TODAY

TODAY   |  January 09, 2014

Dan Stevens: ‘Downton’ fans ‘very upset’ over death

Fans of the hit series are still not over much-loved Matthew Crawley, played by Stevens, getting killed. “It was a surprise,” he told Willie Geist and Jenna Bush Hager. Stevens will return in a romantic drama, “Summer in February,” in select theaters Jan. 17.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> a shocker and a tear jerker for millions of the fans of "downton abbey," when one of the characters was killed in a car crash .

>> and don't worrys are he's back in a new series. dan stevens , good morning.

>> she was talking about the episode, she was all broken up.

>> i was about eight months pregnant. there should have been some sort of warning. as everybody knows, that was very traumatic for many viewers.

>> a lot of viewers were up set by that. i spend a lot of my time apologizing.

>> explaining.

>> my wife was very upset about this and then they say katherine, come over here, this is the young man that upset you and you have to apologize in public.

>> and is that often?

>> a lot. almost every day.

>> was that is surprise for you or were you ready after those several seasons to be off the show?

>> it was a surprise. it's a testament to how much people love the show and the character. at the same time -- hope the birth went okay.

>> luck imi didn't go into labor.

>> did you call in matthew?

>> i did. it was a girl, who i named mila, named after matthew.

>> so the show just premiered. did you watch?

>> i did, i did. it was wonderful to see everyone again. it was very emotional, very weird, watching people deal with my own death.

>> was it hard for you to walk away from that show? obviously it was such a phenomenon and remains so. that must have been a tough thing.

>> it was a tough decision but they're kind of exciting to make at the same time. it was very hard. i'm thrilled to be here. it's been quite a year since we left.

>> let's talk about "summer in february." it is a beautiful film. talk about your role in that.

>> it's a story that's been with me half my life. it's based on a true story . it was turned into a novel whby a tak teacher at my school. when i was just leaving college someone approached me and said should we try to turn this into a film. that was about eight, nine years ago. during this time downton came along. but a real journey with it and amazing to have it now on the big screen . it's been an amazing journey .

>> you hear a lot of people say this is your bounceback, your follow-up to downton, but this has been around for years.

>> it predates that by a lot of years.

>> and you're a producer. is that something you want to do more of?

>> it is. producing is a lot harder than acting. that has been a big learning process for me and something i will do in the future but not maybe tomorrow.

>> and you're a fine british chap who lives in brooklyn now. i see the scarf.

>> it's cold out. i've always wanted to live here. it's been a very exciting year.

>> we're glad to have you in new york. congratulations on all your success. dan stevens ,