Five Favorite Films

Dan Stevens' Five Favorite Films

by | November 22, 2017 | Comments

(Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)

2017 has been an outstanding year for Dan Stevens. Not only did he star in the year’s top-grossing film so far, Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast, he also earned widespread acclaim for his lead role in Marvel’s X-Men-themed FX drama Legion. In the meanwhile, he also somehow found the time to appear in a whopping six more films, including the Thurgood Marshall biopic Marshall and the quirky comedy Colossal.

Fans of Downton Abbey may recognize Stevens as Matthew Crawley, who was such a fan favorite that his untimely death caused a bit of an uproar. This week Stevens stars in another period drama, but with a Holiday twist — he plays writer Charles Dickens in The Man Who Invented Christmas, a fact-based tale about the intense six-week period when Dickens penned the now classic A Christmas Carol. Stevens spoke with RT about his Five Favorite Films, about the remarkable true story behind the film, and about his own family’s holiday traditions.

Withnail and I (1987) 94%

Let’s start with Withnail and I. That’s gotta be pretty much up there. I adore that film. I can quote it at great length. Many of my great friends love it, too. It’s a film about two overindulging actors who go on holiday by mistake. What’s not to like? It’s wonderful. There’s so much I would like to say about that film. It’s this sort of beautiful eulogy, really, but a very, very funny one. It’s probably got as many quotable lines in it as any film, really. Richard E. Grant and Paul McGann just… I don’t know. I adore it. That’s the problem with a film you love so much, is I don’t know really what to say about it. I completely love it.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) 93%

What else would I go for? 2001. That’s gotta be up there. Just the trippiest, most beautiful epic. Again, I’m just sort of floored, really.

I went to see the New York Philharmonic play the score live to a screening with my wife not that long ago, and it was awesome. There was an interval built in — it was obviously part of the film. We were shuffling back in after the interval, and I heard an elderly couple who were maybe not loving the experience. This guy is shuffling in and said to his wife, “Well, if you thought nothing happened in the first half…” [laughs] Yeah. She was not really loving that.

Singin' in the Rain (1952) 100%

Singin’ in the Rain. I’ll put that up there. I now watch that with kids, which I love. I’ve always loved that film. My five-year-old son loves the “Make ‘Em Laugh” sequence as much as I ever did, and that’s just delightful. It’s a wonderful film about film, which is so often a great source of enjoyment. In glorious Technicolor. I don’t know. It’s funny — I’m sort of now re appreciating it through my kids but the scene where the dubbing goes wrong and sort of saying, “Yes, yes, yes,” and, “No, no, no,” into this sort of giant microphone. It seems to be timelessly funny, that. It’s adorable.

This Is Spinal Tap (1984) 95%

This Is Spinal Tap. Let’s put that one on there. This list is gonna get really long in a minute. I mean, I love all of Christopher Guest’s movies, but I’ll put that one up there. I could easily say Best in Show as well. I don’t know, there’s just something about the Britishness of the rock and roll, which has always made me laugh, in a way. It seems to say a lot about the age that I grew up in and just before I came along. At the age I first saw it, I was very right for watching a satire about the ’70s and ’80s and a culture that had just come before, I guess. The performances are so delightful. I also really like Waiting for Guffman. God, he’s wonderful director.

Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979) 95%

The Life of Brian. Put that up there. I can watch Monty Python any time of the day or night, anywhere, particularly the series. That film is just so kind of brazen and smart and silly. It’s outrageously funny and epic as well. People don’t make comedies on that kind of scale anymore. Epic is usually associated with something very earnest and serious. I just love how they sort of blew that out of the water.

Ryan Fujitani for Rotten Tomatoes: You’ve had an incredible year so far — Beauty and the Beast, Legion, even Marshall and Colossal — and now you’re starring in The Man Who Invented Christmas. I was actually unfamiliar with the story behind the film. How much did you know about it, going in?

Dan Stevens: I guess a little, but not as much as I came away with, certainly. I think inevitably when you sort of dive into quite a small window on someone’s life — we’re talking about six weeks, really, the action of our particular story. You think that something that became such a cultural monolith, and it had a such a huge impact on the way that we celebrate Christmas in the West, but also the way we think about redemption and greed. It really speaks perhaps into a lot of quite universal things, that story.

The fact that it was created in six weeks in such a mad frenzy, and that he put himself under a huge personal amount of pressure… He had four kids at the time, one on the way, mounting debts. He’d knocked out three not terribly successful books back to back — the Americans really didn’t like Martin Chuzzlewit. He was in a bit of bind, and yet was clearly this fount of incredible social satire and a good deal of anger, I think, about the society that he could see emerging around him and the rise of rampant industrial capitalism. All of these boiled into this incredible work.

So I hadn’t really appreciated the time scale, I think. I knew that, yes, going to the workhouse when he was a kid — that loomed over his work. I sort of knew certain biographical elements. But to have them distilled into this little moment really that changed his life and changed everybody’s life quite significantly, it’s amazing to see how condensed that was.

RT: As you mention, this book did change a lot of the traditions associated with Christmas in the Western world. Are there any special traditions you celebrate with your family during the holidays?

Stevens: Yeah, one which has emerged since having kids, I think, which we borrowed from great friends of ours who do the same thing, is that on Christmas Eve, everybody has to gather around and watch The Muppet Christmas Carol. It’s a great tradition, and it’s also a great version of the tale. Yeah, one of my favorites. I’ll put that on the list as well. Put that in brackets. [laughs]

The Man Who Invented Christmas opens today. Read reviews for it here.

Tag Cloud

American Society of Cinematographers binge Apple TV Plus Sundance TV First Reviews The Arrangement ratings serial killer Sony Pictures Showtime Musicals Box Office psychological thriller Brie Larson Disney Channel quibi Netflix Christmas movies Disney VH1 elevated horror finale Music GoT Opinion Video Games foreign witnail Vudu Animation Christmas historical drama politics golden globes animated TV directors movies 2016 Logo First Look Freeform Trivia San Diego Comic-Con LGBT Esquire DC Comics what to watch CBS Awards Tour Bravo 24 frames Academy Awards Apple blaxploitation stand-up comedy crossover Reality Competition Spike Turner Classic Movies See It Skip It supernatural The Walking Dead President Superheroe police drama Marathons Endgame miniseries Hallmark Christmas movies 2019 Polls and Games Lucasfilm OWN singing competition Spectrum Originals screenings casting mockumentary Oscars BET YouTube Red Character Guide Family 2015 indie Spring TV Turner Women's History Month anthology Mudbound SDCC Sundance Now MTV independent Hulu Elton John Watching Series Cannes Lionsgate ITV WarnerMedia Awards television talk show Netflix robots adventure X-Men Mindy Kaling Food Network BBC America Amazon Prime CMT comic doctor who A&E justice league slashers Fantasy dc psycho GLAAD romance science fiction toy story Binge Guide cars harry potter Disney streaming service Britbox travel YouTube Premium biography Drama dceu docudrama Chernobyl vampires Western cancelled TV series Classic Film facebook FOX Best and Worst TBS Amazon 45 jamie lee curtis cults boxoffice National Geographic Film Festival Arrowverse discovery Nominations USA Network Marvel Television Anna Paquin natural history canceled TV shows award winner space Tubi Pet Sematary south america cancelled CW Seed BBC 2020 screen actors guild SundanceTV spider-man period drama breaking bad strong female leads RT History APB sitcom Pop streaming Syfy video Extras TCA Winter 2020 diversity zombies batman TLC USA unscripted Starz TV renewals Summer Quiz Marvel Studios Lifetime Christmas movies Interview richard e. Grant sag awards green book 71st Emmy Awards Tumblr OneApp Ellie Kemper Discovery Channel hispanic Mary poppins TruTV PaleyFest free movies Holiday ESPN Apple TV+ dramedy Rock Winners teaser Martial Arts E3 Calendar Toys game of thrones E! DC Universe Walt Disney Pictures medical drama romantic comedy Marvel cinemax social media Writers Guild of America children's TV Shudder Rom-Com Star Wars NYCC Superheroes Emmys versus 007 TCA Sci-Fi Pixar Podcast Mary Tyler Moore Year in Review FX sports sequel Amazon Prime Video Holidays canceled Set visit Sundance mutant IFC LGBTQ crime drama cooking Film cancelled television Pride Month spain CNN Stephen King revenge thriller 20th Century Fox aliens hist reboot anime NBC PBS Schedule war Captain marvel Paramount Network The Purge Black Mirror MCU composers Heroines RT21 Acorn TV IFC Films Comedy Central Cartoon Network Valentine's Day Mystery transformers Certified Fresh GIFs Avengers zero dark thirty MSNBC SXSW Dark Horse Comics The CW Trailer dragons Ovation Nat Geo spinoff cats Columbia Pictures comiccon Tomatazos Emmy Nominations Star Trek HBO Max Winter TV ABC zombie Fox News Paramount TV Land blockbuster Trophy Talk spanish language TCM Ghostbusters nature Red Carpet Election Grammys DGA theme song Epix Nickelodeon spy thriller werewolf Disney+ Disney Plus Crunchyroll cartoon Creative Arts Emmys Musical technology 2018 Comics on TV festivals Fall TV Thanksgiving crime thriller New York Comic Con AMC political drama WGN Horror Sneak Peek Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Biopics disaster Country DirecTV HBO Disney Plus Reality Countdown The Witch Infographic Peacock Super Bowl Chilling Adventures of Sabrina ABC Family Lifetime El Rey TNT series crime name the review Song of Ice and Fire adaptation Kids & Family 21st Century Fox Warner Bros. Comedy Adult Swim Teen true crime documentary Hallmark Action renewed TV shows cops YA rotten movies we love Television Academy A24 kids Photos Mary Poppins Returns CBS All Access Universal ghosts halloween Tarantino game show DC streaming service comics christmas movies Crackle based on movie 2017 YouTube TIFF Baby Yoda TCA 2017 Pirates Cosplay Masterpiece Rocky Premiere Dates latino tv talk book Shondaland Comic Book Rocketman cancelled TV shows joker FXX History VICE