I met Dan Stevens in Slovakia in August 2003 when he was played Henry in the Hallmark production of Frankenstein. Nowadays he's a big star in things like Downton Abbey but this might well have been his first ever press interview. Part of this interview was used in a feature in Fangoria.
How did you get this part?
"I just came along and auditioned."
Have you done much acting before this?
"No, this is my first job. I’ve done theatre at university and a bit in London but this is my first movie job."
It’s a big one to start with.
"It’s a great role. It’s not too big, not too small. It’s got enough in there to get your teeth into, but it’s not too exhausting. I’m learning a huge amount. It’s great."
Have you seen many old Frankenstein movies?
"I think I’ve seen the Boris Karloff, I think I’ve seen the Branagh, I’m aware of lots of others - I think I have seen more than that. But it’s great to be adding to the legend, adding another one to the pile, doing a film that people can compare to, rather than a new film. It’s one that people can say, ‘Well, that was better than this one but not as good as this one’ - I’m not going to say which!"
It’s an interesting role because it’s a major one but it’s around the edge of the story. Henry is the voice of reason.
"Yes, he’s very much the balance, the comic foil and the dramatic foil. So in every scene it’s quite important, when Victor’s getting all mad and intense, he’s basically a normal student. Henry’s a very good friend to Victor, he’s a normal student enjoying a normal student life. Meanwhile, Frankenstein is not enjoying a normal student life. Frankenstein’s one of these guys who, if you’ve ever been to university, you never see them. I’m sure there are lots of people today who are building Frankenstein’s monsters in their own rooms - and you never see them. So it’s great to have someone who’s been a friend of his since childhood and is the other side of the coin."
How are you coping with shooting in Slovakia?
"It’s great! It’s very cheap, booze is very cheap! It’s very interesting. It’s probably more apt for ‘Drrrac-yularr’, but the accents of the crew and the people you meet in the town kind of adds a bit to the horror genre, maybe. It’s very, very hot, that’s the only problem. It’s much hotter than England."
Especially in that costume. What’s Kevin Connor like as a director?
"He’s very, very good. He’s very friendly, very approachable, which I think is important. I had this image, with my first movie job, of a hard-ass director going: ‘No, no, I want it like this!’ Kevin just gives very gentle advice. He often only has to say a couple of words and you know exactly what you’re doing.”