Toronto-born actor David Berry isn’t sure yet what kind of impact playing Lord John Grey on “Outlander” might have on his career.
But if his rabid fanbase is any indication, it could be big.
A quick search of his name and his character on social media brings up a flood of gushing posts, hashtags and dedicated accounts — from photos of him accompanied by lovey-dovey emojis, to works of art and an image of a fan’s grey kitten aptly named Lord John Grey.
Australia-based Berry says he’s only on Instagram and doesn’t see all the mentions on other platforms, but being on the hit historical time-travel romance for the past two seasons has changed his life in other ways — and on a level he never expected.
“Certainly the unique interactions I’ve had with fans is something I never really anticipated,” Berry said in a recent phone interview to promote the release of “Outlander” season 4 limited edition Blu-ray and DVD.
“It’s also allowed me to travel to places that I never would have thought possible. I guess I’m maybe getting invited to a couple more parties and getting a bit more clout amongst friends’ moms and girlfriends, sometimes, wives. It’s a very popular show amongst the nurses that my mom works with. She gets a lots of kudos. So my kudos rating goes up a bit.”
Berry moved from Toronto to Australia with his family at age seven and returned to Canada while a student at Montreal’s McGill University. He said he comes back at least twice a year to see family in Toronto.
The 35-year-old landed the role on “Outlander” for season 3 after auditioning, but his Canadian wife was eight months pregnant at the time. He wasn’t sure if he should take the part and be away from her while shooting in Scotland.
“At the end of the day we went ahead and made a decision that it was a good project to be on,” he recalled from his home in Australia.
“It’s a project that I was aware of, that ‘Outlander’ has a pedigree amongst shows, particularly in the States but all over the world, with its fanbase. But also in a Netflix age where there are so many shows, it’s very hard to get any attention or noise about a show, and ‘Outlander’ is one of them that actually stands out amongst the crowd.”
Inspired by Diana Gabaldon’s bestselling novel, “Outlander” stars Caitriona Balfe as a married British Army nurse from 1945 who inadvertently goes back in time to 1743, where she gets swept up into a complicated love affair with a Scottish warrior, played by Sam Heughan.
Lord John Grey is a closeted gay governor of a prison and saves Heughan’s incarcerated character from execution as a traitor in season 3. He also falls in love with him.
“He’s had such a compelling inner conflict and I think that’s what people really like about him,” said Berry, whose other credits include the Australian drama series “A Place to Call Home.”
“I think he’s very easy to connect to, because while he’s complex and all the rest, I think he’s also one of the most human characters. When I say ‘human,’ human to me means someone who’s flawed, and he’s very flawed.”
Berry is sworn to secrecy about the upcoming season 5 of the Starz series, which airs on W Network in Canada.
But he said he’s “committed” to the show and gets along “really well on and off the set” with Heughan, who also has a fervent fanbase.
“He’s a very charming, friendly guy,” Berry said. “Anyone who’s worked with him says it’s true, that he’s a gentleman and very generous. He’s a great leading man as Jamie Fraser, but also as someone who welcomes new cast members to the show, and how he welcomed me to the show was really superlative.”