SAY HELLO TO SOME OLD FRIENDS
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