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.

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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.”

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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.”

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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”.

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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.”

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Elizabeth McGovern bought up film rights after audiobook reading

Elizabeth McGovern became obsessed with turning Laura Moriarty’s The Chaperone into a movie while reading the novel for an audiobook series. The actress admits she fell in love with the story of silent screen icon Louise Brooks’ first trip to New York…

Elizabeth McGovern became obsessed with turning Laura Moriarty’s The Chaperone into a movie while reading the novel for an audiobook series.

The actress admits she fell in love with the story of silent screen icon Louise Brooks’ first trip to New York City and turned to Downton Abbey creator and writer Julian Fellowes to help her adapt it for the screen.

“It was the first time in my life I’ve ever had that moment where I read a book and thought to myself, ‘This would be a fantastic film’,” she tells WENN. “I’ve always had, in the back of my mind, that I should be on the lookout in books for great parts, but that never connected for me until I was sitting at a microphone recording an audiobook for The Chaperone. So, very uncharacteristically, I called up and found out about the rights and bought them.”

McGovern plays the titular chaperone in the film, opposite Haley Lu Richardson, who portrays starlet Brooks.

Fellowes jumped at the chance to be part of the adaptation because his mother was often mistaken for Louise Brooks.

“I became very intrigued by this idea of tracing her origins,” he explains. “When my mother was a girl, she used to be mistaken for Louise Brooks, because, in those days, with silent pictures, nobody knew what their voices were like. So, the fact that my mother was English didn’t put fans of the real Louise Brooks off.”

The writer’s mother even signed a few autographs as Brooks, when ‘fans’ refused to believe she wasn’t the actress.

“Presumably, her signature is in some movie museum at this very moment,” the writer chuckles.

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Julian Fellowes honours mum with new Louise Brooks movie

Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes jumped at the chance to adapt a story that imagined silent screen star Louise Brooks’ first trip to New York into a film, because his mother was often mistaken for the actress. Fellowes was still working on the Do…

Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes jumped at the chance to adapt a story that imagined silent screen star Louise Brooks’ first trip to New York into a film, because his mother was often mistaken for the actress.

Fellowes was still working on the Downton Abbey TV series when his leading lady, Elizabeth McGovern, brought him Laura Moriarty’s book, The Chaperone, and asked if he would be interested in developing it for the big screen with her.

“At the time, I was fairly buried in Downton,” he tells WENN, “but I am very interested by Louise Brooks, who is the central character in both the book and the film.

“She was a silent film star and rather unusual in that she was also very prominent in the German film business at the time. She wasn’t just a kind of Hollywood cutie. She was rather more than that. So, I became very intrigued by this idea of tracing her origins.

“When my mother was a girl, she used to be mistaken for Louise Brooks, because, in those days, with silent pictures, nobody knew what their voices were like. So, the fact that my mother was English didn’t put fans of the real Louise Brooks off.”

Fellowes’ mum was mistaken for Brooks so often she started signing autographs as the actress.

“Presumably, her signature is in some movie museum at this very moment,” the writer chuckles.

McGovern, who plays the title character in The Chaperone, reteamed with Fellowes for the Downton Abbey movie, which is released later this year (19) and she admits he was the only person who could adapt Moriarty’s book: “Julian has an uncanny ability to tell a story incredibly economically.

“He writes in a very kind of spare way, but they are words that spring to life. I’ve found it time and time again, over the years working with him, that I’ll read something he’s written and not quite understand what he’s up to until I read the words aloud with other actors and it’s suddenly completely clear.”

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Julian Fellowes hints at Downton Abbey film follow-up

Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes has hinted that a sequel to the upcoming film version of the hit period drama is a very real possibility.The wait for a new instalment of the beloved TV show is nearly over for Downton devotees, with the feature no…

Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes has hinted that a sequel to the upcoming film version of the hit period drama is a very real possibility.

The wait for a new instalment of the beloved TV show is nearly over for Downton devotees, with the feature now in its post-production stage.

It’s been more than three years since fans last checked in with the Crawley family and their servants, but Julian, who wrote the movie’s script, has now hinted that more could be on its way.

“I haven’t killed off half the cast in a (British soap opera) Coronation Street-style tram crash so a follow-up is definitely a possibility,” he coyly told The Sun newspaper.

Show favourites Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery, Joanne Froggatt, Elizabeth McGovern, Hugh Bonneville and Jim Carter, among many others, are all back for Downton Abbey the film, which is slated to hit theatres in September (19).

Talking about what fans can expect, Joanne, who has played lady’s maid Anna Bates since the show’s premiere in 2010, told The Times newspaper that cinemagoers won’t be disappointed with the movie continuation.

“The people who love the TV series are the people who are going to want to see the movie, for the most part, so I think it’s got all the things that people loved about Downton, but elevated. It looks very cinematic; there are big, beautiful set pieces,” she smiled.

She also hinted that a follow-up could be in the pipeline.

“If people still want it. One step at a time, but if we can do something really quality, then yes. Never say never,” she teased.

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Elizabeth McGovern recruited Downton Abbey creator and director for new Louise Brooks film

Elizabeth McGovern has teamed up with her Downton Abbey director and creator to bring one of her favourite books to life on the big screen. The actress, who played the American Countess of Grantham in the popular TV series – and will reprise the role …

Elizabeth McGovern has teamed up with her Downton Abbey director and creator to bring one of her favourite books to life on the big screen.

The actress, who played the American Countess of Grantham in the popular TV series – and will reprise the role for a much-anticipated movie later this year (19), took the idea for The Chaperone to Julian Fellowes and he jumped at the chance to adapt it.

McGovern then recruited Downton’s Michael Engler to direct the film version of Laura Moriarty’s book, which imagines 1920s movie star Louise Brooks’ arrival in New York City, before she became a pin-up.

“It’s the same period (as Downton Abbey) but it’s a script that Julian adapted from a book that I brought to him and we both love it,” McGovern explains. “It’s about Louise Brooks, who is a famous, iconic movie star, who, as a young girl, travelled from Kansas to New York – and she’s accompanied by a middle-aged housewife.

“It’s the story of their journey before she became a big movie star.”

McGovern’s title character has a secret agenda for volunteering to chaperone the teenage dancer in the Big Apple, as she sets off to discover the truth about her parents, who put her up for adoption as an infant.

The movie, which also features Geza Rohrig, Blythe Danner, Campbell Scott, and Haley Lu Richardson as Brooks, opens in New York on limited release at the end of this month (Mar19). It opens in Los Angeles in April.

Meanwhile, the Downton Abbey movie will hit the big screen in September.

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Jim Carter hesitant to wait on wife Imelda Staunton on Downton Abbey movie set

Jim Carter is worried his wife Imelda Staunton will blur the lines of reality now she’s joined the Downton Abbey movie.Jim has been part of the Downton cast since the show first aired in 2010, playing loyal butler Charles Carson.He’ll be back waiting h…

Jim Carter is worried his wife Imelda Staunton will blur the lines of reality now she’s joined the Downton Abbey movie.

Jim has been part of the Downton cast since the show first aired in 2010, playing loyal butler Charles Carson.

He’ll be back waiting hand and foot on the aristocratic Crawley family in the big screen version of the period drama, while his wife of 35 years Imelda is among the newbies joining the franchise.

“We don’t actually speak to each other because she is upstairs and I am downstairs. She is harbouring the fond belief that I shall be serving her wine this week but, just in case she thinks that was going to spread into our private life, I think I will have Carson refuse,” he smiled to British newspaper Metro.

Many of the core cast are also back for the film, which series creator Julian Fellowes has written, including Michelle Dockery, Maggie Smith, Elizabeth McGovern and Hugh Bonneville.

Viewers last saw the goings on at the fictional Yorkshire country estate during the 2015 Christmas special, but Jim says it took no time for him and his co-stars to get reacquainted.

“It’s a bit like going back to school, asking how everyone is and about their summer, and then within five minutes you are back into the routine,” he shared. “I’ve been down at Highclere Castle (where Downton is filmed) all this week and it is lovely to see everybody, with the added bonus that Imelda is in it this time.”

As for what he’d like to see happen to Carson in the movie, directed Michael Engler, the 70-year-old admitted he was ready to put his feet up a bit more.

“Oh, God knows. Invent the smorgasbord so the posh people can feed themselves,” he laughed. “I think he should fit a Lazy Susan in the middle of the table so they can just spin it and pick their own dishes, and let me put my feet up and do the crosswords.”

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