from Downton Abbey costar Allen Leech’s wedding. uninhibited laughter, the kind that makes you throw your head back or grab your chest, is always a joy for me to see! Michelle Dockery, aka Lady Mary Crawley, is on the far left; Susie, Dan’s perfect match of a wife, is next; the bride, actress Jessica Blair Herman, is in the middle; Dan, looking very Matthew Crawley-esque, is to the right; and to the far right is Allen Leech, aka Tom Branson/the groom, enjoying a pint.
I can’t begin to describe to you how much I like this picture, so I’ll just describe who is in it instead. first we have Dan to the far right, in a neon graphic shirt making the face (minus the pointing); in front of him is Susie, looking adorable as always; resting his hand on Dan’s shoulder is Joe Keery, aka Steve from Stranger Things, in all his hipster-hobo glory; to his left is girlfriend Maika Monroe, Dan’s costar in The Guest, looking like a kickass modern day Sporty Spice; and then clear over on the far left (sorry all you people in the middle, who I don’t know) is Josh Gad, Dan’s costar in both Beauty and The Beast and Marshall, looking like he just stepped out of a Clerks remake.
this looks to be an outtake from the Off Camera with Sam Jones interview photoshoot, sans the black & white filter. I’m glad this one is in color. it’s warm, it’s sincere, it’s Dan.
after the previous post, I wanted to lighten things back up for the new year. I found one of those challenges on Twitter where you’re supposed to post a pic a day of your ‘idol’. I’m doing it here, stuffing it all into one post, but only using pics I have downloaded to my computer already. I may have stretched the intentions a little to match the themes up with the images I had to choose from…
on set of the movie Vamps
Beauty and The Beast promotion
The Late Late Show
with wife, Susie
the cast of Legion
GQ 2017, David Burton
GQ 2017, David Burton
GQ 2017, David Burton
on set of Apostle
favorite tv show
Late Night with Seth Meyers
reading a book
how you view a storm is a question of perspective; provided you find the right rock to watch it from, it could be the most incredible thing you’ll ever witness.
before the madness of the next three days kicks off for me, I’m stocking up on Christmas spirit. Dan makes that easy, because he loves Christmas. his director on The Man Who Invented Christmas said he was a source of good cheer while they were filming the movie, bringing in little gifs everyday for the crew and even an espresso machine! in one of my favorite interviews Dan talks about what it’s like in his household during Christmas with three small children, and how hard it is to find mince pies in America (I had my first taste of mince pie a few weeks ago and it was delicious!)
Dan made two Christmas themed posts on Instagram this past week. the first, I found very apt since I myself wasn’t quite done with my shopping yet…
and the second, I love not only for the whimsy of hanging Christmas bulbs on a cactus but check out that string of Christmas lights on the back fence. I don’t think he even has them tacked up, just tucked behind the slats.
I always enjoy watching Dan Stevens in interviews, but my favorite by far is Off Camera with Sam Jones. 54 minutes filled with talk of imagination, voice acting, and career trajectory. in black in white.
when I sit down to watch it, I settle in with anticipation and am instantly entranced. the first subject to be discussed? accents. I’m in love already! Dan talks about not just learning the lines on the page with a particular accent but the physicality that comes with learning an accent, the way you hold your body and how the sounds sit in your throat. Sam asks if he’s ever practiced an accent by pretending to be that character in public. Dan says that he has, though it’s harder now that he’s recognizable and people already know what he sounds like. he goes on to say how much he enjoys that aspect of acting, the researching of a character:
“I like the feeling of working. I like the sense of exploration, of research. I like feeling like I’m learning. If I’m fulfilling a character properly, in my mind, I’m learning something about the world, about people, about the way things have always been done, or the way that things might be done. I feel like I’m absorbing new information and sort of feeling my way out through this particular character.”
we’re off to a good start, because I love accents as well. and research! our ideas of research differ a little though in that my subject of choice is Dan himself… next up is the concept of imagination. Sam references an essay Dan wrote about an Invisible Watch
the way Dan’s eyes light up when he talks about the sound effects of radio plays and how that engages our imagination. first accents, and now imagination and sound effects? they are speaking my language! the talk of radio plays moves into discussing theatre and how Dan didn’t train by going to drama school, but rather from performing with The Peter Hall Company, learning on the job instead:
“Through the formal training that I got from Peter Hall, I learned that speaking verse, doing Noël Coward, is very precise, tersely written dialogue. The tempo of that and finding the musicality of great writing is something that he really taught me. That really played into learning the rules, and then, learning how to break them.”
the musicality of writing. I really like that description. they talk about Legion a bit, and then Dan says something that I find very interesting. he says that he makes project choices with specific people in mind:
“It might be a small group of friends, one friend, my wife, or my kids. But there will be somebody that I’m picturing, almost like I’m handing them the DVD and being like, “I was thinking about you when I made this.” That helps me focus my choices, but it also leaves me open to doing different things in different ways.”
he goes on to say that you’re not going to please everyone all the time, especially now when the internet makes it so easy for people to say how terrible they think things are. he brushes that off by knowing that the person he made it for liked it and that makes him happy. that’s nice, isn’t it? Dan, if you want to make something for me, I’d like a comedy about your shoes. Katherine Heigl did ’27 dresses’, you could do ‘a Legion of Doc Martens’! a mad idea, maybe. speaking of madness:
“If you find another mad person who thinks you’re maybe not so mad, that’s the most beautiful thing in the world.”
*hugs all my fandom friends*
They touch upon Dan’s time at university, when he tried his hand at stand up comedy. during the course of this part of the conversation Sam asks Dan if he thinks he’s an extrovert. Dan is a little evasive about it at first, joking that it depends upon what room they’re in, how big the room is, how many people are in the room, but then he admits that he’s not someone who needs to be the center of attention. watching him answer that question confirms what I’ve suspected- even though Dan can be a real ham, there’s shyness underneath.
They talk about the ‘big move’ next, when Dan left Downton Abbey and moved to America (which, by the way, the internet still can not seem to shut up about. if I had a dollar for every time I saw someone tweet how mad they still are at Dan for this, I could have my own Doc Martens collection). he came for a play (The Heiress), stayed for a movie (A Walk Among The Tombstones) and then settled into Brooklyn to stay (until he moved to LA earlier this year). I always think of his wife when this discussion arises, moving across the ocean with two very small children, for something that isn’t a sure thing. Dan is sure to emphasize how much her support means to him:
“having a partner in life who meets that mad idea and doesn’t run in the other direction, but says, That’s kind of beautiful. I want to come on that adventure.” … “Having the love and support of somebody who can hold your hand through those difficult moments where you realize it’s going to be okay, something good is going to come out of this—that’s a wonderful thing.”
They close the interview by talking about Beauty and The Beast, how Dan found the right voice for The Beast and if the singing aspect of the film was intimidating. Dan talks about the tool bag of an actor here, how it used to be that every actor had a bag of skills that he automatically brought with him, singing, dancing, acting, being able to have fun and then be able to cry, etc. and that’s the way he still looks at it. he wants to be the type of actor who can rise to the challenge and keep adding to his skill set. with a career as varied as Dan’s: sci-fi, period dramas, crime thrillers, comedy, horror, and a tool bag that contains acting, singing, dancing, narrating, writing, he can give those Golden Age of Hollywood actors a run for their money.
It may seem like I recounted the entire interview here but I didn’t. it’s well worth a watch. and another. and another. go download it (it’s only $1.49). you know you want to…