This is so exciting! On Friday, July 13, the Downton Abbey official Twitter account announced that a movie version of the hit PBS show is finally in the works. "Welcome back to Downton! We’re thrilled to announce that [Downton Abbey] is coming to the big screen. Film production begins this summer," the message read.
Actress Joanne Froggatt also took to Twitter to share the happy news. "Delighted to announce we’re getting the band back together!" the 37-year-old — who played lady's maid Anna Bates on the original series — captioned a photo of herself with co-stars Michelle Dockery and Maggie Smith.
Last fall, Downton Abbey Executive Producer Gareth Neame hinted a movie version of the period drama was already in the works during an exclusive interview with Closer Weekly. "We have a script!" he said at Downton Abbey: The Exhibition's grand opening gala in NYC on Friday, Nov. 17.
At the special event, Downton star Michelle Dockery — she played Lady Mary Crawley in all six seasons of the British series — also gushed about the beloved show's NYC exhibit. "It is incredibly nostalgic. Every detail [is here], from the hairbrushes to the photo of Matthew [Crawley] on the dressing table!" she raved to Closer. The exhibit, which included elaborate sets, over 50 costumes, and interactive videos, remained open in the Big Apple until Jan. 31 of this year.
Joanne, Michelle, and Gareth on Nov. 17. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
NBC Universal International Studios president Michael Edelstein also previously told the Associated Press that the Downton Abbey creators were working hard on bringing a movie to the big screen. "There’s a movie in the works. It’s been in the works for some time. We are working on getting the script right and then we’ve got to figure out how to get the [cast] together," he said. "Because as you know, people go on and do other things. But we’re hopeful to make a movie sometime next year."
After six highly successful seasons, Downton Abbey wrapped on Christmas Day in 2015 with a feature-length special episode, though creator Julian Fellowes has since repeatedly expressed his desire to revisit the characters. Discussing the possibility of a big-screen outing for the Crawleys last year, Fellowes revealed to The Guardian, "I’ve done some work on the script, because I don’t want to find there’s a green light and no script read... Then the biggest difficulty will be rounding up the cast as, compared with most series, it has such a large cast. And it needs them to feel Downtonesque."
In a 2014 interview, actress Raquel Cassidy — who played lady's maid Phyllis Baxter — similarly confessed, "There have been talks and there is definitely a possibility of a Downton film. There is real hope. It’s been mentioned more than once and there’s a lot of commercial and artistic interest. Stranger things have happened, so watch this space."
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