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Dan Stevens on his daring decision to leave Downton Abbey


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.

dan recent © Photo: Getty Images
Dan Stevens made the decision to leave Downton Abbey in 2012

Speaking to


about leaving


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 a

twisted 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


downton © Photo: ITV
Dan Stevens as the charming Matthew Crawley

Dan – who starred as

Matthew Crawley

, the charming cousin of Lady Mary on Downton – plays a diversely different character in his latest venture.In

The Guest

, he stars as


, a soldier who introduces himself to the Peterson family, claiming to be a friend of their late son, who died overseas.

Dan Stevens has taken on the lead role in The Guest

He wins over the family, bonding with each member in an eerily perfect way – but a

series of unexplained deaths

raise questions about whether David is who he claims to be.The role also required Dan to undergo a

physical 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."

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