Downton Abbey the movie has been confirmed
Fans of the period drama will be delighted to hear the Downton Abbey movie has been confirmed with filming set to start this summer. The script has been written by Downton creator Julian Fellowes and the film will pick up from where the TV series left off.
“When the television series drew to a close it was our dream to bring the millions of global fans a movie,” said producer Gareth Neame, “and now, after getting many stars aligned, we are shortly to go into production. Julian’s script charms, thrills and entertains, and in Brian Percival’s hands we aim to deliver everything that one would hope for as Downton comes to the big screen.”
Although NBCUniversal International Studios were keen to start filming this year, some of the cast, including Joanne Froggatt who played Anna Bates, think it might not happen. She's said: "It's been tricky. There has been a lot of goodwill from all of us, but logistically it's a bit of a minefield. It's very difficult to get all 22 actors together. But if we can, everyone would like to do it."
At the end of last year we reported on the promising signs that a film could be around the corner. Apparently the famous setting for the popular series, Highclere Castle, has been booked by film bosses for 2018, and it's just a matter of getting the cast to sign on the dotted line.
There's a rumoured £25m budget, and the plan is to make the film next summer with as many of the original cast as possible. The stately home is closed from May 30 - July 7 which certainly seems like a promising sign!
When we spoke to Siobhan Finneran, aka scheming Sarah O'Brien, last year she told us she'd be very keen to appear in a Downton film:
“I’d definitely be up for it but I honestly know nothing about it although everyone keeps talking about it. I enjoyed playing Sarah O’Brien. Yes she could be cruel and scheming but a lot of the time she felt she was acting in the interests of the house and for the good of the staff. I loved her because she was clever and witty, and not backwards at coming forwards – I admire that quality in real life, too.”
The show's creator Julian Fellowes wrote a script a year ago, and is delighted that the film seems to be moving forward, although he has described getting all the actors together again as 'herding cats'!
The only fly in the ointment is that sadly Dame Maggie Smith is unwilling to return, although apparently writer Lord Fellowes is working on persuading her! She has said before that making a film might be 'squeezing the story dry' - but as fans, we have to disagree! She's also struggled with the level of fame the series brought her. We'd love a film in any shape or size, but the Dowager Countess of Grantham and her acidic tongue was one of our favourite elements of the series, so we're keeping everything crossed that Dame Maggie has a change of heart.
Apparently most of the cast are keen to return to the Abbey, which closed its doors in December 2015 and has been much missed ever since. It's just been a challenge as so many of the actors have gone on to have big careers as a result, and have very busy schedules.
Last month Allen Leech (Tom Branson) said there was a 'great willingness' among the cast to make a film version.
We are SO excited, and keeping everything crossed that the rumours are true!
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