Who is Dan Stevens?
That depends on who the actor is playing at the time, but if you answered Downton Abbey’s Matthew, Beast from the new Beauty and the Beast film, or Tim from the film Colossal, you would be right on all counts.
The 34-year-old British actor is one of the busiest actors around at the moment, only taking time away from his beloved profession to marry wife Susie in 2009 and have three children.
His blond and blue-eyed good looks may have made him the toast of females across the world watching Downton Abbey, but there is one who makes him work hard to get his admiration.
‘The female attention I have to struggle hardest with is from my daughter!” he quipped on imdb.com.
Dan says he always wanted to be an actor; his father tells stories of taking him when he was a child to pantomimes, and before they got to the part when children are invited onto the stage, he was already running onstage.
Despite early school reports constantly telling his parents that “Daniel must learn not to distract others” the actor had an academic bent, which culminated in taking an English degree at Cambridge University.
In 2011, Dan and some Cambridge friends established the online literary quarterly The Junket, which features essays, short fiction and poetry, because the friends wanted to encourage each other to continue writing.
“It’s head and heart. I like to feed both—I always wanted to be an actor but the cultural-intellectual side of things has always excited me and I wouldn’t want to let it go,” he told imdb.com.
But it’s Downton Abbey that made him a household face, and Dan is happy to acknowledge that, from a career point of view, the show has opened many doors to him.
While he was filming the UK series, wife Susie and their six-month-old baby would visit the set, causing Dan to remark dryly that, “Everyone loves a baby on set except for the sound department”, he told latimes.com.
Dan is also a man who likes to delve into what is behind the roles he is asked to play. Last year he played the lead in the film The Ticket, the story of a blind man who regained his sight but fell victim to greed and materialism that went with his good fortune.
“It ultimately comes from this question of prayer and faith, and what happens when your prayers are answered or not,” he recently told ew.com.
Fast forward to being cast as the Beast in the new Disney blockbuster and he found that has had challenges of its own, as he had to act on 10-inch stilts, wear a creature mask, and do a lot of dancing, proving that the glamour of film often requires lots of hard work and discomfort.
The Bible tells us that we should “lead a life worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work” (Colossians chapter 1, verse 19). Dan Stevens’ very full personal and professional life would seem to be doing that in spades.