KEEN STARS A STEP TOO FAR

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Cover Story -

THE MAK­ERS OF DOWNTON ABBEY HAVE BEEN IN­UN­DATED WITH MA­JOR HOL­LY­WOOD STARS WANT­ING TO BE PART OF THE PE­RIOD DRAMA AC­TION. ONLY SOME SUC­CEED ‘‘YOU can’t just write them (Hol­ly­wood stars) in, be­cause then it would be gim­micky cast­ing, and that would de­tract from what we’re try­ing to do,’’ pro­ducer Liz Trubridge says. ‘‘The thing about guest stars is that they bring so much bag­gage (from pre­vi­ous roles and tabloid sto­ries about their per­sonal lives) that they rather di­lute the Downton-ness of the whole thing.’’ Opera le­gend Dame Kiri Te Kanawa will make a rare TV ap­pear­ance in sea­son four. The so­prano will give a spe­cial per­for­mance at a Downton party. And Shirley MacLaine is repris­ing her role as Martha Levin­son for the fourth se­ries. Michelle Dock­ery says she never over­came the ini­tial rush of ex­cite­ment of work­ing with MacLaine in early episodes of sea­son three. ‘‘There was the bril­liant moment when she steps out of the car to be met by the three Craw­ley sis­ters and we did a cou­ple of takes be­fore the di­rec­tor had to come over to us and say, ‘Girls, I know it is Shirley, but can you take that look of com­plete ado­ra­tion away from your faces? Re­mem­ber she’s your grand­mother’. We just couldn’t help our­selves be­ing in awe be­cause it was Shirley MacLaine.’’

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