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

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