When Dan Stevens chose to walk away from his role in the award-winning Downton Abbey in 2012, it raised a few eyebrows. Fans of were surprised – and upset – by his decision to leave the show, which remains one of Britain’s best-loved dramas. Now celebrating his lead role in new thriller The Guest, Dan seems vindicated.
to pursue a Hollywood career, the star said, "I couldn't have sat down two years ago and said, 'Ok Julian Fellowes, what I actually want to do is atwisted action thriller black comedy
with horror elements. Preferably with an American accent.' That would have been insane and highly implausible."But as soon as that opportunity came along, it seemed like a reality.
If you believe that you yourself can do something – and I read things and I'm like I don't know if I can actually pull it off…I think it's yourself that you have to convince as much as anyone, really
Dan – who starred asMatthew Crawley
, the charming cousin of Lady Mary on Downton – plays a diversely different character in his latest venture.InThe Guest
, he stars asDavid
, a soldier who introduces himself to the Peterson family, claiming to be a friend of their late son, who died overseas.
He wins over the family, bonding with each member in an eerily perfect way – but aseries of unexplained deaths
raise questions about whether David is who he claims to be.The role also required Dan to undergo aphysical transformation
. "I wanted to look the part, and also feel the part," the actor told Bustle. "There was a lot of time spent at the gym, some marital arts training, weapons training, and that really fed into the psychology of the character, the aesthetic, as well."