Thursday, October 16, 2014

Downton Dan Stevens Does Dark in The Guest

Dan Stevens and Maika Monroe in Southern Gothic Thriller The Guest

The Guest is an unusual film because it hits so many notes and defies the single genre stereotype. It’s scary, exhilarating, darkly comic and LOL-worthy. It stars Dan Stevens –Matthew Crawley from Downton Abbey – transformed into David, a psychopathic serial killer from Kentucky who tracks down the family of a recently deceased army buddy.  His mission is to protect them, even if it means total mayhem. He’s managed to fool the family about who he is, but Anna, the daughter played by Maika Monroe, makes a phone call to confirm his identity unwittingly opening her family to extreme danger.  We spoke with Stevens and Monroe during the Toronto International Film Festival where the film delighted fans at its Midnight Madness première.
I worked for many years in a newsroom and we noticed the worst serial killers were all good-looking and charming. If you go through history, it’s true. And you fit that.
DS – We were going for a certain amount of charm. He does charm his way into the house and the hearts of most of the family with the exception of Anna, who’s a much tougher nut to crack. We wanted to play with that hero/villain complex and mix it up and stretch the audience’s imagination. I certainly enjoy movies where I feel the filmmakers are teasing me a bit, taking me for a fun ride and having something very skillful about it, making you think you’re watching a certain kind of film where you think you know this character or this interaction, this mother daughter conversation or a father son and then they just do something a little bit different with it. It wakes you up a bit.

He launches a reign of terror in the town in defense of the family. But what is it he wants?
DS – I like to believe what he was saying and we went with as much truth as we could. He’s there to honour his bond with his friend, to check on the family and see if they’re alright and pass on a few messages.  So mission by mission, he looks at the family for something in their lives that he can improve, particularly with the mother and her grief and he helps her around the house, he’s very good at folding laundry. His father is struck in a dead-end job and he helps him out with that.  Anna is a tricky one. She’s a conundrum, she’s harder to charm and also what she needs in her life is more complicated, she has this deadbeat boyfriend with a lot of potential and she needs empowering.  By the end of the movie, he’s achieved his aim with Anna in that she is now the ultimate bad-ass.  He does her a huge favour by murdering all those people. Obscenities aside, that’s how David sees things when we meet him in the movie.

There's much more here including Downton Abbey reflections:

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