Entertainment

How Dan Stevens Programmed His Brain to Play a German Robot in 'I'm Your Man'

The 'Downton Abbey' and 'Beauty and the Beast' star makes the latest of his unusual choices in this probing rom-com.

Bleecker Street
Bleecker Street
Bleecker Street

The British actor Dan Stevens had two different languages to embrace in his new film. For one, the robot rom-com I’m Your Man, released in select theaters this weekend, is a German production, entirely in German, which means that Stevens was tasked with tackling his first full-fledged leading role in that tongue. “They were looking for a non-German actor who spoke German who had that sense of otherness and foreignness but who could also get their head around-or their mouth around-the complex German required for the role,” he says. But the character Stevens plays is not actually German. He’s not actually anything. His first language is algorithm. He’s a robot. “I never really wanted us to forget the machine,” he says.

In Maria Schrader’s shrewd comedy, a professor named Alma (Maren Eggert) is tasked with evaluating the functionality of a new technology, essentially an AI boyfriend portrayed with a calculated stiffness by Stevens. His name is Tom and he thinks he knows what Alma wants: Roses in the bathtub, grand romantic brunches. Alma, who studies Sumerian texts, rejects all of his stereotypical advances, and yet she ultimately connects with his desire to understand. The same way she probes ancient writings for poetry, he tries to comprehend the strange reality of being human.

“Her head is like 4,000 years in the past, she’s got a really epic sense of the scope of humanity anyway. She’s being forced to look at the immediate future of humanity and this possible android cohabitation,” Stevens says. “And all the while I think as an audience you are forced to think about where are we? Where is the human race right now, and also just about the imperfections that really make up human relationships rather than perfection.”

Bleecker Street
Bleecker Street
Bleecker Street

Stevens, who hesitates to say he speaks German “fluently,” studied it in school and would trot it out on vacation with family to visit friends who lived in the country. He asked the cast and crew of I’m Your Man to speak to him entirely in German on set, which he ultimately forgot until they wrapped and all started addressing him in English.

But getting the elevated dialogue right was just one detail that went into his performance. He referenced classic Hollywood stars like Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart. “I guess [I was] very much wanting to satirize this idea of the romantic lead and the idea that this well-groomed guy would deliver these cheesy lines and everyone would fall in love with it,” he says. He also took dance lessons throughout the shoot to learn a perfect rumba that Tom executes during his and Alma’s first meeting. It was good robot training: “The mechanics of that dance and actually how precise that dance should be if you’re going to score well on Dancing with the Stars is very helpful to feed into the physicality of a robot.”

Stevens is an actor that could have easily spent his career playing the kind of men that Tom is emulating after he broke out as Matthew Crawley in Downton Abbey, but he’s always made the weirder choice. He’s played a creepy intruder in The Guest and a hammy Russian pop star in Eurovision, as well as the Beast in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast remake. “I get sent romantic leads every now and then and sometimes they are interesting and sometimes they’re not,” he says. “It was really fun to take a role that picked apart that idea about what is a romantic lead, and what does that even mean?”Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat.Esther Zuckerman is a senior entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @ezwrites.

Entertainment

Where to Celebrate Lunar New Year 2023 in Australia

And what it means to be in the year of the Rabbit.

where to celebrate lunar new year australia

Starting with the new moon on Sunday, January 22, this Lunar New Year ushers in the year of the Rabbit. We’ve put together a guide on celebrating the Lunar New Year in Australia.

What is special about the year of the Rabbit?

As you might know, each year has an animal sign in the Chinese Zodiac, which is based on the moon and has a 12-year cycle. This year, we celebrate the year of the rabbit, known to be the luckiest out of all twelve animals. It symbolises mercy, elegance, and beauty.

What celebrations are taking place and how can I get involved?

There are plenty of festivals happening all around the country which you can get involved with. Here they are per state.

New South Wales

Darling Harbour Fireworks
When: Every year, Sydney puts on a fireworks show, and this year, you can catch it on January 28 and February 4 at 9 pm in Darling Harbour.

Dragon Boat Races
When: Witness three days of dragon boat races and entertainment on Cockle Bay to usher in the Lunar New Year. The races will commence on January 27 and finish on January 29.

Lion Dances
When: Catch a traditional Lion Dance moving to the beat of a vigorous drum bringing good luck and fortune for the Lunar New Year. The dance performances will happen across Darling Harbour on Saturday, January 21, Sunday, January 22, and Sunday, February 4 and 5, around 6 pm and 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at Cirrus Dining
When: Barangaroo’s waterfront seafood restaurant, Cirrus, is celebrating the Year of the Rabbit with a special feast menu. Cirrus’ LNY menu is $128pp with optional wine pairing and is available from Saturday, January 21, to Sunday, February 5.

Auntie Philter
When: Hello Auntie’s owner and executive chef, Cuong Nguyen will be dishing out some of the most classic Vietnamese street foods with his mum, Linda. All of Philter’s favourites will be on offer, as well as Raspberry Pash Beer Slushies and other cocktails being served at the Philter Brewing rooftop bar on Sunday, January 22 and Sunday, January 29.

Victoria

Lunar New Year Festival
When: Ring in the Lunar New Year with food, music, arts, and more on Sunday, January 22, from 10 am to 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at the National Gallery of Victoria
When: Celebrate the year of the rabbit at the National Gallery of Victoria’s festival of art, food, and art-making activities for everyone from 10 am-5 pm.

Queensland

BriAsia Festival
When: From February 1-19, Brisbane will come alive with performances, including lion dances and martial arts displays. There will be street food, workshops, comedy and more.

South Australia

Chinatown Adelaide Street Party
When: Adelaide is set to hose a fun-filled day celebrating the Chinese New Year on Saturday, January 28, from 12 pm to 9 pm.

Western Australia

Crown Perth
When: Across January and February, Crown Perth hosts free live entertainment, including colourful lion dances, roving mascots, and drumming performances. The restaurants will also throw banquets and menus dedicated to the Lunar New Year.

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