It's Happening: Downton Abbey's Original Cast Is Reuniting for a Movie


A toast is in order for fans of Downton Abbey, because the film adaption of the series is officially underway. Focus Features has announced that the show’s principal cast—including Dame Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery, and Hugh Bonneville—has officially reunited, and shooting will begin this summer.

The script was penned by show creator Julian Fellowes, who will also produce alongside Gareth Neame and Liz Trubridge. Brian Percival, who has directed several episodes of Downton, including the pilot, will helm the film. Plot details are still being held tightly under wraps.

The show, about the dramatic inner lives of the wealthy Crawley family and the servants who work for them at the turn of the 20th century, officially ended in 2016, after six critically acclaimed seasons. It came to a close with (spoiler alert!) one final remark from the Dowager Countess (the inimitable Smith).

Rumblings of a follow-up movie have been going steadily since the series ended. After the finale aired, Neame told Vanity Fair that a film was possible, because “there’s lots of things we haven’t done yet.” Trubridge affirmed that, but added that bringing the cast together again would be a “huge statistical question.”

Fellowes later made it clear that he really wanted a movie to happen. “I hope there will be a film,” he said in an interview with Indiewire. “There is an audience for a film. I’d structure a narrative with lots of things happening, but we would need a kind of unity to make a feature, which is a challenge for me. It would be a bigger canvas: a riot could be a real riot, the ball a real ball. I would like that, I think it would be fun. But there’s a time and then everyone’s moved on.”

Dockery, who played the haughty Lady Mary, agreed, saying she saw the “potential” of a movie. But talks slowed down until 2017, when Fellowes confirmed that he’d been working on a script and was waiting for a studio to greenlight the project. “Then the biggest difficulty will be rounding up all the cast as, compared with most series, it has such a large cast,” he said. “And it needs them to feel Downtonesque.”

The cast has certainly kept busy since the show ended. Dockery in particular has been on the ascent, recently landing an Emmy nomination for her lead role in the Netflix limited series Godless. Bonneville reprised his role as a stiff patriarch in Paddington 2, one of the best reviewed films of the year. And Dame Smith has carried on doing whatever she pleases, because she’s Dame Smith.

A release date for the upcoming film has not been set.

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