“I’ve been playing a lot of douchebags,” Freddie Stroma says of his most popular on-screen roles. The 28-year-old English import first garnered attention for playing Cormac McLaggen, an older Hogwarts student who is seen straddling a wooden broom during a game of Quidditch and leering at Emma Watson’s Hermione in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
Stroma followed the bit part, which included appearances in the final two Potter films, with Luke, an unimpressed older college student and radio station manager in Pitch Perfect. It was a small role, but thanks to his accent and the flash of abs, a memorable one.
Sure, both characters were kind of douche-y, but both were seductive were they not? “I haven’t actually noticed that common denominator,” Stroma says, laughing at the idea. “I never actually thought about them as guys seducing anyone, I’ve thought of guys who were kind of dickheads.”
While those popular characters were certainly one-note, Stroma has taken advantage of playing Adam, the hopeful groom-to-be on Lifetime’s UnREAL. He could have easily been another seductive dickhead, but over the course of nine episodes—the finale airs on Monday, Aug. 3—Stroma has managed to make him as likeable as he is complicated.
“It’s easy to think of Adam as a bystander, but he gets his hands dirty like the rest of them,” Stroma says of his character learning to play the game on Everlasting, a Bachelor-like reality dating competition series. So far, we’ve seen Adam have sex with a producer’s wife (while the producer watched) in order to get his winery fixed up and featured on the show, and try his own hand at playing games some of the women who want to win his heart.
For all the manipulation that takes place on the show—it does get pretty dark, with one producer replacing a female contestant’s bipolar medication with placebos—there are brighter moments that make Adam, at the very least, one of the most likeable people.
“He has his redeeming moments,” Stroma adds.
One of those is seen in his relationship with Faith (Breeda Wool), a contestant who realizes she’s a lesbian over the course of the competition. “They’re a bit more chummy,” the actor says. “They’re not romantically involved. He does what he can to protect her.”
While fans wait to find out who Adam chooses, they will be sad to know that there aren’t plans for the character to return next season. “We’re not really sure in what direction they’re going to go,” Stroma says. “It’s likely that myself and contestants will not be involved.”
A dagger to the heart for those who might have enjoyed seeing Stroma show more than just his bum on TV this season. (Not that we didn’t enjoy the gratuitous shot.)
The UnREAL finale airs Monday, Aug. 3 at 10 p.m. ET.