As the premiere date for the Downton Abbey movie gets closer, excitement is building among the international fan base, and the cast of the hit series is also eager for the film to be seen in theaters around the world.
Vanity Fair‘s Julie Miller had the opportunity to interview the film’s screenwriter Julian Fellowes and stars Michelle Dockery, Hugh Bonneville, and Elizabeth McGovern to get some feedback on what to expect from the big-screen incarnation of the Crawley family’s story.
Many details of the Downton Abbey movie have been closely guarded, but Fellowes and the three actors from the movie are willing to share a few clues about the big event that will bring everyone at the homestead together.
Like many parts of Downton Abbey, Sir Julian Fellowes based the premise of the movie on real events, and so the royal visit to the Crawley’s home is inspired by an actual trip that King George and Queen Mary took in 1912 to Wentworth Woodhouse in Yorkshire.
While in the movie we check in with the family in the late ’20s, the idea is still the same, all hands are needed on deck to present the stately home at its best for royalty.
Fellowes explains that the PBS series also takes place in Yorkshire, and so things clicked.
“Downton is also in Yorkshire. And so it seemed to me quite a good parallel, [and something] that the servants and the family would be equally as excited about.”
Hugh Bonneville explains that like the series, there is the main plot, but also subplots, and touches on each and every character that fans have come to love and related to. He believes that it will be satisfying no matter why you love it.”It’s got the highs and lows, zingers and pathos, and skullduggery and big laughs—all the flavors that made the show so enjoyable.”
Michelle Dockery, who plays Lady Mary, believes that even though the movie is a continuation of the television show, it gives you more of everything in the way you’d expect that a film should. “There are more diamonds and fancier food.” But in the world of the television show, the family was on top, and in the film, the Crawleys are in a place where they need to impress the royals.
Bonneville says that the movie isn’t really Downton, the next generation, as he and Elizabeth McGovern are still playing a big role, but they are now watching over things, but especially with the royal visit, they are still needed.