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

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 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

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

Laura Carmichael: ‘It was mad to be back at Downton Abbey’ 

Laura Carmichael found it “mad to be back” with her old castmates while shooting the Downton Abbey movie.The film, slated for release in September, will see Michelle Dockery return to her role as Lady Mary, alongside Joanne Froggatt as Anna Bates, Hugh…

Laura Carmichael found it “mad to be back” with her old castmates while shooting the Downton Abbey movie.

The film, slated for release in September, will see Michelle Dockery return to her role as Lady Mary, alongside Joanne Froggatt as Anna Bates, Hugh Bonneville as Robert Crawley and Elizabeth McGovern as Cora Crawley.

And now Laura, who plays Lady Edith, has revealed to Collider that she had a lovely time filming with her friends.

“It was really cool. We had a really nice time. It was fantastic. Being around the dining room table again was like, ‘I can’t believe we’re back here!’ It was kind of bonkers. It was mad to be back, but just delightful to be back with friends,” she gushed.

As a huge fan of the programme, Laura was very happy to see Michelle and Jim Carter, who plays butler Carson, back in their roles.

“As someone who loves the show, it was a thrill to see Jim Carter be Carson again, and (Michelle) be Lady Mary. It was like, ‘There you are! It’s you again!’ We see each other quite a lot, but to see them return to those characters, I found exciting. I hope we translate that, on screen.

“It feels like it’s been a long time, but also no time, at the same time. I think it’s a good distance. It’s good timing,” the 32-year-old shared.

Laura is currently starring the Starz drama series The Spanish Princess, which is adapted from the novels of Philippa Gregory and follows the story of Catherine of Aragon, who became the first wife of King Henry VIII.

The British actress plays Maggie Pole, the aunt and mentor to Prince Arthur, and said she was able to understand her character’s loss in the first few lines of the script.

“It’s a really cool part. I really like how you really know where she’s coming from,” she added.

© Cover Media

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.

© Cover Media

Kate Beckinsale departs Guy Ritchie’s Toff Guys – report

Kate Beckinsale has reportedly dropped out of Guy Ritchie’s Toff Guys movie.In October (18), producers announced that the Underworld actress had signed on to appear alongside Matthew McConaughey and Crazy Rich Asians breakout star Henry Golding in the …

Kate Beckinsale has reportedly dropped out of Guy Ritchie’s Toff Guys movie.

In October (18), producers announced that the Underworld actress had signed on to appear alongside Matthew McConaughey and Crazy Rich Asians breakout star Henry Golding in the upcoming action-crime film, with the project to follow a British drug lord who tries to sell off his highly profitable empire to a dynasty of Oklahoma billionaires.

However, an insider has now alleged to The Sun that Beckinsale pulled out of the film on Monday (26Nov18) after she decided that she could “no longer” devote herself to the movie.

“Kate turned up this week and decided she didn’t want to play the role anymore,” the source commented. “She explained that other stuff in her life, including an ill family member, meant she could not commit.”

According to editors at the U.K. publication, Downton Abbey actress Michelle Dockery has been drafted in to replace Beckinsale.

Representatives for Beckinsale, Dockery and Ritchie have not yet commented on the report.

Ritchie penned the script for Toff Guys alongside Ivan Atkinson and Marn Davies, while the film will be produced by Max Keene and Alan J. Wands.

Other cast members are set to include Hugh Grant and Jeremy Strong, with it anticipated that the feature will be in the same vein as the gangster flicks that launched Ritchie’s career, such as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch.

Beckinsale was most recently seen onscreen in Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s drama Farming and Marc Webb’s The Only Living Boy in New York. The 45-year-old recently landed a part in Charlie Day’s forthcoming comedy El Tonto and is also in the pre-production stages of TV series The Widow.

Meanwhile, Dockery is currently filming the hotly anticipated Downton Abbey movie.

A potential release date for Toff Guys has not been announced.

© Cover Media

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.”

© Cover Media