Toby Stephens as Mr. Rochester, inspiration for my hero

During my initial draft, I’d scoured magazines cutting out pictures, trying to find what my hero, Lord Montagu, looked like in my time-travel romance. I’d had clippings of handsome men, but they weren’t him. So, I completed the first draft with just an image in my head.

Then I saw the BBC version of Jane Eyre (2006). I was watching period movies of the time period of my novel for research and I realized that Toby Stephens was him! I’d never seen him in anything else and was swept away by his performance. In preparing this post, I discovered that he’s Dame Maggie Smith’s son, which now that I know that, is totally obvious in the lines of his face.

So, now I have a ‘model’ somewhat, though whenever I read my WIP I still don’t quite picture Toby Stephens, it’s still slightly different, but close enough.

Ironically, I have a small interior monologue when my heroine first meets the hero, and she observes:

Would this man look equally exquisite in blue jeans and tee shirt or were his kind of looks the type best enhanced by the period clothing he wore? She’d seen that phenomenon before: someone who looked absolutely yummy in historic costumes and then looked so humdrum in modern clothes.

This was written before I’d picked Stephens as the closest to my image of him. And the funny thing is, when Stephens is in modern clothes, it’s not the same. He’s good-looking for sure, but… But when he’s in period clothes? Num, num. Same with Colin Firth for me.

Who else do you find totally hot in period clothes, but not so much in street clothes?

Anyone else try to find inspiration for characters in movies or magazines? Anyone else using Toby Stephens?

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3 Comments

  1. I love it when I find that just right face or picture for my story! And based on the photos above, I’d have to agree. Yummy.

    Reply
  2. Just saw him in “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall”–much younger and not brooding, but I still really liked him in it as the hot younger man to the jaded and sad heroine! But he’s definitely my fave Rochester of the bunch. I love that version of Jane Eyre.

    I also totally agree re Colin Firth and period costume thing. And actually, Nathan Fillion–he just doesn’t look the same in jeans and t-shirt, as compared to his Firefly styling…

    Reply
    • Yep, after I saw him in Jane Eyre I ran and added Tenant to my Netflix queue and loved him in that too, he’s a great actor. My fave Rochester too. I think with Colin Firth it’s also his normal brown hair — his black hair in P&P, yum.

      Reply

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