A year ago, I had so much love for Dan Stevens and his portrayal of Cousin Matthew Crawley on Downton Abbey. Then Dan Stevens wanted to become a movie star and he didn’t want to renew his contract, so the writers and producers of Downton were forced to write Matthew out completely. And then I didn’t love him anymore! There was a rumor going around that Julian Fellowes, who created the series, tried to convince Dan Stevens to come back for the first episode of Season 4 so that the family could relaly “say goodbye” to Matthew in a more meaningful way, and the rumor was that Dan flat-out refused. Basically, the impression was and is that there were some bad feelings by many involved, and the tone and tenor of Season 4 should be interesting. Especially since Lady Mary is going to be getting a new boyfriend pretty quickly. So much for a “period of mourning” for Black Widow Crawley. HOW MANY MEN WILL YOU KILL, MARY?!
Anyway, throughout the scandal, Dan Stevens really didn’t say much. But now he’s given a new interview to Radio Times (a UK mag) about what happened. Guess what? I’m now completely over Dan Stevens. He’s really throwing Julian Fellowes under the bus here:
Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens has apologised for his character’s death during the Christmas special, saying: “I am sorry about that!”
Speaking to Radio Times, the 30-year-old star went on to say: “I think what emerged is that it’s an unwritten rule that you’re not supposed to die on British television on Christmas Day, and that, specifically, was not my doing.”
Stevens’ character, Matthew Crawley, was killed in a car crash after visiting his wife Mary and their newborn baby in hospital. The untimely demise of such a main character, in the last few minutes of the two-hour festive episode, came as a shock to viewers expecting a more uplifting installment of the hit ITV period drama.
Apologising to the viewers who felt Matthew’s fate dampened their festive cheer, Stevens added: “I didn’t have any say in the manner in which he went. Ultimately, it was in the hands of Julian [Fellowes] and the producers.”
The British actor did concede that his demise was better than breaking up Matthew and Mary – the couple who spent two series getting together – by other means. “It was right that he didn’t run off and have an affair with somebody,” he said. “I don’t think that would have been right for Matthew as a character.”
So, Dan admits that it would have been difficult for the writers to come up with a situation in which Matthew abandoned Mary, so what else is there? Of course he had to die! So then it becomes – how should he die? On what kind of time-table? And that’s where Dan is silent, because I think he really didn’t want to come back for Season 4 at all, not even for a flashback or a funeral or something. And the reason Dan Stevens was “done” is because he’s now a big movie star! Or something. Something is going on with him, and it’s not good. He’s lost a lot of weight, his hair is sketchy, his clothes are weird and he just looks so creepy nowadays. I miss my Matthew Crawley.
Fans of Dan Stevens will get to see him later this year… in The Fifth Estate, with Benedict Cumberbatch. The Sad Tale of Dan Stevens is a reminder of just how smart Benedict is about his career – Benedict is in a position where he could easily step away from Sherlock and pursue his burgeoning film career, but Cumby stuck with Sherlock and proved himself to be a true professional. Of course, Sherlock is a WAY better show than Downton, but still.
Photos courtesy of WENN.