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Dan Stevens on ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Sequel Talk, Tribeca Sex Comedy ‘Permission’

Variety logo Variety 4/22/2017 Ramin Setoodeh
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After playing the gruff male star in Disney’s live-action “Beauty and the Beast,” Dan Stevens hopes that audiences will be his guest for a different kind of adventure. In “Permission,” which premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival on Saturday night, Stevens portrays a male Brooklyn 30-something who decides to enter an open relationship with his girlfriend (played by Rebecca Hall).

Stevens spoke to Variety about the new project, if there could be a “Beast” sequel and jumping from studio films to indies to TV, including his mutant role on FX’s “Legion.” “My tastes are many and varied,” he says. “I hope to keep moving around.”

Where did “Permission” come from?

Brian Crano is a filmmaker I’ve known for many years. He was making a short film written by my friend Rebecca Hall. I really like it. It was called “Rubberheart,” based on a short story that Rebecca had written.

The premise of “Permission” is about an unconventional relationship.

We are high school sweethearts. We’ve never slept with anybody other than each other. Our friend drunkenly suggests we try opening our relationship before we tie the knot. That plays out. It’s a sweet, weird meditation on the myopia of 30-somethings and how their affairs can blind them to the bigger picture. It’s a film about growing up. Brian’s got a unique take on things. Years ago, he was my introduction to John Cameron Mitchell’s “Shortbus,” which was a film I loved.

Uh, is this movie like “Shortbus”?

I would like to think that people will see nods. A lot of New York filmmakers owe John Cameron Mitchell a lot.

What research did you do?

Rebecca and I were both introduced to Dan Savage and [the podcast] Savage Love. It’s opened my eyes to a world of things. There were films that Brian encouraged us to watch, like “Reality Bites.” Just to get the tone, the background in terms of our relationship.

How has your life changed since “Beauty and the Beast?”

I don’t know. It just came out. I started production on another film. It doesn’t like it’s changed a huge amount.

“Beauty and the Beast” recently entered the $1 billion club.

It’s exciting that a musical, a family comedy, can do that. I’m very proud of it.

Do you think there could be a sequel?

That’s not a question for me. I’m not sure what turn that would take. I’m open to offers. It would seem odd for me to hear about it, but never say never.

Would he be back as a human?

I’d kind of like to bring the Beast back.

Did you keep anything from the costume?

The prosthetic guys did mount the horns on two plaques for me at the end of the production, which was nice. That’s the only stuffed animal head I have in my house.

It’s hanging in your house? Is your wife ok with that?

Yes. She loves horns.

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