Clark Collis
September 03, 2014 AT 10:40 PM EDT

Downton Abbey fans may be a tad surprised by Dan Stevens’ recent choice in roles, which include a gun-toting Kentucky army veteran in the bananas action movie The Guest (out Sept. 17) and a New York drug dealer in the Liam Neeson-starring private eye thriller, A Walk Among the Tombstones (out Sept. 19). But such projects are very much in the wheelhouse of the man who spent three years playing the period drama’s dashing Matthew Crawley, as this writer discovered when he recently met with the actor for a feature in this week’s Entertainment Weekly. “I’m a genre fan,” he explained, over dinner at a restaurant close to where the British actor now lives in Brooklyn.

Among Stevens’ genre movie favorites? The films of John Carpenter and, in particular, the director’s Kurt Russell-starring action-fantasy Big Trouble in Little China, which failed to set the box office on fire when it was released back in 1986 but has since developed a diehard cult following. Needless to say it was a red letter day for Stevens when Russell (AKA Jack Burton himself) turned up to check out the actor and costar Jessica Chastain in their Broadway revival of The Heiress, during the winter of 2012-13. What happened next? We’ll let Stevens relate the tale…

“Kurt came with Goldie Hawn and they loved the show. We had a very polite conversation and I sort of held back from saying anything too fanboy-ish. Then, as he as leaving, I was like, I can’t hold back, and went, ‘I just want to say, I’m sure you’ve done a lot of things that mean more to you, but Big Trouble in Little China, for me, is just the best.’ He said, ‘You know what’s really funny? Jessica Chastain just said exactly the same thing.’ It turned out we were both huge Big Trouble In Little China fans. He said, ‘We made it for you guys!'”

For much more on Stevens, his departure from Downton Abbey, and the actor’s upcoming projects — which also includes comedy threequel A Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb — check out the new issue of Entertainment Weekly.




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