Downton Abbey fans only have to wait a few more weeks to find out what the Crawley family has been up to since the television series concluded stateside in 2016.
Ahead of the film version’s September 20 release, some of the team behind the Focus Features drama sat down for interviews for this weekend’s edition of Parade magazine. One of the topics that came up for discussion was the challenge of bringing the expansive cast back together.
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“The biggest testament to the film is that everyone turned up to play,” said Hugh Bonneville, who plays Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham. “We had some hurdles getting everyone in the same place at the same time, but there was a will to do it.”
Executive producer Gareth Neame added that Maggie Smith, known to fans as Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess of Grantham, was the last original cast member from the Emmy-winning series to sign on for the film.
“I suspect in a lot of ways, Maggie missed working with the other actors,” Neame said. “When she was completely sure everyone was going to do it and it was happening, then she was on board.”
Smith, an 84-year-old Oscar winner, joins other series regulars including Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary Crawley), Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith Crawley), Elizabeth McGovern (Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham), Allen Leech (Tom Branson), Matthew Goode (Henry Talbot), Joanne Froggatt (Anna Bates), Brendan Coyle (Mr. Bates), Robert James-Collier (Mr. Barrow), Lesley Nicol (Mrs. Patmore), Sophie McShera (Daisy Mason), Phyllis Logan (Mrs. Hughes), Raquel Cassidy (Miss Baxter) and Michael C. Fox (Andy).
The British period drama ran for six seasons on ITV and PBS. The trailer for the big screen version shows the Crawleys preparing for a royal visit, and a lot has changed.
“No maid, no nanny and no valet even,” exclaims the Earl of Grantham. Lady Edith then arrives at the front door of the mansion with husband Bertie (Harry Hadden-Paton), who chimes in: “It’s 1927, we’re modern folk!”
Downton Abbey is directed by Michael Engler, from a script written by series creator Julian Fellowes.
Watch the trailer below.