Joanne Froggatt, best known to Downton Abbey fans as lady’s maid Anna Bates, has likened making the Downton Abbey movie to attending a school reunion. Froggatt, who was in all 52 episodes of the popular ITV/PBS series, says that making the series was a “dream job” and so returning to the set at Highclere Castle was like attending a school reunion when you really want to see your old friends.
The Telegraph shared an interview with Froggatt about returning to the set to make the upcoming Downton Abbey movie which will include almost the full cast of the television series, set in the early 21st century.
Froggatt says that she loved playing Anna, and that the role had elements of her own personality. She explains that when the show wrapped in 2015 after four years together, there was “an element of grieving” and mourning as they each went off to do other projects.
That is why Froggatt says it was amazing that everyone could make their schedules work to do a movie.
“It’s amazing that people wanted us back to do the movie. It was so surreal. Everyone who was there at the end is there in the movie. It was like a lovely school reunion.”
Froggatt explains that she is sworn to secrecy about plot elements in the Downton Abbey movie, but she will say that her baby boy with Mr. Bates is now 18 months old, and Anna is still working closely with Lady Mary to run the house and keep up standards.
As the actor tiptoes around the details of the upcoming movie, she promises that it will be full of all of the elements that people want to see, including “romance, fun, surprises, sadness and intrigue. Everything people want, but elevated,” according to Radio Times.
Froggatt says that it was nice to slip back into Anna’s persona after intentionally taking a break from that type of “in service” character as to not get typecast. When she finished with Downton Abbey the television drama, she was offered many of these roles.
“I did stay away from working-class northerners for a little bit. Not that I’ve got anything against them, but I didn’t want to play their character all the time.”
The Downton Abbey movie will be released in movie theaters this September in the United Kingdom and in the United States, and it promises to share the ongoing story of the Crawley family.