Between Beauty and the Beast and Legion, British actor Dan Stevens is back in the public consciousness in a big way. But what about pubic consciousness? Shut the fuck up, you know what I mean. Let’s talk about Dan Stevens, stages of hotness.
Sense & Sensibility
We start in pre-Downton days with a 2008 BBC miniseries adaptation of Sense & Sensibility in which Stevens plays Edward Ferrars. (He’s the Hugh Grant, for those whose S&S exposure is the Ang Lee movie.) This particular Sense & Sensibility made the somewhat odd choice of casting Janet McTeer as heroines Elinor and Marianne’s mother, with the effect that, of all the hot young things on offer, it’s Mrs. Dashwood you want to make out with. Anyway, Stevens is working a proto version of his Cousin Matthew wide-eyed “who, me?” adorableness here, to limited effect as far as hotness is concerned. There’s a scene here where Edward Ferrars chops wood in the rain that is manifestly hilarious.
“Pip pip, people really did like that Colin Firth lake scene, didn’t they?” “Why, jolly well yes they did, old chap. Should we do something like that here?” “Stop faffing about and have Ferrars strip off a few layers to chop wood in the rain for some reason!” Except Mr. Edward “paralyzed by social mores” Ferrars is the least sexy Austen man, so it’s like putting a puppy dog in a muscle shirt. (Captain Wentworth, as played by Ciarán Hinds, is the most sexy Austen man. That’s facts.)
Playing Matthew Crawley, Downton-era Dan Stevens was hot, but in a safe way. A make-nice-with-your-parents-and-figure-out-proper-agricultural-methods-for-your-dad’s-estate sort of way. (Is that… what happened in Downton? I used to watch, but over time it’s all blended together in my head into one big morass of starched collars, fancy dresses and Baaaates. BaaaaaaAAAaaaaates.) No one’s going to turn him out of bed, but at the same time, he’s not going to light your metaphorical nethers on fire. (As opposed to lighting your real nethers on fire, which sounds like an STD thing. But I’m not sure how widely-used condoms were back in the early 1900s, so maybe… no, you know what? Never mind.)
He looked good in suits, though.
Stevens broke the hearts of Brits and teeaboos the world over when he said “You know what? Fuck this, I’m out” to Downton, leaving poor Lady Mary to raise their fictional child all on their own. And… uh… Edith stole a baby at some point? I cannot stress how very much I gave up on Downton. Anyway, if you’re going to leave the starchy British soap opera that made you famous because you’re worried about being trapped in the BBC period drama tilt-a-whirl, you could do worse than having your next big project be one where you do this:
This is peak fucking hotness is what this is. Dan Stevens played a psycho negaverse Captain America, and it worked, my God, it worked.
A Walk Among the Tombstones
After the runaway cult success of The Guest, Stevens hit a bit of a snag in his “career reinvention” phase, booking supporting roles in movies that didn’t do much of much. (Turns out that there are kind of a lot of attractive, white up-and-coming actors to compete with. Who knew?) He played a skeevy New York drug dealer in the largely forgotten Liam Neeson crime thriller A Walk Among the Tombstones, and… eh.
I mean, it works for the character, but hit the tanning bed and stop by Duane Reade for a razor, good sir.
Night at the Museum 3
Hard pass. No. Would rather not discuss.
Beauty and the Beast
AHHAHAHAHAAHAAHAHAHAHAA. Um. No. Though in the Beauty and the Beast prologue pre-transformation Beast does rock some severely aspirational eyeshadow. It’s bonkers. You could take that look to RuPaul’s Drag Race and get side-eyed for being overly dramatic. Stevens is good in Beauty and the Beast, but he’s not, y’know… attractive. At least in his human form, because it’s a universal truth that human Beast is always going to be a let-down in the looks department. I don’t know what that says about Disney’s nefarious plot to get everyone in a certain age group into furries, but it is what it is.
After a years-long hotness drought, Dan Stevens and his uncommonly blue peepers are finally back in ogle-able form with Legion, which wraps up its first season next Wednesday. Joanna Robinson, who doesn’t even go here, wrote over at Vanity Fair that, as David Haller, “when Stevens makes his enormous blue eyes go wide with innocent confusion, viewers are instantly sympathetic. When those same eyes then gleam with manic evil seconds later, audiences may cringe in fear.” And, uh, also when his eyes “gleam with manic evil,” I’m sort of… into it. I only say that because I know I’m in a place where I won’t be judged. Don’t get me wrong. Affirmation hour with muffintop David Haller ain’t bad:
And Kermit the Frog David Haller ain’t bad:
To say nothing of suave motherfucker David Haller:
But Twizzler dipstick David Haller is very much not bad:
And apparently, between Legion and The Guest, I have a Type as far as Dan Stevens is concerned. But no bother, because it’s not like anybody in Legion can be hotter than Aubrey Plaza anyway. [Spoilers for episode 6]