‘Downton’ producer open to possibility of big-screen film

2 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Downton Abbey’: Gareth Neame Talks Potential Movie, Cast Gets Sentimental.

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) – With “Downton Abbey” coming to an end, its executive producer is offering hope that a follow-up movie is at least a possibility.With two weeks of filming remaining on Downton Abbey, cast members Michelle Dockery, Laura Carmichael, Hugh Bonneville, Joanne Froggatt, Elizabeth McGovern, and Penelope Wilton traveled to Los Angeles to tease the drama’s final season to the Television Critics Association on Saturday.

The sixth and final season of Downton Abbey, the network’s highest rated drama, is set to bow January 3 — but that likely won’t be the end of it. By ending the TV drama several years shy of the 1929 stock market crash, producer Gareth Neame said rich territory is left to be mined if a film is made.

The cast had already said goodbye to locals, Highclere Castle, and a few cast members whose storylines had ended, and the mood onstage at the Beverly Hilton Hotel was bittersweet. It’s 1925 and Tom Branson (Allen Leech) has moved to Boston, although he sends a letter back to Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) that makes him sound homesick. “We celebrated when we finished in the dining room where we had a team photo,” said actor Hugh Bonneville, who plays Robert Crawley. “Now we’re in the studio with two weeks left and we’re beginning to wind things down. In an interview with The Associated Press, the show’s star Michelle Dockery said she had never heard of the Rose Parade but joked there would be a lookalike of her riding the float. It will feel really strange that last day.” “It felt like in a split second it wasn’t our home anymore, and, of course, it was never our home, it was Highclere Castle,” she said. “But it felt like it. When they said ‘Cut!’ on that last day, we realized it was just pretend.” But in the current entertainment climate where reboots proliferate, there’s always the possibility for more.

It is just accelerating the idea that Downton Abbey can’t continue the way it has so the idea of scaling down and downsizing becomes more and more clear.” Bonneville surprised press by describing one pivotal scene in the last episodes that seems to be a major turning point for his character, Lord Grantham, who has been the most resistant to change along with Jim Carter’s Carson and Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess. “We visit a neighbor in the county who literally has to sell the estate’s silver. . . this once [great] estate is being fragmented,” Bonneville said. “Robert, the dinosaur that he has been this time. . does adapt. . does see that change is necessary. He wants to conserve the best of the past but absolutely understands that the future beckons.” Season-six footage reaffirmed the theme, showing Lord Grantham pressure Carson to downsize the staff. It’s getting especially real now that they’ve had to bid farewell to some of their other castmembers, as a small handful shot their final scenes last week.

It was really funny.” She and Carmichael (Edith Crawley), sat on a garden bench used by Mary and the now-departed Matthew, her husband who was played by Dan Stevens. Grantham, a fire lit under him apparently after seeing his neighbor sell off his cutlery, harrumphs, “Who has an underbutler these days?” While answering one of our questions, Neame revealed something that felt, to us at least, like a major clue to the show’s final scenes. “Sometimes people lose their jobs,” he told us, “and have to go out and find another job. It doesn’t come across as sad in the show but it will hopefully make it feel like an ending and we will get to the final episode and the camera will drift away and that is the last time we will ever see [those characters].” Neame emphasized that the final season won’t be as depressing as it sounds because the downsizing serves as a backdrop, and the footage shown to press does have its share of light moments. Lady Mary, her haircut shorter and her waistlines longer than ever before, makes more deliciously cutting comments about Lady Edith, who is galavanting around London.

The middle Crawley sister seems to have moved to the big city, assumed full control of Gregson’s company, and resigned herself to her relatively hapless fate. “Sometimes I feel like I’ve been given one little bit of happiness and that will do,” she tells Aunt Rosamund, who dutifully reminds Edith of her daughter Marigold. (By the way, when the series resumes in 1925, Dockery dished that “Mary is still in the dark about Marigold [being Edith’s daughter] because she just doesn’t take enough interest in people’s lives.”) When Mary, who has taken more control over the family estate, isn’t complaining about Edith’s big-city whereabouts and “wretched” new suitor, she receives letters from Branson, who is stationed in Boston but has teary dreams about Downton—suggesting that he and Sybbie might return. The Dowager Countess cuts down Isobel, per usual, in a business meeting while wearing an exquisitely bejeweled new hat. (Small victories.) Carson bristles when Hughes suggests he start calling her by her first name at Downton since they are engaged. (“But we’re at work,” he shudders.) And in perhaps the most jarring snippet of footage shown, at least from Carson’s perspective, Robert and Cora sneak into the kitchen, marvel at the new refrigerator, and fix themselves a snack.

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