After months of speculation and swirling rumors, it has now been confirmed that Dan Stevens (who plays Lady Mary’s beloved husband Matthew) will not be returning for a fourth season. A major event in Downton’s Christmas Day special this year established the character’s departure from the show.
After several cast members revealed earlier this year that they had a strong interest in pursuing a career in film, this news is disappointing but not altogether surprising. Stevens recently told The Telegraph online “it is a desire for freedom really. I don’t see money or a particular status as an actor as a goal but I want to do the best work I can in as interesting a range of roles as I can. And I think a moment like this is quite unique and presents those opportunities more than ever…I genuinely don’t know exactly what is around the corner but I hope it will be something a little bit different.”
He went on to say that “we were always optioned for three years. And when that came up it was a very difficult decision,” one that he didn’t take lightly. Despite his final decision to leave the cast, he emphasizes “I am very, very fond of the show and always will be.”
The speculation about his departure began in October, when the actor relocated to New York for a stage role. It was there he joined the cast of “The Heiress,” a Broadway revival and stage adaptation of a Henry James novel called Washington Square. He stars alongside Jessica Chastain (from films The Help, Coriolanus, and the upcoming Zero Dark Thirty) and remains in the production at the Walter Kerr theatre in Manhattan until February.
Though no one likes to hear that a major character will no longer be part of a favorite show, at least we will be seeing a lot more of Dan Stevens one way or another.
To read the full article in The Telegraph, go here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/downton-abbey/9765334/Dan-Stevens-Why-I-left-Downton-Abbey.html
Don’t forget to watch Season Three of Downton Abbey premiering on Sunday, January 6th on PBS. For tickets to “The Heiress” on Broadway, visit http://www.telecharge.com/BehindTheCurtain.aspx?ProdID=9094