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Has Dame Maggie Smith Signed On For A 'Downton Abbey' Film?

Maggie Smith Julian Fellowes Michelle Dockery Laura Carmichael Hugh Bonneville

Dame Maggie Smith has reportedly signed on to take part in the heavily rumoured ‘Downton Abbey’ film. While a movie version of the series has not yet been confirmed, Smith’s fellow cast member Michael Fox has said that the veteran actress will be taking part in a big screen adaptation.

Downton AbbeyIs ‘Downton Abbey’ the movie, really happening?

Speaking to MailOnline Fox, who played Andy Parker, said that Smith’s involvement was crucial to the film. “She elevates it to something else, because she is such a legend and a national treasure,” he said.

Continue reading: Has Dame Maggie Smith Signed On For A 'Downton Abbey' Film?

Julian Fellowes Says He'll "Certainly" Write Film Version Of 'Downton Abbey' If Asked

Julian Fellowes

A ‘Downton Abbey’ movie is potentially back on, with the show’s creator Julian Fellowes revealing in a new interview that he would “certainly” write a film version of the period drama.

After six seasons and 51 episodes with more than a decade passing on screen, the massively successful ITV drama came to an end with the cast singing Auld Lang Syne as the snow fell outside Downton in a special episode aired on Christmas Day last year.

Julian Fellowes'Downton Abbey' writer Julian Fellowes with one of the show's stars Laura Carmichael at the 2016 NTAs

Continue reading: Julian Fellowes Says He'll "Certainly" Write Film Version Of 'Downton Abbey' If Asked

Not So Fast! Your Favorite "Downton" Characters Are Never Safe, Says Creator Julian Fellowes

Julian Fellowes Lesley Nicol

Downton Abbey fans can breathe a sigh of relief, as the show’s creators have announced that there will be no major character deaths to boost ratings in season 5. Downton viewers cringed at the shocking death of Matthew Crowley in the 2012 Christmas episode. Then the writers took away Lady Sybill with Ye Olde screenwriting cliché – death during childbirth.

Julian Fellowes
Julian Fellowes says fans shouldn't get too comfortable yet.

Now there’s inside info that if the Season 5 cast should change, it won’t be because someone has decided to kick the bucket in the name of ratings. So says Lesley Nicol, who plays cook Mrs Patmore, says NO big characters will die in the next series.

Continue reading: Not So Fast! Your Favorite "Downton" Characters Are Never Safe, Says Creator Julian Fellowes

Richard E. Grant Is A Historian On Downton, And Has His Own Perfume

Richard E. Grant Julian Fellowes

Not only is he to star in a nation’s favorite period drama, but Richard E. Grant will have everyone smelling just how he wants them, too.News that Grant was cast in Downton Abbey came earlier on this month on Valentines Day, but now we know who he’ll be playing in ITV’s hit drama. Grant will play Simon Bricker, who visits Downton as a guest of the Granthams.

Richard E GrantRichard E. Grant will turn up to the Downton set smelling of his own product, we predict

It’s been a long road for the British actor, who has been vying for a spot on Julian Fellowes’ popular show. Asked in 2012 why he had not been written in to the show yet, Grant replied: “I have no idea. I know Julian, but I was never asked. I’ve never been up for it. Maybe next series,” according to The Telegraph.

But he’s in now, and will be playing the historian Bricker.

“When you’re born with a 10ft-long face, you don’t get hero roles. But I’m not complaining as I have hugely enjoyed the wide variety of parts I’ve got to play,” Grant has said. “I would love to play your common, everyday guy, but I never get cast as that. It would be fun to play a chav and chav it up, but I can’t see it ever happening.”

But that’s not all for Grant fans, as the headline explicitly suggests: he’s launched his own perfume. "I've obsessively smelt everything all my life,” the 56-year-old actor said.

"Anya Hindmarch, the handbag designer, saw me with my head in a gardenia bush in the Caribbean two years ago, and she said, 'Are you going to do something about that?' And I said, 'What psychiatrically?' and she said, 'No, make a perfume'. So I have done."

Perfumes are usually launched by pop stars, and glamorous Hollywood actors – maybe the odd sports personality. So Grant’s new smell comes as a surprise. "It's self-financed, self-made, everything, it's been my passion for two years, it's a big gamble,” he explained.

"There are 1,100 perfumes released every year, so it's like an old guy releasing a record and hoping people are going to buy it. But it's really good."

Continue reading: Richard E. Grant Is A Historian On Downton, And Has His Own Perfume

Downton's Back, Alright! Downton Abbey Returns To US Screens

Julian Fellowes Lily James Hugh Bonneville

Downton Abbey will return to PBS for a fourth season this Sunday, 5 January, and anticipation for the quintessentially English period drama couldn't be higher in the United States. The early 20th century-set story of British aristocracy couldn't be further from the days spent by the modern Americans who will sit down in their droves to check out the new season, but can the escapist piece move America once again?

Downton Abbey
The big bad boys of Downton will be back

The Americanisation of the show, it's preoccupation with popular culture intertwined with the prevalent and glaring theme of British social history, is what has made it such a success on both sides of the Atlantic, and this American distinction will only increase in season four. In particular, one of the integral story lines of the season involves the Earl of Downton's niece and her courting of an African-American man, one that obviously hold higher implications not just because he is American.

Continue reading: Downton's Back, Alright! Downton Abbey Returns To US Screens

Downton Abbey Behemoth Trudges On With Fifth Season Confirmation

Julian Fellowes Elizabeth McGovern Paul Giamatti

Downton Abbey has unsurprisingly been renewed for a fifth series by ITV following its season four finale on Sunday evening (November 10, 2013).

Allen LeechTom Branson, Played By Allen Leech.

"We promise all the usual highs and lows, romance, drama and comedy" said Gareth Neame, director of Downton Abbey creators Carnival Films in a statement obtained by the Hollywood Reporter. Julian Fellowes will return to write the new series, which ITV are likely to churn out next year.

Continue reading: Downton Abbey Behemoth Trudges On With Fifth Season Confirmation

Downton Abbey Season 5 Confirmed Despite Season 4's Failings

Julian Fellowes Joanne Froggatt

Series 4 may have been the most controversial and criticised in the show’s back catalogue, but Downton Abbey’s strong viewing figures secured the period drama’s 5th season.

Julian FellowesJulian Fellowes will write another series of Downton.

The new series will air next year, with popular writer Julian Fellowes returning to once again pen his highly-watched drama. An average of 11.8 million tuned in to watch the current series, which reached its climax on Sunday (Nov 10).

Continue reading: Downton Abbey Season 5 Confirmed Despite Season 4's Failings

'Downton Abbey' Green-Lit For Fifth Season

Hugh Bonneville Julian Fellowes Lily James Jim Carter

Downton Abbey came to a close in the UK last night (10 Nov.) on ITV and even though it won't air in the US (on PBS) until January, producers of the show and bosses at the UK station have already agreed to bring the show back for a fifth run. ITV and co-producer Carnival Films announced Sunday (10 Nov.) that the Crawley family will be back for at least one more time, as the channel continues to capitalise on its most successful export.

Hugh Bonnevile
Hugh Bonnevile and co. keeping the grounds of Downton Abbey reputable

According to ITV, the program brings in an average of at least 24 million viewers each week when it airs in the US, making it the most-watched drama in PBS' history. Understandably, both ITV and PBS want to continue capitalising on the immense success of the series and a fifth season seems like the most logical step fo producers to take. The hit series has already been sold to over 220 territoires and has an estimated global audience of 120 million people.

Continue reading: 'Downton Abbey' Green-Lit For Fifth Season

'Romeo And Juliet' Released: Worth The Reboot?

Douglas Booth Hailee Steinfeld Julian Fellowes Damian Lewis

The news that there was a planned new Romeo and Juliet movie was initially akin to learning that there was a new Dracula in the works, sparking cries of "Another one?", "Again?" Rightly so; Baz Luhrmann's 1996 memorable adaptation of William Shakespeare's 16th century tragedy certainly set the precedent for sexing up the Bard to bring the iambic pentameter to a generation of short attention spans.

Watch The 'Romeo And Juliet' Trailer:

This time, the story is set in Verona, rather than LA, and Juliet Capulet is played by the Oscar-nominated Hailee Steinfeld alongside Douglas Booth as Romeo Montague and Ed Westwick as Tybalt. Damian Lewis and Natascha McElhone play Lord and Lady Capulet. A solid cast indeed, but could the staging stand up?

Continue reading: 'Romeo And Juliet' Released: Worth The Reboot?

Downton Abbey's Joanne Froggatt Defends Controversial Rape Storyline

Joanne Froggatt Nigel Harman Julian Fellowes

Broadcasting watchdog Ofcom received "a number of complaints" after Sunday's episode of historical period drama Downton Abbey offended many of its viewers with a brutal rape scene.

Joanne Froggatt
Joanne Froggatt, AKA Anna Bates, Has Defended Downton's Rape Scene.

The scene that shocked viewers into filing an Ofcom complaint, complaining to ITV or airing their horror via Twitter, involved Joanne Froggatt's character Anna May Bates. Anna rejects the advances of valet Mr. Green (Nigel Harman) and is then struck and then dragged into another room to be attacked whilst her family and Downton's guests enjoy and opera performance upstairs. A bloodied and bruised Anna is then shown crying as she tries to come to terms with the events.

Continue reading: Downton Abbey's Joanne Froggatt Defends Controversial Rape Storyline

Downton Abbey Casts First Black Character, Has It Taken Too Long?

Julian Fellowes Gary Carr

Actor Gary Carr has been cast as the first black character on ITV's hugely popular series Downton Abbey. Exectuive producer Gareth Naeme said on Wednesday that the British actor would play Jack Ross, a jazz musician who will have a "recurring role" on the forthcoming season four.

Jazz was introduced to the Downton world in a brief scene in the last year, when Matthew Crawley rescued his niece from an after-hours club. News of the black character made headlines earlier this year, when casting notes were sent out to agents. It described Ross as "Male, 25-30. A musician (singer) at an exclusive club in the 20s. He's black and very handsome. A real man (not a boy) with charm and charisma." The note also said that whoever landed the role should "ideally be able to sing brilliantly," and added, "Overall he should be a very attractive man with a certain wow factor."

It turned out that professionally trained Gary Carr ticked all the boxes. Since graduating from the National Youth Music Theatre of Great Britain, Arts Educational Performing Arts College and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, Carr has appeared in roles for the BBC and ITV and played the lead role in the Royal National Theatre's stage production of the Terry Pratchett novel Nation.

Continue reading: Downton Abbey Casts First Black Character, Has It Taken Too Long?

New Trailer Revealed For 'Romeo And Juliet', Starring Douglas Booth (Trailer & Pictures)

Douglas Booth Hailee Steinfeld Paul Giamatti Damian Lewis Ed Westwick Julian Fellowes Zola Jesus

Douglas Booth as Romeo and Hailee Steinfeld as Juliet in Romeo And JulietDouglas Both as Romeo and Hailee Steinfeld as Juliet in Romeo And Juliet

It’s been a while since anyone’s attempted to pull off a film adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic doomed love story Romeo & Juliet. We suspect it’s because Baz Luhrmann did such a bang up job of it back in the 90’s that many have been simply too terrified to try and better it. However, with Douglas Booth and Paul Giamatti among the stars, director Carlo Carlei is probably confident that his 2013 version of the ancient play has the chops to do the original script justice especially with the Oscar winning 'Downton Abbey' creator Julian Fellowes adapting the screenplay. 

Featuring the welcome voice of Zola Jesus on the backing soundtrack, the extended trailer for Carlei’s work has been revealed and apart from revealing that almost all the young actors in it are impossibly pretty, it also has a touch of a gothic feel about it, with dark shades adorning most of the clips shown and the infamous masked ball focused on as the first place the pair meet. 'Gossip Girl' star Ed Westwick also makes an appearance in the movie as the vengeful cousin of Juliet, Tybalt in his first role since leaving the show.

Continue reading: New Trailer Revealed For 'Romeo And Juliet', Starring Douglas Booth (Trailer & Pictures)

Julian Fellowes On Gay Story Line And Matthew Crawley's Death In Downton Abbey

Julian Fellowes Dan Stevens

Downton Abbey is safe viewing. Entertaining, witty and with great dialogue it's simply a pleasure to sink yourself deep into your sofa and while away an hour of your time in a marginally recent history, that presents you with a different world. Of course, it's only safe for the viewer.

As Julian Fellowes explains to the New York Times, for the characters, living in the early 20th century was anything but safe, not only because of the two world wars that took place during that era, but also because of certain laws that have since been turned over. In particular, the revelation that the servant Thomas is gay is somewhat radical for the period.

"I don't know about in America, but here, there are so many people under 40 who were hardly aware of the fact that it was actually illegal until the 1960s," he said. "Perfectly normal men and women were risking prison by making a pass at someone. Their whole life was lived in fear, and ruin and humiliation and career after career would be smacked down." 

Continue reading: Julian Fellowes On Gay Story Line And Matthew Crawley's Death In Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey Finally Returning To US Screens

Julian Fellowes

The season premiere of the beloved period drama Downton Abbey is about to hit PBS this Sunday.  But, with half the season and a Christmas special already broadcast across the pond, impatience among fans is growing. Some are even finding alternative ways of getting to see their favorite show and, let’s face it, with torrenting and streaming sites abundant on the net, getting to see Julian Fellowes' Downton before it airs stateside really isn’t all that difficult.

Still, it looks like hope is far from lost for the network as a lot of people are still tuning in to watch the show the old-fashioned way. In its first season in the US Downton Abbey averaged 5 million viewers for episode – an unexpected success for the sometimes soapy, always stuffy period drama about the original “first-world problems.

And for those viewers, who do decide that they want to play by the rules and actually see the show as it airs on PBS, avoiding spoilers is becoming something of a challenge, as forums and social networks are filled with spoilers about the lives of the fictional inhabitants of Downton Abbey and the people who serve them. Well, the wait will be over very soon and, according to the reviews, the twists and turns in this third season will be well worth the wait.

Unusual September Setting For Downton Abbey’s Christmas Special

Julian Fellowes

As Christmas specials go, the festive treat for Downton Abbey will be an unusual one… because it’s set in September. Rather than skipping to the yuletide period, Julian Fellowes and his team decided that they would set the two hour special in the autumn, as the Crawley family visit the Scottish Highlands for a break away, where they are welcomed at Duneagle Castle by Shrimpie Flintshire (no, we didn’t just make that up) and his wife Susan.

There are tensions amidst the Flintshire family though and their rebellious young daughter Rose is causing a stir again, as she did back in season three, by having an affair with Terence Margadale. Back at Downton Abbey, the staff are hard at work and there’s romance on the cards for Mrs Patmore. There’s even a new servant on the scene, in the shape of Edna Braithwaite (played by MyAnna Buring).

The Downton Abbey Christmas special, aired on ITV at 20:45pm is sure to be a favourite amongst an audience of lethargic British TV viewers, stuffed to the hilt from their Christmas dinners. It will go head to head with another popular festive favourite though: the Eastenders Christmas special. Both shows will be aired at the same time and will also clash with Channel 4’s showing of The Lord of The Rings and BBC 2’s look at a year in the life of the Military Wives’ Choir.

Festive TV War - Downton Abbey Christmas Special Beats Call The Midwife

Julian Fellowes

In the battle of the Christmas specials, BBC have been forced to back down and move their 75 minute episode of Call the Midwife, to make way for a 2 hour episode of the Julian Fellowes drama Downton Abbey. The war of the festive programming has gone five rounds, before the two channels finally came to an agreement. In fact, by the sounds of it, it’s lucky they didn’t have to draft the UN in to forge a peace agreement between them.

The Daily Mail reports today though that after “hours of negotiations,” Call the Midwife will air at 7:30pm, after ITV said that they wish Downton to start at 8:45pm. A senior member of staff at the BBC said “We wanted to avoid a clash if possible and give viewers a chance to watch both on the day if they wanted to.” So, your Christmas Day viewing schedule has finally been decided for you: Call the Midwife at 7:30pm (unless you want to watch Coronation Street, of course) and then Downton at 8:45pm (unless you want to watch Eastenders, of course). And frankly, if you’ve got a fancy TV that records programmes you’re not watching, then all of this will be of very little consequence at all.

Somewhat bizarrely, Downton Abbey’s festive special will actually be set in summer time, as Lord and Lady Grantham enjoy a holiday break with Scottish cousins at Duneagle Castle. If they haven’t got the ‘festive’ bit of the ‘festive drama,’ then you’d better keep your fingers crossed that they remembered the ‘drama.’

Can Julian Fellowes Recreate Downton Success

Julian Fellowes

Could Julian Fellowes recreate the success of Downton Abbey in a new series, set over the pond in America? Well, we will soon find out the answer to that question, apparently, as The New York Times have reported that Fellowes is now on board with NBC and Universal Television in America, to work on a new “sweeping epic,” entitled The Gilded Age. The show is said to be set in 1880’s New York and will focus on the wealthy communities of that time.

Fellowes speaks of his new project with excitement, saying “This was a vivid time. With dizzying, brilliant ascents and calamitous falls, of record-breaking ostentation and savage rivalry; a time when money was king.” The president of NBC Entertainment, Jennifer Salke, was reportedly “thrilled” to have Fellowes on their team for the new show and said “"Having him on our team represents a major creative coup.” Which is no real surprise, given the accolades that Downton has received over in the United States this year.

Downton Abbey may be a quintessentially British series but it’s popularity in the USA has been unprecedented. The First Lady, Michelle Obama, even put in a special request to get a sneak preview of the next series. So Fellowes clearly has the chops to connect with an American audience and we’re keen to see what he comes up with for his new drama. Currently, details of when the show will air are still unknown.

Downton's Julian Fellowes Working On 'The Gilded Age' With NBC

Julian Fellowes

We all know that Julian Fellowes is very good at British period dramas. He wrote the screen play for the enormously successful Gosford Park, but more recently and more notably he is the creator of Downton Abbey, the 1930s British drama that has made waves on both sides of the Atlantic. Acknowledging his talent, NBC has brought him on board for their new project 'The Gilded Age" which is set to be about the wealths of the American renaissance, according to the Huffington Post.

Set in the New York of the 1880s, the show is expected to exude the opulence of the age. "This was a vivid time, with dizzying, brilliant ascents and calamitous falls, of record-breaking ostentation and savage rivalry; a time when money was king," Fellowes said about the era. 

"We at the network are all so thrilled to be working with the immensely talented Julian Fellowes, who is universally admired for his critically and commercially appealing productions," Jennifer Salke, Entertainment Chair for NBC, said in a statement. "Having him on our team represents a major creative coup and everyone is looking forward to his first NBC project in 'The Gilded Age.'"

Continue reading: Downton's Julian Fellowes Working On 'The Gilded Age' With NBC

The Tourist Review

This is a thoroughly offbeat concoction from the gifted filmmaker behind the acclaimed The Lives of Others: a rather goofy action comedy that deflates the suspense by telling us pretty much everything from the start.

Elisa (Jolie) is a sleek, overdressed woman of mystery who is being stalked by a tenacious British detective (Bettany). When she boards a train from Paris to Venice, his men are in hot pursuit, so she sidles up to American touristFrank (Depp) to throw them off the scent. He looks similar to her boyfriend, who's wanted by the cops and a vicious Russian mobster (Berkoff). Once in Venice, Frank finds his world turned upside both by this ludicrously elegant woman and the army of goons pursuing him at every turn.

Continue reading: The Tourist Review

Piccadilly Jim Review

A rather hysterical oddity that can't decide what era it's set in or what mood to play, Piccadilly Jim just chucks it all at the screen and hopes that some wit will come through and generate some laughs. Fortunately for the audience, some of it does - unfortunately for the film, not nearly enough.

Based on P.G. Wodehouse's novel, the film concerns the exploits of one Jim Crocker (Sam Rockwell), a young wastrel whose social-climbing American mother (Allison Janney, sharp as a tack) has forced him and his father (Tom Wilkinson), a failed British actor, to live in London and try and impress the swells there. She does this just to tick off her competitive sister, Nesta (Brenda Blethyn), a fact not wasted on the men of the family. Spoiling his mother's plans is Jim's penchant to booze it up all over town, getting into fistfights and leaving flappers scattered about the house and in his bed. Jim decides to ostensibly reform his wayward ways when he meets Nesta's step-niece Anne (Frances O'Connor), who won't have anything to do with him unless he pretends to be someone else - Jim once wrote a gossip column under the name "Piccadilly Jim", and once someone else writing the column (he hasn't worked on it for years) gave a negative review to a collection of Anne's poems. Jim thusly does the only sensible thing a fellow could do: He pretends to be a teetotaler Christian named Algernon Bayliss. Somehow, along the way, a German spy and some scientific secrets come into play, but one would be well-served to not wonder how.

Continue reading: Piccadilly Jim Review

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