That’s the feeling the ITV drama cast is hoping to bring to cinemas when they return for a second stint on the big screen, Downton Abbey: A New Era, three years after the much-anticipated debut, which was a box office. office crush in 2019.
“Having worked together on and off for the past decade, while we didn’t take it for granted, we’ve slipped into a groove. Paddington star Hugh Bonneville, who has returned to play Robert Crowley, Earl of Grantham, says once we get dressed, you get a specific rhythm.
“But of course the pandemic changed that for everyone, and so, when we got together to do the reading, and then on the first day in the group, I think we all really realized how lucky we were within our industry to work, when there weren’t thousands.
“I also really appreciate the fact that we were on a show that was so much loved, maybe more than ever, because we got a lot of messages from all over the world, from people saying they revisited the show during closing, and it was relaxing, and to see the show again I reminded them of a simpler time, pre-Brexit, pre-Trump, pre-Covid.
“And so I think we all share a kind of, if not a responsibility, expectation that we were doing something that would delight many, many fans around the world and we wanted to up our game and make it as good as possible, so fingers crossed.”
The new Downton movie, again written by Julian Fellowes, brings the family, as well as the staff keeping things under the stairs, to 1928, at a time of great change.
A widowed Countess, played by the wonderful Lady Maggie Smith, learns that a villa in the south of France has been left by the will of a man she has known for many years, so half of the family moves to the Riviera to investigate.
Meanwhile, Hollywood comes to Downton when the film crew wants to use the big old house for a silent photo shoot.
While the old bouncer up and down the stairs thinks there’s nothing worse than a group of awful actors running around (whoo), Lady Mary, played by Michelle Dockery, sees the advantage. The ceiling is leaking and the film will cover the bills.
The house is soon surrounded by a large cast, including the director, played by Hugh Dancy, and two silent film stars, Dominic West and Laura Haddock. But disaster erupts when the first “talkie” movie is released, forcing the Downton crew to find a way to bring their suddenly outdated movie into the modern age.
“I didn’t realize how quickly the movie went from silent movies to talkies, and that’s loosely based on the true story about this movie called Blackmail, which was originally a silent movie and then, when it first came out, everyone was going for them,” Dockery says.
“I also didn’t realize the impact it might have on the actors at the time, so it’s interesting to know the beginning of the movie and to be a part of that as a character.
“I’m always really surprised by what Julian writes and I was totally surprised to read that Marie is involved in the film in ways that she would never have imagined, but it was so fitting for the character, it was something so new and so new.”
As Marie absorbs the world of modern filmmaking, her sister, Lady Edith, played by Laura Carmichael, explores a new vacation world in southern France, where she joins the rest of the family for a meet-and-greet. The owners of the villa inherited the widowed Countess.
This is the first time the world of Downton has traveled abroad, and presents a whole new playing field for the actors.
“We were thrilled, of course,” enthuses Carmichael, “to have had to go and spend some time in this beautiful location, but it was also great to see this part of the world at this time.
“Edith got interested in traveling with them so she could write an article about the fact that the rich and famous started vacationing and vacationing in the south of France and it became very popular, so you can really see how the fashion was going on there and how the jazz age was in France, so it was So much fun.”
“It was a way to get each character to open up because they’re in this different environment, and it’s a more relaxed environment and things happen that wouldn’t necessarily happen at Highclere Castle[the place where Downton Abbey was filmed]so Elizabeth McGovern, who returns as Cora Crowley, adds that it was a great device.” .
Cora shares a secret she’s been harboring for too long, and Robert loses his stiff upper lip.
“It’s the kind of thing that often happens to me when I read Julian’s writing – there’s so much more on the page than meets the eye for the first time, and it takes the whole crew and all the cast together to realize all the depth that actually exists in this writing, which I don’t even know if aware of it when he writes.”