‘Down­ton Abbey’ star stuck in the past

The Washington Times Daily - - Life -

“Down­ton Abbey” star Dan Stevens has been spend­ing twice as much time in the past.

Along with shoot­ing the third sea­son of the 1920s-set Golden Globe-win­ning TV show, he’s been film­ing and ex­ec­u­tive pro­duc­ing an­other pe­riod project in London, play­ing one side of an Ed­war­dian love tri­an­gle in the movie“sum­mer in Fe­bru­ary.”

The tight sched­ule means Mr. Stevens is the earnest Matthew Craw­ley amid the up­per crust of Down­ton Abbey one day — then a 1913 land agent who finds him­self in a com­mu­nity of un­con­ven­tional artists the next.

“It’s been a bit of a headache, but for­tu­nately they’re not too far apart in terms of pe­riod, which is one good thing,” Mr. Stevens told the As­so­ci­ated Press on the set of his new film in Twick­en­ham, out­side London.

Jump­ing be­tween two sets is not some­thing he’d do again, but “Sum­mer in Fe­bru­ary” is a pas­sion project for the 29-year-old.

The film is based on a book by a teacher from his old school, Jonathan Smith, who also adapted the screen­play. They have been talk­ing about the project since the ac­tor was a teenager.

“The book came out around the time that I met him and he al­ways joked that if it got made into a film or TV show, that I’d make a good Gil­bert,” he said.

The film is based on a true story, Mr. Stevens’ char­ac­ter is Gil­bert Evans, a land agent for the Lamorna Val­ley es­tate in Eng­land’s pic­turesque south­west­ern county of Corn­wall, which has be­come home to a group of artists.

Aus­tralian ac­tress Emily Browning plays the ob­ject of his af­fec­tion, Florence Carter-wood, and Do­minic Cooper is Evans’ charis­matic com­pe­ti­tion, A.J., who would go on to fame as artist Sir Al­fred Mun­nings, one of Eng­land’s best painters of ru­ral scenes.

As for how the drama is go­ing at his other his­tor­i­cal project, “Down­ton Abbey,” Mr. Stevens said it’s been ex­cit­ing to be back — and that new ad­di­tion Shirley Maclaine has just com­pleted shoot­ing her scenes.

When he fin­ishes the new sea­son, how­ever, he’s ready to move on from the past.

“I would like to do some­thing mod­ern and pos­si­bly funny,” Mr. Stevens said. “I seem to have not had many laughs for a while, so that would be nice.”

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