'You' Season 4 Newcomer Ed Speleers Talks Through His Character Rhys's Surprisingly Twisty Arc

Fans are introduced to Rhys Montrose — an acclaimed author with an interest in running for office — in You's season 4 premiere, but he isn't who he publicly positions himself to be

You's Ed Speleers
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix

Warning: This post contains spoilers for season 4 of Netflix's You.

Ed Speleers' role on You will likely take fans by surprise.

In the season 4 premiere episode, viewers are introduced to Speleers' character Rhys Montrose — an author who has gained recognition after the release of his acclaimed memoir. He was born into poverty but eventually came into money and has since become connected to London's elite. He's now potentially seeking a run for office.

Rhys and Penn Badgley's antihero Joe Goldberg, now going by Jonathan Moore following his relocation to London, instantly connected while out at social club one night, commenting on their disdain for the wealthy folk who surround them.

"I actually don't hate him," Joe said. "Yet."

But as the season progresses, Joe soon finds himself in the midst of solving a whodunit in which he is now the prey. A murderer, dubbed the "Eat the Rich Killer," is among his new circle of friends, taking each of them down one by one. And whoever they are, they're fully aware of Joe's actual identity — and seemingly framing him for their crimes.

By the time episode 5 rolls around, after many of Joe's new peers have accused him of being the killer, it's revealed that Rhys is actually the assailant — and he has an evil plan to ensnare Joe.

You's Ed Speleers
Courtesy of Netflix

Speleers exclusively tells PEOPLE that Rhys "has his own justification" for why he's acting out in this way.

"But it's trying to understand why he would operate like that, I feel," the Downton Abbey alum, 34, continues. "And I think for me, it's not necessarily going against type, but I feel it's important for me to always take myself out of my comfort zone when taking on a part or trying to understand someone else and trying to get in their way of thinking and how they operate."

Speleers continues, "I find it fascinating. His [approach], it's not run-of-the-mill, but then You's not a run-of-the-mill show. Think about how much sympathy fans of the show seem to have towards Joe."

Pior to taking on the role, the English actor says he "knew certain elements" of what Rhys "was up to"

"I feel also to take on a part like that, I would need to know a fair amount of information," he explains. "I had a long chat with the showrunner Sera Gamble before deciding on the part completely. But it is funny, these days you don't get as much information for roles as you used to."

Adds Speleers, "That's quite often, it's just sides and you don't always have a full scripts because they haven't been written so it takes a bit of time. I needed a bit more information for sure."

You's Ed Speleers
Vivien Killilea/Getty

Though playing a character of this caliber is "not easy," says Speleers, "I don't like things to be easy."

"Some of these characters can sometimes come across quite heightened, which actually allows a lot of room to play and a lot of freedom," he explains. "And the more you get your head around these sorts of people, the more you can actually just start flexing around and actually really relish all their mannerisms and their characteristics."

"Sometimes it's actually really harder to play the guys that are very grounded all the time. Very understated," he adds. "That's the real challenge, I feel. I think when these guys start becoming bigger and more gregarious, then there's something to hold onto and push even firmer."

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Part 1 of You's fourth season is now streaming on Netflix. Part 2 will premiere on March 9.

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