Downton Abbey 3: CBS video interview

The CBS Sunday Morning behind the scenes visit to Downton Abbey,  broadcast yesterday, has been uploaded to their website. Lots of glimpses of Dan on set, along with brief interviews with him and the cast. 

Comments

I watched the "Line of beauty" just based on what I read here

I saw his act in line of beauty just a few nights before. I should confess that before I watched the Christmas especial of DA, if it could be called especial, I could not wait to make a time to watch the line of beauty but after Chrsitmas especial all of a sudden I did not feel that motivation or eagerness to watch it. Finally I came to this conclusion of watching it, not as very much enthusiastic as before, just because not only i had already paid for it and it's sitting on my TV stand anyway but also just to give the benefit of doubt to what people are talking about "he played much better in line of beauty and the character was not boring." I should heartfeltly say with no grudge held from DA that the act was a "so so" and an amatuer one, of course he was much younger then. The character doesn't fit Dan Stevens potentials that were brought to florish in DA, and i really did not enjoy his character and the story line! I think what Dan went through DA, to be able to play as Matthew Crawley has polished his acting level very much and this depends on not only Dan's potentials but also the director's directions, the musician who put that specific piece introduced to the film whenever Matthew was entering a major scene and the persona of Matthew Crawley. what was the take home message from Line of Beauty? hey youngsters it is not that difficult to do drugs. Things that you may find odd to do or not easy to do, can be easily done if you make yourself out of mind by using drugs and their influences, that you are capable to do anything under these circumstances for a temporary instinctive pleasure that does not last so long, only just for minutes, but instead you have to face the consequences for a lengthy duration of life long . There was not much magnifying part to show the outcome of doing these, that would be what all the charcaters got at the end: DESPAIR, bearing a long lasting suffering and misery until you die of it! not to mention all the vulgarity of all those disgusting scenes and abnormal behaviors, also the shame ,anxiety and fear of facing their previous encounters and the rest of the society each character went through and then painting them as a usual modern life style of the youth.

As an American fan I also

As an American fan I also went to see The Heiress, I would hardly call his acting 'stellar' , I think it was good but not in any way an outstanding or commanding performance. I agree re Line of Beauty, great work but this suggestion that because you don't think you have enough to work with you cannot bring a character to life, you can not express emotion etc is rather suspect. How many great roles are there? Surely not 'Vamps"? You work with what you have, that presumably is what acting is! Yes the writing is sometimes execrable, but he has had three seasons to explore and develop his character with at times some very good writing, the fact that he was tired from commuting, reading the Booker between takes etc says more about his commitment to his ongoing career than his current role. Leave with grace rather than criticise the writing, plot lines and intelligence of the series which has given you your fame.
I also agree with the comment re Maggie Smith's acting - nothing to work with, no writing, a simple walk across a floor communicated far more grief than one could bear, that's stellar.

If we're going to compare

If we're going to compare everyone to Dame Maggie Smith then we might as well dismiss the acting of pretty much everyone on DA (Shirley MacLaine included, frankly), because no holds a candle next to Maggie. She could read the alphabet and still out-act most actors.
This idea that Dan Stevens somehow owes Downton Abbey and/or owes his US/UK fans to hold fast to a sinking ship is codswallop. He's entitled to take advantage of the DA momentum to explore as many opportunities as he can. Others have done it, why he should be beholden to some other standard is absurd. Vamps is just one such step in his attempt to not only do so, but also presumably to break away from his "period drama" image, not to mention just a chance to do something mindlessly fun and non-cerebral.
And not to state the obvious but a reminder that we don't actually know that he is not "leaving with grace", we technically still have no idea what he said and didn't say, nor do we know that he has indeed criticized the writing of the show. All we have are reports. As Dan himself cautioned, quoting Mark Twain, "If you don't read the newspapers, you're uninformed, and if you do read the newspapers, you are misinformed."

I agree re Dan's acting in

I agree re Dan's acting in Line of Beauty, a tour de force of emotional expression, however I was very disappointed in his performance in series 3 of Downton when called upon to react to Sybil's death - wooden, hat on hat off style of acting in comparison to other members of the cast. Perhaps he has grown tired of the role but there is still some life to be brought to it, contrast his reaction at Sybil's death to that of Maggie Smith simply crossing the hall after greeting Carson the following day, wordless and heartbreaking it undid us all.

Not Really His Fault

I can see how it may appear that Dan's acting was lackluster in Season 3, but truthfully, I think that has more to do with the writing of the entire season rather than his acting abilities which are stellar, from what I've seen in his roles outside of DA. (Line of Beauty, The Heiress, Hilde)

In my opinion, Season 3 sucked. With convoluted story lines, contrived conflicts and far too many unrealistic twists to be credible, there was absolutely nowhere for Dan to take S3's Matthew because the depth and complexities of his S1/S2 arc (pre-miracle return of use of legs) were just not there to be mined. His entire story line in S3 seemed contrived and irratic, with "wooden" writing and zero character development and Dan just had to roll with it. Even an actor as good as Dan has to have something to work with.

That is why I don't blame him for wanting to move on. After watching the season I would actually be very disappointed if he stayed on. It was painful to watch and I daresay probably just as painful for him act, especially for such a cerebral actor who obviously holds himself to a high standard.

(As an aside, I think the fact that Dan was also filming Summer in February in Cornwall while shooting S3 of DA, and commuting between the two locations, probably took a toll on him physically, which may account for his energy in S3. Who knows, the simultaneousness of the projects may also have served to highlight the contrast in the two scripts/characters further, making it harder for him to commit to a Matthew that was increasing lackluster and directionless in comparison.)

DC Fan

it had a good momentum and

it had a good momentum and character development at the begining when he was supposed to get involved in modernization of Downton management and promote his abilities as an attorney. he could have also become lord Grantham's attorney since the one he already had was almost retiring and they could have lots of adventures. I think his role started to become stagnant when he gave this impression that he wants to leave and became pessimitic by focusing on superficial issues like impotency, etc . Maybe this made the writer confused, made him not to follow his initial plans and stop developing his character so he could be killed off and left the mordenization topic hanging in the air.

ADDING TO AU CONTRAIRE

I do so agree with your analysis of Dan. Living in U.K. I haven't had the opportunity of seeing The Heiress, but, like you, I think his Nick Guest in The Line of Beauty is his finest work to date; though as a heterosexual female I sometimes found it uncomfortable. I remember reading that the author, Alan Hollinghurst, said that Dan could convey in a look and gesture what it took him a page and a half to write.
As a devoted fan of Downton Abbey, I have to admit that as Matthew Crawley, Dan has never really been called on to display the depth of his talent.
Highly intelligent, multi-talented, charismatic,, steely determined with a rebellious streak, he currently seems unstoppable, but may be making envious and powerful enemies along the way. I will continue to follow his career with interest.

Au Contraire Continued

http://www.dan-stevens.co.uk/content/downton-abbey-3-pbs-masterpiece-liv...

Good to hear of another female who's seen and appreciates Dan's portrayal as Nick Guest in The Line of Beauty as much as I do! After seeing him in that, it is hard to watch him chug along as Matthew Crawley, just seems so flat a role for such a talented and multi-dimensional actor to play.

I did read that interview with Alan Hollinghurst about Dan being able to convey in a look what it would ordinarily have taken him (Alan) a page to describe, and I could see what he meant, especially after reading the book. There were many scenes where I was just awed by Dan's ability to nail /convey so many complex emotions simply through his eyes and/or facial expressions. I've heard other female fans mention discomfort at some scenes in the series. Interestingly, I actually found them the opposite; in some ways, it was even more exciting and credible for me watching Dan as Nick in those scenes, than watching him as Matthew Crawley with Mary, but I think that speaks to just how brilliant he was in his portrayal of Nick, among other things.

Definitely agree with you assessment about possibly making envious and powerful enemies along the way. It seems inevitable somehow, whether or not he stays or moves on from DA. I'm already sensing a subtle change in his relationship/dynamic with some of his cast members (mainly the "upstairs" cast) that I don't think is imagined.

As an aside, I can't help but wonder how his wife is faring in all of this. We know she is (was?) a jazz singer, but I hope she's finding the time to continue doing things that nurture her creativity as well, outside of taking care of Willow and Aubrey, and, if she is, I hope Dan is as supportive of her in those endeavors, as she appears to be of him, in his.

I watched the "Line of beauty" just based on what I read here

I saw his act in line of beauty just a few nights before. I should confess that before I watched the Christmas especial of DA, if it could be called especial, I could not wait to make a time to watch the line of beauty but after Chrsitmas especial all of a sudden I did not feel that motivation or eagerness to watch it. Finally I came to this conclusion of watching it, not as very much enthusiastic as before, just because not only i had already paid for it and it's sitting on my TV stand anyway but also just to give the benefit of doubt to what people are talking about "he played much better in line of beauty and the character was not boring." I should heartfeltly say with no grudge held from DA that the act was a "so so" and an amatuer one, of course he was much younger then. The character doesn't fit Dan Stevens potentials that were brought to florish in DA, and i really did not enjoy his character and the story line! I think what dan went through DA to be able to play as Matthew Crawley has polished his acting level. what was the take home message from Line of Beauty?: hey youngsters it is not that difficult to do drugs. Things that you may find odd to do or not easy to do, can be easily done if you make yourself out of mind by using drugs and their influence, that you are capable to do anything under these circumstances for a temporary instinctive pleasure that does not last so long, only just for minutes, but instead you have to face the consequences for a lengthy duration of life long . There was not much magnifying part to show the outcome of doing these, that would be what all the charcaters got at the end: DESPAIR, bearing a long lasting suffering and misery until you die of it! not to mention all the vulgarity of all those disgusting scenes and abnormal behaviors, also the shame ,anxiety and fear of facing their previous encounters and the rest of society each character went through and then painting them as a usual modern life style of the youth.

LOVELY DAN MOMENT....

ALWAYS A JOY TO LISTEN TO AND/OR WATCH DAN. ESPECIALLY GOT A SMILE FROM HIS REPLY TO FANS APPRECIATION OF HIM..."I WON'T PRETEND I DON'T ENJOY IT!", AND ENJOY YOU SHOULD, DAN, YOUR KINDNESS AND COURTESY TO ALL IS BOTH REFRESHING AND ENDEARING.
from the USA

Return to Downton Season 4

I hope Mr. Stevens says something about his return to Downton. So fans would not suffer from all this ambiguity. It would be much appreciated.

Downton cast gathering in NY on Dec. 10, 2012

How come Dan did not attend in December 10th, Ralph Lauren Downton cast gathering. Is this a hint that he is not on good terms with the other members and he is leaving season 4. I hope not!

Good to see their reunion

It was good to see the reunion of some of the DA cast after the performance of The Heiress last night. Great photo on www.broadway.com

Another place

There was an article about Dan attendng the NY Public Library Lions event on the same day. Maybe that could explain his absence. I expect he receives requests to attend all sorts of functions but as he is only off stage on one or 2 days per week it must be difficult to accomodate everybody!

Matthew' Rumoured Departure

It begins to look as if we world-wide Downton fans must brace ourselves for the imminent departure of Dan's Matthew Crawley in Series 4.
Rather than taking the very obvious course of tragically killing him off; the ingenious Julian Fellows fertile mind may devise a plot that leaves the door ajar for Matthew to return briefly before the final curtain comes down on Downton Abbey. We can only hope.

Clinging on in hope & clutching at straws

I am clinging on in hope and clutching at straws! To see Dan as the essential Matthew, at least in some of S4 episodes, preferably with Mary and maybe, also a 'little one', is VERY desirable. I only hope that he can continue to play a part in this superb drama. His role is central as heir to DA, but if he needs to juggle other commitments in order to be involved, please let there be a manageable solution for all.

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