With his sights set on the big screen, Downton Abbey star, Dan Stevens (Matthew Crawley), recently made the decision to leave the British period drama, seen in the States as part of PBS’ Masterpiece series. Making the leap to the big screen is not always that easy with the streets of Los Angeles littered with those that have left small screen hits for the big screen bright lights of Hollywood. Stevens’ first major role, which follows his current Broadway effort in The Heiress, will be in the Dreamworks production of The Man Who Sold the World, the story of Julian Assange and the setting up of WilkiLeaks, the non-profit organization which came to be in 2006 and went onto leak a significant number of anonymous, corporate and government documents from around the world to the public.
Stevens joins a stellar cast, headed by none other than Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, Tinker Tailor, War Horse, The Hobbit, Star Trek Into Darkness, Parade’s End) and Inglourious Basterds star, Daniel Bruhl. Cumberbatch will play Assange, with Stevens set to play a hacker who comes to work for the website and is close friends with Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Bruhl).
Television writer, Josh Singer (The West Wing, Fringe), has adapted the screenplay from two books, Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dangerous Website by Domscheit-Berg, as well as WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy, written by David Leigh and Luke Harding.
As the U.S. is now dangerously close to being only TWO WEEKS away from the premiere of series 3 of Downton Abbey, Stevens’ role in the upcoming fourth series, which begins filming in February 2013, is up-in-the-air, to say the least. When asked how he might handle the departure of such a central character to the mega-hit series, creator/writer Julian Fellowes said: “I think the Crawleys will go on jogging quite happily through the 20s”. Fellowes went on to tell Entertainment Weekly that he won’t re-cast the character. At this point, the rumor is that Stevens will appear in the first episode of series 4 but no word as to what will happen with his character and how is departure will be handled.