Down­ton Abbey’s Dan Stevens.


Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents - In­ter­view by HANNAH JAMES

You left Down­ton Abbey in 2012, but cousin Matthew’s death still looms large in the cul­tural con­scious­ness. Do peo­ple still stop you in the street and ex­press their grief? Yeah – all over the world, strangely. I take it as a great com­pli­ment that peo­ple cared about him and that sto­ry­line. It speaks for the show, how much a part of peo­ple’s lives it be­came, and it de­lights me that it did be­come that suc­cess­ful. You play the Beast in the new live-ac­tion ver­sion of Beauty And The Beast. Are you wor­ried about an­gry mobs with pitch­forks if fans don’t like it? There’s al­ways go­ing to be peo­ple who imag­ined it dif­fer­ently, but that doesn’t mean it’s any worse for it. It’s an amaz­ing phe­nom­e­non. It wasn’t some­thing I could have even con­ceived of as a child – that there would be the tech­nol­ogy for some­one like me to play the Beast in a live-ac­tion ver­sion. It’s in­cred­i­ble. To marry cut­ting-edge tech­nolo­gies with some­thing so time­less and clas­sic has been awe­some. Are your two chil­dren overjoyed you’re star­ring in this movie? I made it very much with them in mind. It’s a story I’ve read to them hun­dreds of times. It’s big in our house­hold so, in their minds, I’ve al­ready played the Beast sev­eral times. As well as Le­fou, Mau­rice, Gas­ton and all the rest. You must be an epic bed­time story reader. I en­joy it and I hope they en­joy it, too. I love story time. Singer Ali­cia Keys has said she doesn’t want her sons to watch Snow White be­cause she dis­likes its mes­sages about women. Should we hold fairy­tales to those stan­dards? I think Belle is ac­tu­ally a pretty good role model. She’s fearless, brave and she ul­ti­mately helps the Beast re­mem­ber the bet­ter part of his na­ture – so I think she’s very much to be ad­mired and she’s a dif­fer­ent kind of girl from Cin­derella or per­haps Snow White. You stud­ied English lit­er­a­ture at Cam­bridge Univer­sity and your co-star, Emma Wat­son, is also fa­mously book­ish – did you sit around on-set swap­ping book rec­om­men­da­tions? We talked about a lot. She’s an avid reader and I just learnt she’s been leav­ing books on the sub­way in New York and Lon­don, and writ­ing a lit­tle note. Spread­ing ideas that way is great – she’s a fas­ci­nat­ing girl. You’re Bri­tish, but you’re now based in New York. What do you miss about home? I miss my friends, fam­ily; I miss good old-fash­ioned In­dian food – Bri­tish-in­dian curry. I don’t miss the weather! New York is an inspiring city. I love rais­ing my kids here. There’s so much for them to see and do and learn. You’re a bona fide heart-throb. Have you had any par­tic­u­larly mem­o­rable dec­la­ra­tions of love from fans? I got a very sweet fan mes­sage from a lady who was prob­a­bly 96. She said I re­minded her of [actor Ste­wart] Granger from The Man In Grey – I had to look it up, but it was one of the sweet­est com­pli­ments I ever had, and I sub­se­quently be­came a fan of The Man In Grey.


Beauty And The Beast is in cin­e­mas on March 17.

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