Holy Crawleys! Less than 60 days 'til the movie premiere (but who's counting?!).
And with less than two months to go 'til the Downton Abbey movie premiere on September 20, we're as excited as the Dowager Countess when somebody stirs up some hot early-20th-century goss. The latest news comes courtesy of Michelle Dockery aka Lady Mary (who else?) in a recent interview with Vanity Fair, where she revealed two major plot points about the Downton Abbey movie.
First, the movie sets are going to be even more magnificent than the Masterpiece PBS show, which, we didn't think was possible, but here we are.
Yes, there will be more "Grantham grandeur," more pomp and circumstance, more gorgeous turn-of-the-century stateliness, and on a much grander scale than the show. As Dockery points out, the Crawley family, who are usually at the very top of their Yorkshire society pecking order, must now impress actual royals, since the plot of the movie centers around a visit to Downton from King George V and Queen Mary (aka Queen Elizabeth's real-life grandparents).
“There are more diamonds and fancier food, and it’s really interesting to see that the family and the servants are not at the top," Dockery said. "They’re now having to impress the royals, which I think is really great—to see them kind of getting in a bit of a tiz about the arrival of the king and queen. Mary is in true form of trying to keep everybody in order.”
So much pomp and circumstance, in fact, that the show's historical adviser, Alastair Bruce, consulted with one of Queen Elizabeth’s actual longtime household butlers, as well as a former equerry (aka a personal attendant) of Prince Philip’s. These two former Buckingham Palace household staff members taught the cast (including the on-screen Downton staff) the historically accurate way to behave around a monarch during the late 1920s, when the movie takes place.
Second, Dockery revealed that the movie illustrates how Lady Mary completes her character renaissance, so to speak. When the Masterpiece series ended, Lady Mary was given the managerial responsibilities of the Grantham estate. Since the movie picks up in 1927, one year after the show has ended, we'll still see her character struggling with being the head of the household.
Dockery said Lady Mary will have to lean heavily on her brother-in-law, Tom Branson (Allen Leech), her loyal lady-in-waiting, Anna Bates (Joanne Froggatt), and her “hero” Mr. Carson (Jim Carter). “Mary reaches out to him for help, and he saves the day,” Dockery said. (We can feel the tears welling up already.)
“He comes back and takes on the role of Downton’s butler once more," Dockery revealed. "I love that relationship between Mary and Carson. And that is one of the lovely moments in the film, when she reaches out to him.”
“Mary’s really running Downton now, more than her father,” Julian Fellowes, the series creator and movie mastermind, told Vanity Fair.
And, finally, a new movie poster to feast your eyes on.
Hold it together, people. As Mrs. Hughes once said, "You can always hold my hand if you need to feel steady."