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Maggie Smith Is the Reason the Show Exists, Julian Fellowes Says

The solid of Downton Abbey has all turn out to be well-known due to the hit present. Creator Julian Fellowes credit Downton Abbey to Maggie Smith. Smith was already a reputation when he solid her as Violet Grantham, the matriarch of the Crawley clan residing in Downton Abbey. Fellowes mentioned Smith was the “get” that attracted the remainder of the solid. 

L-R: Penelope Wilton and Maggie Smith | Ben Blackall / Focus Options LLC

Fellowes is internet hosting a sequence of hearth chats in anticipation of the launch of Downton Abbey: A New Period. We’ll have extra with the solid and director of the movie earlier than its Could 20 launch, however right here’s what Fellowes mentioned about Smith becoming a member of the present. 

‘Downton Abbey’ solid Maggie Smith earlier than most different roles 

By now, Downton Abbey is one in every of Smith’s signature roles. Previous to the present, Smith had appeared in the Harry Potter motion pictures, Fellowes’ Gosford Park, the Sister Act motion pictures, and plenty of extra since the ‘60s. She’d solely sometimes performed tv miniseries and one-offs. 

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“I think we knew we were going to sink or swim on the basis of the cast we could attract,” Fellowes mentioned in the video. “I think we knew that there were certain parts that would be our starting point. Violet Grantham was pretty early because if we could attract Maggie into doing her first open-ended series… She’d done terribly smart television with [Capturing Mary director Stephen] Poliakoff and that kind of thing but she’d never done a popular series that just went on and on and on and on.”

The ‘Downton Abbey’ solid needed to work with Maggie Smith 

Fellowes mentioned that casting Smith grew to become a magnet for expertise. Downton Abbey would additionally star Hugh Bonneville, who sat with Fellowes by the fireplace, in addition to Michelle Dockery, Joanne Froggatt, Laura Carmichael, and plenty of extra. 

“Of course, she was marvelous and came on board,” Fellowes mentioned to Bonneville. “By the time you’d come on board, you started to get the feeling this was a show people wanted to be in.”

Julian Fellowes says there have been no unhealthy guys on the present 

Bonneville requested Fellowes why he thought Downton Abbey caught on. Modestly, Fellowes mentioned he didn’t know, however speculated it was the good-natured characters. There have been few villains, and even they have been sympathetic to a level. 

I don’t actually know the reply. I believe it’s most of the characters are respectable folks making an attempt to do their finest. The sensation of the present is a constructive one. There are only a few that you just dislike and even the ones you dislike, what I’ve hoped to do is to clarify their predicament so it’s not so easy to dislike them once you pay money for all the info. That was fairly deliberate. I believe the inter-relationship of them is enticing, that they’re all interdependent. This lifestyle was an interdependent lifestyle. You couldn’t simply go off and dwell it in a room. That’s not the way it was. I believe that’s fairly enticing. We touched on some form of diurnal truths of being alive and getting by way of being alive that had relevance throughout the world the place that lifestyle was not significantly identified in any respect. 

Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey: A New Period Fireplace Chat Ep. 1, 4/26/22

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