The kookiest characters onscreen this season often is the ones performed by Dan Stevens.

This batch of charismatic weirdos joins the gathering of strange roles he has amassed for the reason that 2014 thriller “The Guest,” his post-“Downton Abbey” breakthrough. Stevens, 41, lands someplace between main man and character actor, and he revels within the mischievous tone required for these offbeat elements, a few of which he describes as “funcomfortable.”

Proper now in theaters he will be seen as a successful monster veterinarian in “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire” and as a corrupt cop turned bloodsucker within the horror comedy “Abigail.” This summer time, he’ll seem in “Cuckoo,” a sci-fi horror mash-up set within the Alps, during which he performs a German scientist whose welcoming facade hides a fascination with a weird endangered species.

Stevens, who’s British, lately spoke with The New York Occasions over espresso within the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles. He wore a long-sleeved T-shirt bearing the defining picture of “The Holy Mountain,” Alejandro Jodorowsky’s 1973 cult traditional: a person seated and carrying a pointed hat, framed by two girls.

Through the interview, Stevens talked about his curiosity in style motion pictures and why his purpose is all the time to make a director snicker. Listed below are edited excerpts from the dialog.

I’ve to ask about your “Holy Mountain” shirt. That’s an incredible, trippy midnight film.

I’m an enormous fan of Jodorowsky. He’s a real visionary dreamer. I completely love filmmakers who current you with unforgettable imagery. He’s a typical touchstone with numerous nice filmmakers I like.

What have been you watching rising up?

It was someplace between Amblin motion pictures [like “The Goonies” and “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial”] and John Carpenter. However I additionally watched numerous British comedy. I’ve all the time had very combined tastes.

Do you think about your self a horror fan?

Sure, however I’ve met actual horror followers and I wouldn’t go toe-to-toe with them in a quiz. Horror shares one thing with comedy, which I like simply as a lot, in that you just immediately know if it’s working in a crowd. The viewers suggestions tells you. Filmmakers in each are actively trying to poke the viewers and evoke a response.

Have you ever all the time been a fan of style movies or is that the impression we get out of your physique of labor?

I’ve executed extra horror than some other style, though one may say interval drama is a style as properly. I’ve all the time been drawn to horror. Primarily as a result of they’re such playful movies and normally the filmmakers are themselves very playful folks. I like being a part of that game-playing side of filmmaking, with the viewers and typically with the actors.

Would you say bizarre characters are inherently extra satisfying to play?

From the output this yr, that appears to be what I get pleasure from doing. [Laughs] I’m trying to proceed that pattern. However it may be all kinds of various sorts of characters inside that remit. Straight main males don’t are typically that attention-grabbing. It’s uncommon that they’re written as essentially the most attention-grabbing function within the script. [Laughs].

How are you aware when a peculiar character, like those you play in “Cuckoo” or “Godzilla x Kong,” is working?

It needs to be one thing that makes the filmmaker smile, that provides them the correct of snicker that’s going to see them via the making of this factor. That normally transmits via the display. Audiences are inclined to get pleasure from one thing we’ve mischievously loved creating.

How would you describe the vampires in “Abigail”?

Evidently when folks get was vampires on this planet of “Abigail,” they only grow to be worse variations of themselves. [Laughs] There are specific vampire motion pictures the place the vampires grow to be very sultry, or horny or have superpowers, however in ours they only grow to be [expletive].

They’re additionally criminals. They don’t come from a rich lineage of vampires.

No. These are new-money vampires.

For Trapper, the vet who treats Kong, have been you channeling any particular character?

There’s in all probability a little bit of Kurt Russell’s Jack Burton [from “Big Trouble in Little China”] in there. A smattering of Ace Ventura and numerous these ’80s motion determine guys. But additionally, a little bit of a British pop star that emerged in the previous couple of years known as Sam Ryder. He was within the Eurovision Music contest. He’s such a candy, optimistic, comfortable chap. I assumed it could be beautiful to see a British character like that.

You lately voiced a personality within the English dub of “The Boy and the Heron.” Is voice performing for animation one thing you might be actively pursuing?

I’ve had ambitions to get entangled for some time. Since I used to be a child, I’ve all the time loved doing voices. It’s among the earliest proof that I used to be into this in any respect, making cassette tapes and doing foolish made-up radio exhibits with completely different voices. There are characters you possibly can play in animation, in voice-over, that you might by no means play in dwell motion.

Did you ever intend to pursue a extra conventional leading-man profession?

I don’t suppose I had my sights set on that. Different folks assumed that’s what I needed and possibly put these issues in entrance of me. It simply didn’t fairly click on. “Character leads” are my candy spot, whether or not they’re precise lead roles or simply enjoyable elements inside an ensemble. That’s the stuff that tends to mild me up.

Rising up, have been there any actors whose path you hope to emulate at some point?

I’ve all the time admired any actor who is ready to be in a household fantasy epic, after which in a bizarre, creepy horror, like Robin Williams. He was in one thing as candy and harmless as “Hook,” after which years later in “One Hour Photograph.” The truth that this performer was allowed to try this was so thrilling to me.

Do you employ the phrase “allowed” since you really feel the business restricts actors?

It’s one of many challenges, notably should you make it huge in one thing particular while you’re younger and folks need to see that ceaselessly. “Downton Abbey” was on TV. You’re in folks’s properties on a Sunday night time. There’s a peculiar possession folks really feel over your character. And so they simply need extra of it. Audiences can get grasping, and I need to serve up one thing completely different. That’s not going to be to everybody’s style.





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