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Why David From The Guest Looks So Familiar

If you're looking for something spooky scary to watch on Netflix, one of your best options would be to check out The Guest. This 2014 thriller is about a mysterious man named David who shows up on the doorstep of a grieving family, introduces himself as their dead son's best friend from the war in Afghanistan, and slowly starts to get close to them. He seems super friendly, and knows all the right things to say to bring the family the closure they need. So why does he also seem borderline creepy, like he could murder them at any second?

The Guest stars Maika Monroe (It Follows), Lance Reddick (John Wick, Fringe), and Brendan Meyer (The OA) in supporting roles, but you might also be wondering why David looks so dang familiar. Dan Stevens has been on quite a journey in his career, playing the romantic lead in a period drama, a comic book anti-hero, and a literal Disney prince. His roles across these vastly popular movies and TV shows are so disparate, there's a good chance you've seen him before and never put those pieces together. 

Dan Stevens broke hearts on Downton Abbey

Anglophiles who were on Tumblr circa 2011 can tell you all about Dan Stevens on the early seasons of Downton Abbey. Back then, few things mattered more in the fandom than Cousin Matthew (Stevens) and Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) ending up together. The two characters seemed to be well on the way to a perfect happy ending right out of a Jane Austen romance. However, fans' dreams were quickly squashed in 2012 when Stevens left the show after season 3 and his character was killed off.

It took some time for Stevens to reestablish himself and get out from under the shadow of that on-screen tragedy. Taking on The Guest in 2014 was clearly part of a transition not just to the big screen, but to weirder roles overall. Matthew Crawley was swoon-worthy in his own right, but ultimately pretty chaste and non-threatening — a far cry from his dark take on David.

Stevens sung his heart out as Disney's titular Beast

Stevens first donned glamorous makeup straight out of Euphoria and then a full body of CGI fur to play the vain prince who was cursed and transformed into the Beast in 2017's live action remake of Beauty and the Beast, starring opposite Emma Watson as Belle. He even sang a new song, "Evermore," in the film, written by Beauty and the Beast's original composer, Alan Menken. 

Of course, you don't actually see Stevens' face that often in Beauty and the Beast for obvious reasons — he's got a furry Beast face for most of it. There's really just the ball at the beginning, when the human prince rejects the witch who curses his whole court, and the transformation at the end when that curse is finally broken. If you didn't know that the guy under all that digital hair was also the guy from The Guest, we certainly wouldn't blame you. 

Stevens twisted our brains on Legion

You almost certainly know Stevens as another potentially dangerous character named David — David Haller on Legion, Noah Hawley's trippy adaptation of the character from Marvel Comics. As the central character, this FX series is probably what Stevens is best known for after Downton Abbey. Is David ultimately a hero? Is he not also kind of a villain? Questions like that are far too simple for the astral plane that is LegionOver three seasons, Stevens uses all of his charm and his entire acting range to play a character trying to understand his mutant powers while under attack from multiple government agencies — and even his own mind. Once or twice, he happens to help save the world with a team of other mutants along the way.

Season 1 of Legion premiered in 2017, and you can totally see how The Guest was a necessary stepping stone from roles like Matthew Crawley to roles like David Haller. 

If that wasn't enough, Stevens also invented Christmas

You might have laughed at The Man Who Invented Christmas when it came out in theaters in 2017, but the Charles Dickens biopic (with Stevens in the lead) is actually pretty good. Christmas is an excuse to embrace corniness, after all. 

Sadly, one major gig you probably don't recognize Stevens from his Broadway star turn in Martin McDonagh's The Hangmen. That had to shut down after just two weeks of performances, according to Deadline, when it became the first Broadway show permanently closed by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Next up, Stevens can be found in the Netflix comedy Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga as a villainous pop star standing in the way of Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams' glory. It's set to debut on the streaming service on June 26. In the meantime, you can catch up with plenty of lesser-known projects that feature his work, like Alex Ross Perry's 2019 film Her Smell. If you want something more low-key, Stevens also has a really good arc on the webseries-turned-HBO comedy High MaintenanceOr, you know, you can keep watching The Guest — its twists and turns are always worth revisiting.