Dan Stevens is on the cusp of being Famous. At this very moment he’s right on the edge, toeing the line that borders the kind of celebrity you don’t come back from. And I don’t think he knows it.
He can still sit in a coffee shop unrecognized. He hasn’t mastered the art of nailing a red carpet photo call. The internet doesn’t know every little thing about him. (“So you have two kids, right?” I asked him nonchalantly during our interview, as if I hadn’t Googled it a few hours before. “Three now. When I last checked,” he replied, looking down at the photo of his family on the background of his phone. Damn you, Wikipedia.) But all that’s about to change.
Right now, Stevens has four episodes of FX’s new Marvel series Legion in the bag and is smack-dab in the middle of a press tour for one of the mostly highly anticipated films of the year, Beauty and the Beast. You can also spot him in the trailer for Anne Hathaway’s upcoming movie, Colossal. His next film, The Ticket, opens in April. He has five other projects in the works, according to IMDb. His face―which you might remember from Downton Abbey, though it looks a little different these days―is about to be everywhere.
Before he kicked off his Beauty and the Beast premieres, I spoke to the actor about his new show, his ever-changing appearance, and his fans, who include my mom―and me.
Why did you decide to do ‘Legion’?
There were lots of reasons making me want to do it, really. Noah Hawley was probably the first reason. I thought Fargo was amazing and I’ve read a few of his books now. I think he’s a great novelist and thinks novel-length thoughts, and I thought, That’s somebody I’d really like to work with. I met him the year before last, briefly, and when Legion came along it didn’t take me long to think, Okay, well, Noah plus the insanely epic scope of this character—that’s surely a recipe for something kind of fun and, if nothing else, different. And hopefully fun and cool at the same time. And I know he picks excellent music for his shows, so you know it’s going to have a good soundtrack.
I had such fun with it. It was really those elements. And then he started shaping up the team of people that were going to be doing it and I thought the kinds of names he was thinking about and talking about were just so cool. It’s a nice combination of things that spurred me on.
And it’s so different from what you’ve done in the past.
Yeah, it’s different from most things all of us have done. There was nothing else really to compare it to. That always piques my interest.