Roundtable Interview with Dan Stevens
Star of “The Guest”
September 11, 2014
How did you feel about playing the creepy guy?
Dan Stevens (chuckles):
Well, he’s not just a creepy guy.
That’s one of the biggest things to sort of
feel about this role is that we wanted to play with the audience a bit, and I
certainly grew up loving those kind of movies, that tease an audience, and
kind of take you for a ride a bit. And from the opening scenes, you feel like
you’re in good hands, and you’re just going to be taken where these crazy
filmmakers want to take you.
So we wanted this charm for the character, that
gets him in the door, that ingratiates himself to a number of the family
also have a creepy element to him where the audience would keep asking the
question of how they feel about him.
The hero/villain thing goes out the window,
ultimately, it’s just about whether the character is entertaining, and how
far can we stretch those sympathies for a character that’s seemingly doing
some quite nasty things?
when you were doing those nasty things to people, did you ever think, “Oh my
gosh, are you OK?”
There were a couple of times, yeah, without giving too much away, but
we kept it pretty good-humored.
did you prepare for doing the American accent?
I’ve always enjoyed doing accents, and I consider it a great
privilege to come to another country and be perceived as a native.
I have a good friend who’s from
, and I got him to read The Gettysburg Address to me, and I was
paying close attention to the consonants and elocution and things like that,
so it’s loosely based on him.
(The character) David says he’s from
, and we want to believe as much as comes out of his mouth as
also ran it through a slightly military dialect: anybody we know who’s been
in the military, even in
—your native accent is modified, to an extent.
And that’s very interesting, as well; it
slightly blurs the background of this character, which we sort of wanted---to
give him a slightly mysterious past, you know.
did you prepare yourself to play such a violent guy like this?
Well, we wanted to root him in a couple of different realities:
one, he’s a very good soldier, and that’s why
he was picked for the program in the first place, very expedient.
And also he’s a charming man, a nice guy, but
the program has eliminated certain human elements that we would recognize,
which makes him a little off, and that’s where some of the fun of this film
comes from, I think.
you have weapons training, fighting training?
What was that like?
Very much so, yeah.
The physical preparation was a big part of this
for me. It
was a big transformation, which is something I’ve been kind of interested to
psychology that’s required---particularly the discipline for the martial
arts thing---it was about two hours in the gym every day and two additional
hours martial arts training and then we’d go to the gun range at lunchtime,
and everything in between.
So there were a lot of new challenges for me in
the martial arts discipline was key, in terms of dialing in a certain kind of
stillness; a certain kind of calm, and a certain way of thought, which certain
soldiers definitely have.
It even makes you stand differently!
Then there was the nutrition, the body-building
techniques, all of it was like a full-time job in itself.
for your time.
Very nice to meet you.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Minister,
St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church,