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“A moving picture, at Downton!?!”
The Crawleys are going slightly meta for Focus Features’ Downton Abbey movie sequel, which includes a major storyline about a film being shot at the castle. In the new trailer for Downton Abbey: A New Era, Hugh Bonneville’s Lord Grantham appears rather unimpressed by the prospect of “actresses plastered in makeup and actors just plastered,” invading his home, which has several other members of the house somewhat giddy in excitement (“Will there be film stars, famous ones?” asks Sophie McShera’s Daisy). The famous film stars in question are played by Dominic West and Laura Haddock, with West looking much like late British icon David Niven, given some impressive slicked-back hair and a thin mustache.
The sequel also delves into the “mysterious past” of Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess, still very much alive (despite speculation following the first film), and a villa in the French Riviera she has recently become the owner of following a relationship she had with a man many years earlier.
“They spent a few days together and he gives her a house,” snipes Penelope Wilton’s Isobel Crawley.
Written once again by creator Julian Fellowes and with Simon Curtis (Goodbye Christopher Robin, Woman in Gold) having stepped into the director’s chair, the second movie outing has miraculously reassembled Masterpiece PBS and ITV series’ rather large ensemble of stars.
Among the returning castmembers are Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Brendan Coyle, Michelle Dockery, Kevin Doyle, Joanne Froggatt, Harry Hadden-Paton, Robert James-Collier, Allen Leech, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern, McShera, Tuppence Middleton, Lesley Nicol, Imelda Staunton, Wilton and Smith (who many thought might not be coming back after her Dowager Countess implied her time was coming to an end in the first film).
Rounding out the principals for A New Era are Downton newcomers Hugh Dancy, Haddock, Nathalie Baye, West and Jonathan Zaccaï.
Downton Abbey: A New Era — produced again by Gareth Neame, Liz Trubridge and Fellowes for Carnival Films — is set to land in theaters May 20, having been pushed back from slots in December 2021 and March 2022 amid the ongoing pandemic.
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