The long-awaited “Downton Abbey” movie is happening. The original main cast from the hit series are returning, and shooting starts in September.
Many of the stars of the series had spoken of their eagerness to return for a big-screen “Downton,” and the producers said Friday the original principal cast are on board the movie. As such, the likes of Michelle Dockery, Maggie Smith, and Hugh Bonneville will feature.
The movie will be a Carnival Films production, with Focus Features and Universal Pictures International distributing. Julian Fellowes, who created the period drama, has written the screenplay and will produce the feature. Brian Percival, who directed the original series’ pilot, will direct the film.
Gareth Neame, Carnival’s executive chairman, will also produce. He said: “When the television series drew to a close it was our dream to bring the millions of global fans a movie 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”.
“Downton Abbey” became a global hit over its six-season run. It aired on ITV in the U.K. and was a Masterpiece show in the U.S. With Carnival-owner NBCUniversal handling distribution, it sold the world over. The show followed the lives of the Crawley family and the servants who worked for them at the turn of the 20th century in an Edwardian English country home. Plot details of the movie are tightly under wraps.
“Since the series ended, fans of ‘Downton’ have long been waiting for the Crawley family’s next chapter,” said Focus chairman Peter Kujawski. “We’re thrilled to join this incredible group of filmmakers, actors and craftspeople, led by Julian Fellowes and Gareth Neame, in bringing back the world of ‘Downton’ to the big screen.”
The series garnered numerous awards including a trio of Golden Globe Awards, 15 Primetime Emmy Awards, and a Special BAFTA award. With 69 nominations, it was the most nominated non-U.S. television show in the history of the Emmys.
The official “Downton Abbey” Twitter account celebrated the news with a picture of a butler holding a silver platter upon which there was a card reading: “We cordially invite you to return to Downton Abbey — Only in Cinemas.”
Joanne Froggatt, one of the stars of the series, said the band was getting back together.
Michelle Dockery also reacted.