Will Down­ton Abbey movie ever hap­pen?

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - SHOWBIZ - By LYNN ELBER

DOWN­TON Abbey, the TV se­ries, is over, leav­ing us with a hol­low ache that noth­ing can re­lieve.

Noth­ing but Down­ton Abbey, the film, which re­mains un­der se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion by se­ries cre­ator Ju­lian Fel­lowes and ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Gareth Neame.

“Ju­lian and I would like to make the movie. We’re hav­ing de­tailed think­ing about it all,” Neame said. “But there’s a lot to be worked out. Turn­ing a TV show into a movie is not straight­for­ward, it doesn’t hap­pen very of­ten and it’s not un­com­pli­cated.”

Re­assem­bling the large en­sem­ble cast, many of whom have moved on to other projects, is one chal­lenge.

“That can some­times take a while. But in prin­ci­ple, those of us who have given many years of our lives over to the show would be keen to do it if we could make it work,” Neame said.

Fel­lowes, who wrote ev­ery episode of the hit drama in its six sea­sons, would have to carve time out of his sched­ule. He’s busy now with The Gilded Age, NBC’s se­ries about well- heeled 19th- cen­tury Amer­i­cans that’s ex­pected to de­but in 2017.

Neame, as man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of NBC Uni­ver­sal- owned Bri­tish pro­duc­tion com­pany Car­ni­val Films, has re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in­clud­ing the TV se­ries The Last King­dom.

Then there’s the chal­lenge of how to re­visit the Down­ton saga. For starters, Neame said, there would be no dras­tic fast- for­ward in the lives of the aris­to­cratic Craw­ley fam­ily and those who serve them. The se­ries ended with the ar­rival of 1926.

“If you jump 20 years and you have the chil­dren as adults, the fans are go­ing to watch new ac­tors and Michelle Dock­ery ( Lady Mary, pic) is go­ing to have to wear a gray wig,” Neame said. “That’s too far re­moved from what peo­ple love. So we have to give them the same char­ac­ters but in a new sce­nario, a fresh kind of story.” Kevin Doyle, who played but­ler- turned- teacher Mr. Moles­ley, said he’s dis­cussed the pos­si­bil­ity of a film with other cast mem­bers and found “a sort of gen­eral ac­cep­tance that it might well get made.”

But, he added, “I’m not con­vinced it’s nec­es­sary. I think the story has kind of been told. I’m not sure what more we could tell or should tell about those char­ac­ters.”

A movie based on a char­ac­ter- driven TV drama, pe­riod or not, is a true rar­ity. Shows that have jumped to the big screen, with mixed suc­cess, are ei­ther come­dies ( En­tourage, Sex And The City), po­lice or ac­tion dra­mas ( The Un­touch­ables, the Mis­sion: Im­pos­si­ble fran­chise) or in the scifi genre ( The X- Files, Star Trek).

If a Down­ton Abbey film does come to pass, Neame said, it would prob­a­bly hap­pen in the next cou­ple of years.

Photo: hand­out

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