Maggie Smith may not return for Downton Abbey sequel – report

Maggie Smith may be unable to reprise her role in the Downton Abbey sequel due to fears over the Covid-19 pandemic.The 85-year-old actress has played the role of Dowager Countess Lady Violet of Grantham since the British TV series began in 2010, and re…

Maggie Smith may be unable to reprise her role in the Downton Abbey sequel due to fears over the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 85-year-old actress has played the role of Dowager Countess Lady Violet of Grantham since the British TV series began in 2010, and reprised the character for the highly-anticipated big screen spin-off, which was released last year.

Maggie was reportedly in negotiations to portray the matriarch for the planned sequel, but producers fear that she won’t be allowed back on set due to the coronavirus outbreak, British newspaper The Sun reports.

A source from film studio Focus Features told the publication that the possibility of Maggie returning have now been dashed, as the veteran actress is at risk of contracting the respiratory disease.

“Before lockdown, the hope was that Dame Maggie was considering a return for the sequel,” the insider said. “There was a genuine feeling that even having her return for just a flashback would leave fans delighted.

“She has been the spirit and heart of the Downton project for years so it will be really sad if they can’t make it work.”

Last year’s movie, which concluded with Lady Violet not having long to live, raked in more than $192 million (£153 million) at the box office. It also featured the TV show’s much-loved stars, including Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Jim Carter and Joanne Froggatt.

© Cover Media

Julian Fellowes to adapt The Wind in the Willows for new movie

Julian Fellowes is to write the script for the movie adaptation of classic children’s novel The Wind in the Willows. The Downton Abbey creator is teaming up with Oscar-winning producer Gerald R. Molen to give Kenneth Grahame’s 1908 classic the movie …

Julian Fellowes is to write the script for the movie adaptation of classic children’s novel The Wind in the Willows.

The Downton Abbey creator is teaming up with Oscar-winning producer Gerald R. Molen to give Kenneth Grahame’s 1908 classic the movie treatment. The British author’s famed children’s book focused on four anthropomorphised animals named Mole, Rat, Toad, and Badger, who lived by a river in Edwardian England.

Fellowes will collaborate with director Ray Griggs, while Richard Taylor from Weta Workshop and Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital will help to create the special effects and visual effects for the film, as the four main characters will be computer-generated.

“We could not have dreamed of a better writer and creative force than Julian Fellowes to work with Ray Griggs to bring to life the classic English novel’s characters, nor finer visionaries than Weta to capture the look and feel of Grahame’s world,” Molen said in a statement, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Molen didn’t reveal any casting news, but teased, “We are finalising some of the finest actors to lend their creative and vocal talents.”

Production on the project is set to take place this year at Jackson’s Stone Street Studios in Wellington, New Zealand, while California-based company Skywalker Sound will design all the sound effects and ambient noise.

Disney previously turned Grahame’s book into a short animated film in 1949 and the late Terry Jones wrote and directed a live-action version starring himself, Steve Coogan, and Eric Idle in 1996. There have also been many TV film adaptations.

Fellowes is no stranger to the material – he wrote the script for a stage musical of The Wind in the Willows back in 2016.

© Cover Media

Michelle Dockery enjoyed using Essex accent for The Gentlemen

Michelle Dockery loved taking a break from playing well-spoken characters and reverting back to her native Essex accent for her role in The Gentlemen.The British actress rose to fame playing the upper-class Lady Mary Crawley in TV show Downton Abbey be…

Michelle Dockery loved taking a break from playing well-spoken characters and reverting back to her native Essex accent for her role in The Gentlemen.

The British actress rose to fame playing the upper-class Lady Mary Crawley in TV show Downton Abbey between 2010 and 2015 and then showed off her ability to do an American accent with shows like Good Behavior and Godless.

For Guy Ritchie’s latest crime caper, Dockery plays Rosalind, the wife of Matthew McConaughey’s Mickey, and she relished being able to use her regular voice.

“It came quite naturally. I grew up in Essex. There’s a way of talking I grew up around,” she told Tatler magazine. “And finally, being able to play a character whose accent has an Essex sound, as mine does – I loved that… I’ve been playing well-spoken for so long, to do something closer to my roots was so much fun.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Dockery confessed she struggled getting used to the fame that came with starring in the hit period drama, but it’s “something she now accepts” and she is grateful to Downton Abbey for putting her in a position in which she can slow down if she wants to.

“I was in one of the biggest shows in the world. It’s very rare something like that happens. I certainly wasn’t expecting it,” the 38-year-old, who appeared in the show’s movie instalment earlier this year, said. “But it’s put me in a position now where I can slow down. This business, it never really stops. You do something, you promote it, you’re on to the next job. I’m learning I need to find ways to switch off. Unwind.”

The Gentlemen, also starring Charlie Hunnam, Hugh Grant, and Henry Golding, hits cinemas from 1 January.

© Cover Media

Julian Fellowes plotting Downton Abbey sequel

Julian Fellowes has promised to “do his best” to get the cast of Downton Abbey back for a second film.The big-screen adaptation of the British TV drama was a global hit after its September release, earning almost $184 million (£142 million) in cinemas…

Julian Fellowes has promised to “do his best” to get the cast of Downton Abbey back for a second film.

The big-screen adaptation of the British TV drama was a global hit after its September release, earning almost $184 million (£142 million) in cinemas around the world

Asked whether there will be a sequel by British morning TV show host Lorraine Kelly, Julian said: “I’ll do me best, gov.”

On the first film’s success, the Downton creator added: “It was very successful. I won’t say bewilderingly successful because I thought it was jolly good. It was rather exciting. We were in America for the opening there and it opened at number one, beating all these major film stars’ movies, all of whom are marvellous and that was very thrilling, I can’t pretend it wasn’t.”

Julian also revealed he had written an element of his personal life into the plot of Downton Abbey, giving the butler Carson, played by Jim Carter, a tremor, similar to one he experiences.

“It is a question of getting it out there,” he said of publicising his ailment through drama. “That’s why on Downton in the last episode of the final series we gave Carson an essential tremor, so he couldn’t pour the wine. Even then the newspapers referred to it as Parkinson’s because they didn’t know it was a tremor.”

Detailing the health issue, he added: “What I’m anxious to do is get it out there. So when people have a shake that is unexplained to them and they’re possibly panicking that it’s Parkinson’s, I would just say to them please go to the doctor. The truth is you are eight times more likely to be suffering from an essential tremor than Parkinson’s.

“It doesn’t kill you. It doesn’t hurt. It’s a nuisance. It’s tiresome. But there are plenty of things that are worse in the world that people have to put up with.”

© Cover Media

Downton Abbey headed for sequel after box office success – report

Downton Abbey producers are reportedly moving forward with plans for a sequel after the film’s huge success at the box office.The feature film spin-off from writer Julian Fellowes’s TV period drama has earned more than $135 million (£110 million) in c…

Downton Abbey producers are reportedly moving forward with plans for a sequel after the film’s huge success at the box office.

The feature film spin-off from writer Julian Fellowes’s TV period drama has earned more than $135 million (£110 million) in cinemas around the world, banking huge profits on a budget believed to be under $20 million (£16.3 million).

On the likelihood of a sequel being confirmed soon, an insider tells British newspaper The Sun: “Downton’s popularity as a film has been phenomenal.

“It took $73 million (£60 million) in America alone and has been a roaring success. Julian and the team are over the moon with how it played out. No one expected it would be this big.

“The commercial viability of a second film is now a dead cert, so Julian has been told to start putting pen to paper on the follow-up.”

Speaking about the possibility of a sequel at the movie’s London premiere last month, Fellowes told WENN that a follow-up was likely if Downton was a success.

“We’ll have to wait and see, won’t we,” he said. “That will depend on how the feature is received.”

While Downton star Allen Leech, who plays Tom Branson in the hit series and film, is also up for returning for a sequel, and commented: “That I’d do.”

© Cover Media

Julian Fellowes wanted to offer Downton Abbey fans ‘comfort’ with new movie

Downton Abbey writer and creator Julian Fellowes wanted the movie adaptation of the hit TV show to be comforting and reassuring for fans.The big screen debut of the hit period drama takes place just one year from where the much-loved series left off ba…

Downton Abbey writer and creator Julian Fellowes wanted the movie adaptation of the hit TV show to be comforting and reassuring for fans.

The big screen debut of the hit period drama takes place just one year from where the much-loved series left off back in 2015, and Fellowes promised audiences a “bigger, better, brighter” movie.

And amid an unsettled global political climate, with controversial President Donald Trump in the White House and Brexit looming over the U.K., the 70-year-old simply wanted to bring joy to fans of the show.

“There is a certain dependability about Downton. In a world that is lacking in certainty, I hope that, for the price of a cinema ticket, viewers will get two hours of comfort and reassurance in return,” Fellowes told Harper’s Bazaar. “A bit of a rest from the whirlpool. If we have managed that – and I dare to hope that we have – then I think we will all feel that we have succeeded.”

Elsewhere in the interview with the whole Downton Abbey cast, Sophie McShera, who plays kitchen maid-turned-cook Daisy Mason, revealed that she enjoyed working on the movie more than the TV show.

“If anything, we had even more fun making the film than we did making the series. We all just laughed all the time,” she shared.

While shooting one two-hour episode for the TV show took four weeks, production on the Downton Abbey movie was finished in nine weeks. The scale was bigger, as was the cast, meaning the actors had several hours of downtime each day to simply catch up with each other.

“We are like a big family,” revealed Michelle Dockery, who plays the chic Lady Mary Crawley, before adding that she and her onscreen sister Laura Carmichael travelled to a location shoot by train – rather than in separate chauffeur-driven cars – so they could “share a bottle of wine and a laugh”.

© Cover Media

Matthew Goode named as face of Pink Shirtmaker

Matthew Goode is the new face of U.K. shirt label Pink Shirtmaker.The British actor, who is known for his roles on TV shows such as The Crown and Downton Abbey, has been tapped by bosses at the LVMH-owned company, formerly known as Thomas Pink, as a br…

Matthew Goode is the new face of U.K. shirt label Pink Shirtmaker.

The British actor, who is known for his roles on TV shows such as The Crown and Downton Abbey, has been tapped by bosses at the LVMH-owned company, formerly known as Thomas Pink, as a brand ambassador and will appear in upcoming campaigns, starting with fall/winter 2019.

“The craftmanship that goes into each shirt is what gives Pink such a strong reputation as an English shirtmaker – good tailoring is the ultimate luxury,” said Goode of the partnership.

In the first campaign, titled A life in the Pink, the Emmy Award-nominated star wears items from the brand while posing in a range of scenarios, such as in a bath and in a bed while sipping a cup of tea.

He also appears in a humorous short film and will front Pink’s ready-to-wear collection as well as its Bespoke service, which is based at a new workshop in Vauxhall, London.

Regarding the collaboration, Pink president and chief executive officer, Christopher Zanardi-Landi, praised Goode, 41, calling him a natural fit.

“We are proud to announce Matthew Goode as our ambassador. Matthew embodies not only the Englishness of Pink and the sharpness of our cut, but also the sense of humour that’s deep in our veins,” he praised in a statement. “His style, class and very importantly, his humour, underline the long-term vision of the brand. Matthew Goode is the perfect Pink gentleman.”

In addition to his new fashion gig, Goode is currently starring as Matthew Clairmont on the TV show A Discovery of Witches and filming Matthew Vaughn’s The King’s Man, a prequel to the Kingsman franchise.

© Cover Media

Michelle Dockery was into grunge fashion growing up

Michelle Dockery was “obsessed” with Alanis Morissette’s signature grunge style as a teenager. The British star became famous for playing the polished and proper aristocrat Lady Mary in TV show Downton Abbey, but the 37-year-old has now revealed her r…

Michelle Dockery was “obsessed” with Alanis Morissette’s signature grunge style as a teenager.

The British star became famous for playing the polished and proper aristocrat Lady Mary in TV show Downton Abbey, but the 37-year-old has now revealed her real-life style was far removed from her character’s when she was growing up as she was into the grunge trend, which became popular in the ’90s thanks to artists like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Morissette.

Dockery was such a big fan of the Ironic hitmaker that she even tried to copy all of her outfits and hairstyles when she was 13 and 14 years old.

“I was completely obsessed with Alanis Morissette,” she recalled to U.S. InStyle magazine. “So when I went to bed, I’d put two braids in and then take them out in the morning so my hair would wave just like hers. I’d wear white shirts and jeans and just want to be her.”

The Godless actress regularly wore skirts that her mother made for her as well as Dr. Martens boots, a staple in any grunge wardrobe, alongside plaid flannel shirts and stonewashed or ripped jeans.

“My mum used to make a lot of our clothes when we were growing up, and when I got to that grunge phase, she would make my skirts,” Dockery continued. “That was her way of going, ‘I’ll make it look pretty and not really horrendous as if you just bought it from Camden Market (in London) and it’s dragging on the floor.'”

And at one point, she decided to experiment with her hairstyle and chopped her locks down to a cropped look too.

“Then I went through a phase when I cut my hair really short. I had a crop,” the star stated. “And I feel like that was the beginning of me wanting to be an actress. I was sort of copying people and playing characters.”

© Cover Media

Michelle Dockery cried at first Downton Abbey movie fitting

Michelle Dockery was overcome with emotion when she first tried on dresses for her first Downton Abbey movie costume fitting. The British actress played Lady Mary Crawley in the hit period drama series, which originally aired from 2010 to 2015, and s…

Michelle Dockery was overcome with emotion when she first tried on dresses for her first Downton Abbey movie costume fitting. 

The British actress played Lady Mary Crawley in the hit period drama series, which originally aired from 2010 to 2015, and she has reprised the role for the upcoming big-screen version.  

In a new interview with U.S. InStyle magazine, Michelle opened up about how lovely it was to reunite with castmates such as Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith, and Joanne Froggatt, but also how odd it was to be back in her old costumes.  

“For my first Downton fitting, I felt quite emotional putting those dresses back on. Some were reused, but because it’s a film, we also dialled it up a notch. We could afford to go slightly grander,” she told the publication. “It felt like no time had passed at all. (I realised) I’d taken some things for granted. Like driving up to that house, it honestly took my breath away. But I think the three-year gap was perfect, because we’d all been off doing our own thing, and it was enough time to really, really miss it.” 

The movie focuses on the arrival of King George V and Queen Mary at the Crawley family’s English country estate, and London-born star assured fans that narrative follows on from the beloved TV programme.

“The film is very much a continuation of the show and everything that people loved about it. It really is for our brilliant, loyal fans,” the 37-year-old gushed.   

Elsewhere in the chat, Michelle sweetly credited Downton Abbey for helping to shape her career and personal life.   

“Downton played a huge part in shaping me as a person. We all went through our ups and our downs over the years, and in some ways the show supported us. Going back every year kept our feet on the ground,” she stated. 

© Cover Media

Jim Carter expects Downton Abbey sequel

Downton Abbey’s Jim Carter is already making plans to star in a sequel to the upcoming movie version of the hit TV period drama. The actor won hearts with his portrayal of the aristocratic Crawley family’s uptight butler Mr. Carson during the ITV seri…

Downton Abbey’s Jim Carter is already making plans to star in a sequel to the upcoming movie version of the hit TV period drama.

The actor won hearts with his portrayal of the aristocratic Crawley family’s uptight butler Mr. Carson during the ITV series’ original 2010 to 2015 run.

And Jim, who will reprise his role for the flick, expects fans of the show will love the new movie, which picks up in 1927 – where the TV series left off.

“For the fans, I think they will be very happy. It is everything people like about Downton Abbey in a two-hour film,” he told Britain’s Daily Mirror newspaper, before noting that a sequel is in the realm of possibility. “It’s a business and I don’t make these decisions but if the film makes an awful lot of money there will be pressure to do another one.”

However, the 70-year-old confessed the final decision is down to the show’s creator, Julian Fellowes, and added: “If Julian is free to write it then they can put us back together. Never say never, anything is possible. But let’s get this first one done and see how it goes.”

In the film, which is due out in September, Mr. Carson is brought out of retirement to help oversee the royal family’s visit to Downton – an event that creates friction between the stately home’s staff and their regal counterparts.

Detailing the plot, Jim commented: “Queen Mary and King George V come to Downton Abbey and there is all the drama, excitement and worry that entails. That is the main event, but all the familiar characters are there and their foibles and their fears.”

© Cover Media