Hold on to your corsets - the speculation around the rumoured Downton Abbey movie has reached fever pitch! 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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