Dame Maggie Smith, who played the role of the Dowager Countess on the series Downton Abbey, had said in the past that she didn’t want to be part of a Downton movie, and for the next project, she assumed her character Violet would be dead. But through some miracle of movie magic, Smith is coming back for what is supposed to be a two-hour movie, and everyone else from the cast is said to also be on board.
The New Statesman says that Smith had said that Downton Abbey ruined her life, and she thought a Downton movie would be overkill. Last year, Smith was asked if she was offered the role in the movie, would she say yes, and she told a crowd at a Q&A that she thought the finale was enough.
“I just think it’s squeezing it dry, do you know what I mean? I don’t know what it could possibly be.”
She also said she didn’t think the show would translate to a movie format.
“It was so meandering, what would you do?”
At the time she dismissed it, saying that worrying about Downton Abbey wasn’t her problem, it was Julian Fellowes’ concern.
“Anyway, that’s not my problem. That’s the Lord’s problem.”
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) July 13, 2018
Dame Maggie Smith had joked that a Downton Abbey movie would start at her funeral, essentially over her dead body.
“I was firmly convinced it would start with the funeral. I could croak it and it would just start with the body.”
Smith said that she led a perfectly normal life until she took the role of Violet Crawley, and now she can’t go anywhere without being recognized.
“I led a perfectly normal life until Downton Abbey. I’m not kidding. I’d go to theatres, I’d go to galleries, things like that on my own. And now I can’t and that’s awful. The Fulham Road’s dodgy!”
Michelle Dockery, who plays Lady Mary Crawley, posted on Instagram that the whole principal cast would be back for the Downton Abbey movie, says the Irish Examiner. Dockery posted a photo of herself, Joanne Froggatt, and Dame Magie Smith to indicate they were all returning to do the movie. The post indicated that they were returning to Highclere Castle where it all began.
Gareth Neame said that he thought everyone from the original project was hoping for a way to get everyone back together.
“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.”