Hollywood’s next heartthrob, Dan Stevens (yes Matthew Crawley from Downton Abbey) is on the cusp of breaking into mainstream cinema. With his next role being the titular character, ‘The Beast’ in the high profile Beauty and the Beast remake, it only feels right that we take a look at the life of this charismatic actor.
Stevens was born in London, adopted from birth, by a couple who were both teachers. He grew up with his adoptive brother in Wales until he attended an independent boarding school in Kent due to his rebellious nature, whereby Stevens “spent most of his early years totally rebelling against anything he could”. It was here where he first gained his affinity for drama, after auditioning for the title role in Macbeth.
Throughout his career, Stevens has become somewhat of a renaissance man, continuing to act on stage, TV and film. His first role on stage came in 2004, where he was spotted by director Peter Hall at a Marlowe Society Production of Macbeth; subsequently, he was cast as Orlando in his (touring) production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It. His most recent performance was his debut on Broadway in 2012, acting alongside esteemed actress and actor Jessica Chastain and David Strathairn in The Heiress.
In Television, he is most known for his role as Matthew Crawley on Downton Abbey, which has become an unexpected global phenomenon. His departure in 2012 from the show caused uproar among social media users, with many fiery debates ensuing on whether he was given a proper send off.
However, since his exit from the show, Stevens has diversified himself, acting in a wide range of film roles from Independent thriller The Guest where he was nominated for a Saturn Award and comedies such as Night At The Museum 3 and The Cobbler. However, 2017 is the year where he propels into Hollywood stardom, acting in the next film of Disney’s latest string of remakes, Beauty and the Beast. Acting in ‘mo-cap’ as ‘The Beast’ alongside an A-List cast, including Emma Watson, Ian Mckellen and Luke Evans is going to be a sure fire hit and possibly the highest grossing film of the year (well, after Star Wars of course).
He also makes a return to television, headlining the new X-Men based TV show Legion, starring as David Haller, a mutant diagnosed with schizophrenia. Exploring the mindset of a complicated individual, balancing his condition (schizophrenia) with mutant powers should provide Stevens with a platform to showcase his acting talents.
After transforming himself over the past few years, sporting a trimmer figure and intent to become a serious actor, Stevens is on the cusp of something great. With two further films being scheduled for release in 2017, Stevens’ career is set to be laden with accolades.
Did you know?
- Stevens is an editor-at-large of The Junket, an online quarterly founded in 2011 featuring essays, short fiction and poetry.
- As part of the judging panel for the 2012 Man Brooker Prize, Stevens had to read 146 novels in eight months.
The film you should watch: A Walk Among the Tombstones