Saturday March 23, 2013

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 Š I had to do what I had to do," Dan Stevens said 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.

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 .

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 in his appearance. He was more interested in encouraging people to visit his homeland.

"It’s a great country. There’s all sorts to offer ...," he said. "The food is much better than it used to be, and the weather is getting better, too! "


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