Tom Bateman said he was drawn to his Beecham House role as he was interested in “the idea of working with two very different cultures”.
The actor plays former soldier John Beecham in the ITV drama, which is set in Delhi and starts on the cusp of the 19th century, before British rule in India.
Beecham is haunted by his work for the East India Company and buys the titular stately home to begin a new life with his family.
Bateman said: “I’ve never played a character with so much weight to him, and that appealed to me straight away.
“My characters are normally quite energetic, but John is very strong, quite hard and you don’t really know who he is at first. He internalises, he’s a man of mystery.”
He added: “I was sent the first three scripts and I really wanted to know what happened next. I got very invested in all the characters.
“There’s a great line that John says which is, ‘I’m not here to build walls’ and I thought the idea of working with two very different cultures would be very interesting.”
The actor, who also starred in Vanity Fair, said he was drawn to period dramas because they “instantly make you act differently”.
“People don’t talk about their feelings as much,” he said.
“They don’t say, ‘Oh, I really fancy you’. And you don’t touch each other.
“So you have to find another way of expressing those feelings, which is really fun.
“There was a scene in Vanity Fair in which Olivia (Cooke) and I can’t say how we feel, because it wasn’t done, but my character is going to (the Battle of) Waterloo and it was so rich and dramatic.
“You’re torn between what you want to say and what you’re allowed to say. And it oozes sexiness because you’re watching and going, ‘God, just kiss her!’
“It’s like Mr Darcy and Lizzy Bennet in Pride And Prejudice. You know they’re going to get together but it takes six hours of anticipation to get there.”
The six-part series was created and directed by Gurinder Chadha and also stars Lesley Nicol, Gregory Fitoussi, Adil Ray, Marc Warren and Dakota Blue Richards.
It airs on ITV on Sunday June 23 and Monday June 24 at 9pm. It will then air weekly each Sunday.