Long-simmering rumors of a Downton Abbey movie appear to be close to consummation—uh, confirmation.
The Daily Mail reports that young Michael C. Fox, who plays valet Andy Parker on the show, appears to have suggested that the movie is definitely in the works because the incredible Dame Maggie Smith has signed on to continue her role as Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham. On Saturday, the actor was cornered on the red carpet for the BBC America BAFTA party in Hollywood, where he reportedly blabbed:
She [Maggie Smith] elevates it to something else, because she is such a legend and a national treasure... It becomes a different show and she puts a stamp on it of quality.
She is one of those actors you look at, and say, “How on earth does do they do it?” Everyone says Maggie gets the best lines - they are funny on the page, but she makes them exceptional - she is really special.
The film without her would still be good with all the other actors... but it puts a stamp of quality with her in it.
At the same event, show creator Julian Fellowes seemed to confirm Fox’s assertions, stating, “I think it will be fun to get everyone together, and move it to a larger scale because you have got more money to spend.” Cameras are supposed to start rolling in 2017, which may be a concern to Smith.
About a year ago, she appeared skeptical as to how she could make an appearance in any film, because the darn timeline just don’t fit. On an episode of The Graham Norton Show, Smith said, “By the time we finished, she must have been about 110. It couldn’t go on and on, it just didn’t make sense... I can’t - what age would she be?”
Smith has looked the same age to me for about thirty years, so if she wants to be an immortal Dowager Countess for one more go, by all means squeeze her in there, Mr. Fellowes.