When it comes to fan bases, those who love “Downton Abbey” love it at a level incomparable to many other entertainment entities. However, one other entertainment entity that could have an even more dedicated fan base is The Walt Disney Company.
Actor Dan Stevens has experienced both worlds. From 2010-2012, Stevens starred as Matthew Crawley during the first three seasons of “Downton Abbey.” Now, Stevens appears as Beast in the new, live action version of the classic Disney film, “Beauty and the Beast.”
“When I left Downton, a lot of people would levy questions like, ‘what are you doing? What are you going to do?’ And I guess the last few years have been about answering those questions in a number of different ways,” said Stevens in a new interview with the Telegraph.
As different as “Downton Abbey” is from “Beauty and the Beast,” the two had one major thing in common for Stevens: elaborate dining scenarios.
“[On ‘Downton Abbey’] the dining room scenes were a torture to shoot, but as a result there was a kind of gallows humour that we all developed,” added Stevens during his Telegraph chat. “You are eating all day, increasingly cold peas and congealed gravy, and there are 20 of you sat around a table. We used to play Wink Murder. Maggie Smith (the Dowager Countess) is unbelievably good at Wink Murder.”
Meanwhile on the set of “Beauty and the Beast,” Stevens faced the challenge of donning steel-capped stilts, a weighted, muscular-looking vest, not to mention a separate cooling vest to keep him as chilled as possible in his hot costume.
However, the physical nature of playing Beast made Stevens’ appetite grow enormously.
“It was a pretty athletic job for me,” recalled Stevens when speaking Britain’s Radio Times magazine. “I was physically conditioning my legs to be on stilts for 12 hours a day and also conditioning the rest of me so that I didn’t waste away – I was losing so much fluid from sweating.”
He continued: “I would overheat, especially when we were dancing, so between takes there was a little tube that could be plugged in to ice-cold water to cool me down… I was honestly eating four roast dinners every day, just to keep any form of physicality.”
That’s a lot of meat, but it sure seems better than “congealed gravy”!
Beginning Wednesday, April 5 (10pm ET/7pm PT), VisionTV will air an encore presentations of “Downton Abbey” Season 6!
Also, please be sure to join us on Tuesday, April 4 (9pm ET/6pm PT) for the much-anticipated VisionTV premiere of the stunning new British drama, “Victoria”!