NEW YORK – “Downton Abbey” fans were devastated when Matthew Crawley made his dramatic exit from the series at the end of the show’s third season. The actor who played him, however, is less emotional about the plot point.
“It’s nice that people care, I suppose, about the show, but yeah, you know … I had to do what I had to do,” Dan Stevens said Thursday while attending a New York reception to launch a two-day pop-up showcase to promote British tourism.
He does, however, recognize the phenomenon the show has become, airing in countries across the globe.
“It’s a show that means a lot to a lot of people, and, you know, we’ve obviously gone into a lot of homes on a Sunday night, so people feel very close to the show, which is great,” he said.
On “Downton,” the relationship between Crawley and Michelle Dockery’s Lady Mary was a central storyline.
Stevens left the show to pursue other opportunities, which have opened up for him. He recently starred in “The Heiress” on Broadway with Jessica Chastain and shot a role in an upcoming film about the founder of WikiLeaks with fellow British actor Benedict Cumberbatch.
Stevens is now filming a movie in Brooklyn with Liam Neeson called “A Walk Among the Tombstones.” That part has required the 30-year-old to trim down a bit and darken his hair. When he was first spotted publicly last weekend at the GLAAD Awards sporting the new look, photos quickly spread online with chatter about the change.
Stevens seemed especially surprised by the interest.
“Really? OK, I suppose,” he said. “There’s so much else going on in the world.”
He was more interested in encouraging people to visit his homeland.
“It’s a great country. There’s all sorts to offer. … There’s culture, music, art, food,” he said. “The food is much better than it used to be, and the weather is getting better, too.”
Cruise sets up page on Russia’s Vkontakte site
MOSCOW – Tom Cruise has become the first Hollywood star to set up a page on the popular Russian social network Vkontakte.
The “Mission Impossible” actor’s page appeared Friday, announced by a message on Twitter saying “See you there!” in Russian.
His profile picture is a poster for his new science fiction film “Oblivion,” which comes out in Russia on April 11, two weeks before it opens in the U.S.
Cruise’s page is a sign of Russia’s increasing box office clout. Box office income rose 8 percent last year to $1.3 billion, the ninth-highest in the world.
Monaco’s Princess Caroline now grandmother
PARIS – Princess Caroline of Monaco is a grandmother.
A baby boy was the latest addition to the jet-set royal family, born to her eldest son, Andrea Casiraghi, and his fiancee. In a statement, which didn’t mention the baby’s name, the Monaco palace said Princess Caroline is overjoyed at the arrival of her first grandchild. The statement said the child and mother, Colombian heiress Tatiana Santo Domingo, are in good health.
It was announced last July that Casiraghi and Santo Domingo were engaged, but they have not yet set a date for the wedding.
Casiraghi is the nephew of Monaco’s ruling sovereign, Prince Albert II. Known as a notorious ladies’ man, Albert ended decades of bachelorhood in 2011 when he married South African Olympic swimming champion Charlene Wittstock.