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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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…