "Golden Boy."

"He is someone you may think is a good guy," James says of his character. "I like to think of him not just as whip-smart in terms of police savvy but as a bit of a genius."
Photo/Video credit: CBS
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