Dan Stevens Talks 40 Pound Muscle Suit For Beauty and the Beast

Earning his break in the hit television series Downton Abbey, 34-year old Englishman Dan Stevens has gone onto bigger and better things during an incredible 2017 for the performer. From his leading role in the FX series Legion, a direct spinoff from X-Men, Stevens was given the prime part of the Beast/Prince in the Disney live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast.

Speaking with The Playlist, Stevens admitted that the opportunity had him incredibly anxious, as he starred alongside Harry Potter's own Emma Watson.

"That’s not to say I wasn’t insanely nervous," started the actor. "I definitely was, but I had months of training, and I got to work with an incredible voice coach from the Royal Academy of Music in London, Anne-Marie Speed, who has an amazing … she uses an amazing vocal technique called the Estill (Method), which really connects you with the muscularity of your voice. It’s difficult to visualize sometimes what’s going in our insides, you know, and to have the same kind of control over that as you would your external musculature. So that was a revelation to me, to see how I could connect with my voice and the things that I could do that I never dreamed I could do with my voice."

Stilts and a Fat Suit - How The Beast Really Looked On Set

Beauty and the Beast

Revealing that the aesthetic of his character was far from what appears on screen, Stevens stated that the smallest of details were perfected to get him transformed from a regular person to a terrifying giant.

"I was wearing about a 40 pound muscle suit on set, and the muscle suit was covered in gray lycra so to give me the silhouette of the Beast, that they could then hang the digital … well they made real costumes of the Beast that they then digitized and hung on my digital frame. It’s mind blowing. So, I got to see the Beast’s front coat. There was this enormous beautiful, blue coat that I never really got to wear, but it existed and then was digitized and now exists on the screen. But yeah, I was on the stilts puppeteering this muscle suit every day and then the facial capture was done separately so every two weeks I’d go into a booth, have my face sprayed with UV paint, about 10,000 dots, and 27 little cameras on the UV flickering light would capture everything that we’d done in the previous two weeks. And Emma (Watson) would be there again, sitting on the other side of this cage and we’d play all of those scenes again and anything that I’d been doing, whether it was eating, sleeping, roaring, waltzing, I did again with my face, and they took that data, morphed it into the Beast’s face and mapped it onto the body that I puppeteered on the set. So in a sense, it’s every millimeter of my face is driving that digital mask of the Beast."

Legion Goes Full Psychedelic For X-Men Spinoff

Legion FX

Going back to the small screen where Legion is winning universal acclaim, Stevens says that the series is unlike anything that has gone before it.

"Yeah, I think there was definitely a sense that we were making something pretty psychedelic at times, but I just had such an awesome time making it, an incredible team working on it. And Dana Gonzales, who shot the thing, who won the Emmy for Fargo last year, and who is very much part of the Noah Hawley crew, is just incredibly talented. I think every episode there was at least one thing that the camera team alone were trying that was just so insane that they were really excited, and I as an actor get excited being around crews that are excited about what they’re doing. So all departments were really firing on all crazy cylinders to make something pretty unique."

Source: The Playlist