nobody movie_Downton Abbey: A New Era – “This movie has such a big heart”

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It has all the things that people love Downton. It feels like you’re getting a warm hug. And I think that’s what everyone needs right now

Joanne Froggatt

Elizabeth McGovern: It’s a funny thing because when it first started people felt a real nostalgia for the era it was taking them to. And now I think people feel nostalgic for the era they were in when they first started watching the show. So it’s nostalgia, but it kind of morphed into something else because the world is changing so fast.

Joanne Froggatt: I think the second movie is even better than the first. It’s funny, it’s poignant, it looks
beautiful – it has all the things that people love Downton. It feels like you’re getting a warm hug. And I think that’s what everyone needs now, after the last few years and with what’s happening in the world.

Penelope Wilton: What’s happening right now is just so harrowing and so horrific – especially in Ukraine – that it’s hard to focus on anything else. But I think it will be entertaining for a few hours. With everything going up, fuel prices and all, people are against it in so many ways, so I’m hoping it will give everyone a boost. It’s a highly entertaining story.

Harry Haddon-Paton as Bertie, with McGovern, Julian Fellowes and Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Photo: Ben Blackall / © 2022 Focus Features LLC

JF: Julian has always been very good at connecting the stories in historical time to what is going on in our time. He tends to weave these parallels very subtly. I can’t say why, but the parallels in this story aren’t necessarily economic or political, but emotionally the parallels in this story are universal. He has such a big heart, this film.

EM: I don’t get many opportunities to work with Simon [Curtis, her husband of 30 years, who directs the new film], so it was a privilege. I was nervous because it’s so difficult to get into something that’s already going on, but I was so proud of him. It’s been years since I’ve worked with him and he’s gained so much confidence and expertise. I was really blown away watching him work. It was a really nice thing to be able to experience this. He has a real history with so many people in the acting community and experienced the entire series through me so intensely that he was well positioned to fit right in. But he did something very difficult – he imprinted his own personality on him. You can really see his warmth and sense of humor in the film.

PC: I’m not allowed to tell you anything about the new film – it has to remain secret. But I think you’ll see in the next film what the family does when faced with this when their finances are exhausted. Because of course it’s terribly expensive. You couldn’t run a house like that anymore. Nobody could. It would be impossible, especially now – how could you heat it?

EM: The new movie? It’s basically more of the same! It’s everything everyone expected Downton Abbey But I feel that in this case the detail, richness and texture of the plot are at their best. Because the thing Downton Abbey doing well what the clash of old and new is, Julian found a very clever way to re-explore this dynamic. It’s always on the horizon, that feeling that modern life is slowly eating away at the lives they enjoy. So that’s very clear. I can’t really say because I would be killed, but there are other heartbreaking things that anticipate the passage of time.

Michael Fox as Andy with Froggatt as Anna, Sophie McShera as Daisy and Lesley Nicol as Mrs. Patmore Photo Credit: Ben Blackall / © 2021 Focus Features, LLC

JF: I love the people and feel a real loyalty to their show and our team. We had a wonderful experience during the show, so it’s an easy decision to keep coming back. We can hang out with our friends and revisit something that was such a big and special part of our lives. I also love visiting Anna again. It’s never a hard decision to follow in their footsteps again. Julian has put her to the test over the years, for which as an actor I am very grateful. I wanted to be an actor because of the versatility, being able to play different roles and challenging myself. But having the opportunity to come back and revisit that character in a movie is so dreamy and something that’s very rare in the television world.

EM: My favorite memories are laughing on set with the actors. Before we had a concept, even what the show was, the simple times where everyone just stood in the trenches with their sleeves rolled up and worked on it. That’s what I like best.

JF: For the first year that we were nominated for an Emmy, Michelle Dockery and I paid for our own flights to the US and stayed at Michelle’s aunt’s house in LA. We huddled together as pluses with the director and producer and had a blast. We went to all the pre-parties, did our own hair and makeup, swapped clothes and had the most magical week. Elizabeth McGovern was nominated for best actress, so she sat up front and we sat with the rest of our team and said, ‘Wow, I wonder how it feels to have a personal nomination. That must be crazy!” Cut to a year later, me and Michelle are back with personal nominations – and we’re doing the same thing but in a very different way, with the hair and makeup and the stylist. We still had a crazy great time but nothing will top it the first time because we were like kids in a candy store. Downton Abbey gave me so many good memories. That’s why I will always be loyal to him.

We’ve all been through something together and we’ve grown up a bit. So there is a real sense of trust and respect.

Elizabeth McGovern

PC: Maggie Smith and I have a very, very, very, very good relationship. And Julian wrote wonderful scenes for us – that gave the whole thing a certain poignancy. They really wore each other down but ended up admiring each other even though they would never give in to each other. They have different views on things and both stick to their opinions. So we had a lot of fun in these sparring matches. I lived in hope that he would let me win, but in the end she mostly got the upper hand.

Penelope Wilton as Isobel and Maggie Smith as Lady Grantham
Wilton as Isobel Merton and Smith as Violet Grantham
Photo: Ben Blackall / © 2022 Focus Features, LLC

EM: We’ve all been through something together and we’ve grown up a bit. So there is a real sense of trust and respect. It is very nice. Very unusual. I’m so proud of everyone. For the first few years, Michelle would come to my trailer and I would make her sing. now Michelle and Michael [Fox, who has played Andy Parker since series five] sing together, do their own thing. There was always a big musical element among the performers.

PC: It was a bit like a theater group because you have a group of people of all ages and you work with them over a period of time. This way you get to know each other very well and also get very close to the crew. We have a driver named Orest who is Ukrainian and is at the border right now trying to get his wife and mother to safety. So we send him messages. I hope he makes it through.

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EM: My big problem? I have a real passion that people should go out and support, support, dance, support theatre live music. People really suffer in these worlds. We learned about first responders, about the primary caregivers who are of such great value to society. And we now need to look again at the value of live art to society, at people’s spirit and mental health and at that sense of sharing and community. So I put my energy into getting people back out to support people who have suffered a lot over the last few years. I’m not talking about me, I’m talking about artists who make a living from performing live. That’s my thing at the moment.

PC: My big problem is the standard of living in this country. I was on Tottenham Court Road and people were live in doors. I counted 10 tents outside of Heals. When we hit the pandemic, we seemed able to do something about homelessness. It seems ridiculous that you can’t continue something that has worked quite well. And I don’t think it’s a good idea to send refugees to Rwanda. It’s a terrible thing. It’s embarrassing. We were enormously disappointed in this government on a range of subjects. That parties is one of the most obvious. They were very keen that everyone else followed the rules. And they should have followed them themselves. I think there will be a reckoning. it will come

Downton Abbey: A New Era Theatrical release on April 29th

JF: How many homeless people could live in it Downton Abbey? That’s a great question. Wow. Quite a lot – and that’s actually a really good idea. Although I think the family might have something to say about that. But thousands. Because it’s huge. Including the entire property as there are other houses on the property. I haven’t even seen most of the house because most of the top floor is cordoned off even for us. But you could fit a village there. Maybe a city.

@adey70

Downton Abbey: A New Era Theatrical release on April 29th

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