‘Downton Abbey’ returns with a silent film and a trip to France

LONDON, May 17 (Reuters) – Twelve years after it first aired, TV hit “Downton Abbey” is back with a second standalone film about the fictional Crawley family and their servants who ruled a sprawling English estate at the turn of the 20th century.

Set in 1928, ‘Downton Abbey: A New Era’, released in US theaters on Friday, sees a film crew arrive at Downton as well as family members travel to the French Riviera.

“We wouldn’t be coming back…if we didn’t really get along and enjoy each other’s company of characters and indeed playing the characters,” actor Hugh Bonneville, who plays patriarch Robert Crawley, told Reuters. .

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The film, directed by Simon Curtis, begins with Crawley’s mother, Lady Violet, played by veteran Maggie Smith, surprising her family when she learns that she has inherited a villa in the south of France from a man who she met decades earlier.

Led by Crawley, the family goes to visit the property. At the same time, a film crew moved into Downton Abbey, delighting the staff.

Having a movie set within a movie set was fun — and a bit confusing at times, said Michelle Dockery, who plays Lady Mary.

“I remember a few times when I was confused as to who was saying ‘cut,'” she said. “Simon was like ‘we were still riding, actually there. It was Hugh who said ‘cut’.”

Newcomer Hugh Dancy plays Jack Barber, director of the silent film “The Gambler.”

“It was a bit daunting because you don’t know what the culture of a show will be and…it’s obviously defined by the people involved,” Dancy said of joining “Downton Abbey.”

“And that was exciting because I was excited to be a part of it.”

“Downton Abbey” first aired in 2010, ran for six seasons and won numerous awards. It gained huge success in Britain and the United States.

“We had a really good run. I think we were very lucky. We launched a lot of young players’ careers,” writer Julian Fellowes said when asked if another movie might follow.

“It’s dangerous to say that, but I think most people who worked there had a good time and that seems like enough to me. But we’ll see. I don’t think you can really say that.”

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Report by Marie-Louise Gumuchian. Editing by Jane Merriman

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