SAY HELLO TO SOME OLD FRIENDS

Calgary Sun - - SHOWBIZ -

Fans of Down­ton Abbey, it’s time to re­view your notes from the up­stairs-and-down­stairs Bri­tish saga be­cause a movie is com­ing to the big screen.

Pro­duc­tion on a Down­ton Abbey film will be­gin this sum­mer, the of­fi­cial Twit­ter ac­count for the series an­nounced on Fri­day.

The Twit­ter an­nounce­ment in­cluded a photo for an in­vi­ta­tion that reads: “We cor­dially in­vite you to re­turn to Down­ton Abbey. Only in Cin­e­mas.”

Fo­cus Fea­tures an­nounced in a re­lease that “the orig­i­nal prin­ci­pal cast from the ac­claimed tele­vi­sion series have as­sem­bled to re­turn for the fea­ture.” Few details have come out about the plot, but the Guardian re­ported that the story “is ex­pected” to pick up in 1926, where the series fi­nale ended things, which could mean that the stars from ear­lier sea­sons who were killed off wouldn’t be re­turn­ing.

Sev­eral stars of the series have pub­licly spo­ken about their ea­ger­ness for a movie, and once the pro­duc­tion was made pub­lic, they posted their ex­cite­ment, in­clud­ing Michelle Dock­ery (who played Lady Mary) and Hugh Bon­neville (Robert Craw­ley).

“2019,” tweeted Bon­neville, likely re­fer­ring to when the movie will be re­leased. “The se­cret’s out,” Dock­ery wrote on In­sta­gram.

“De­lighted to an­nounce we’re get­ting the band back to­gether,” tweeted Joanne Frog­gatt (who plays Anna Bates). She in­cluded a photo of her with Dock­ery and Mag­gie Smith (Vi­o­let Craw­ley).

Chat­ter about a pos­si­ble movie per­sisted for years. But one star who’s been less than thrilled with the prospect of a fea­ture-length film? Smith, who won three Em­mys and a Golden Globe for her por­trayal of the Dowa­ger Count­ess of Gran­tham. She’s long dis­missed the idea of a movie.

“I can’t — what age would she be?” she told Gra­ham Nor­ton in 2015.

“I’m glad it’s over, I re­ally am,” she told him about the series end­ing. “By the time we fin­ished, she must have been about 110. It couldn’t go on and on, it just didn’t make sense.”

Series cre­ator Ju­lian Fel­lowes is pen­ning the screen­play, with series pi­lot di­rec­tor Brian Per­ci­val re­turn­ing to di­rect the film. The movie will be pro­duced by Car­ni­val films and dis­trib­uted by Fo­cus Fea­tures and Univer­sal Pictures In­ter­na­tional.

“When the tele­vi­sion series drew to a close it was our dream to bring the mil­lions of global fans a movie, and now, af­ter get­ting many stars aligned, we are shortly to go into pro­duc­tion,” Car­ni­val ex­ec­u­tive chair­man and the film’s pro­ducer, Gareth Neame, said in a state­ment. “Ju­lian’s script charms, thrills and en­ter­tains, and in Brian Per­ci­val’s hands we aim to de­liver ev­ery­thing that one would hope for as Down­ton comes to the big screen.”

The wildly pop­u­lar Bri­tish his­tor­i­cal pe­riod drama chron­i­cled the lives of the aris­to­cratic Craw­ley fam­ily (the up­stairs) and their ser­vants (the down­stairs) dur­ing the early 20th cen­tury.

Down­ton Abbey even in­spired a live ex­hi­bi­tion, which, for a price, lets vis­i­tors ex­plore the cos­tumes and set de­signs of the show.

The drama aired for six sea­sons; the fi­nale aired in Canada in 2016. Over its du­ra­tion, Down­ton Abbey be­came a global hit, air­ing in at least 150 coun­tries, and set­ting a record for non-U.S. tele­vi­sion shows with 69 Emmy nom­i­na­tions. The show won 15 Em­mys and three Golden Globes.

The Down­ton Abbey movie is hap­pen­ing: Here’s what we know so far

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