‘Downton Abbey’ movie gets go-ahead, with series cast returning

The long-awaited “Downton Abbey” movie is happening. The original main cast from the hit series are returning, and production starts this summer.

Many of the stars of the series had spoken of their eagerness to return for a big-screen “Downton,” and the producers said Friday the original principal cast are on board the movie. As such, the likes of Michelle Dockery, Maggie Smith, and Hugh Bonneville will feature.

The film will be a Carnival Films production, with Focus Features and Universal Pictures International distributing. Julian Fellowes, who created the period drama, has written the screenplay and will produce the feature. Brian Percival (“The Book Thief”), who directed the original series’ pilot, will direct the film.

Gareth Neame, Carnival’s executive chairman, will also produce. He said: “When the television series drew to a close it was our dream to bring the millions of global fans a movie and now, after getting many stars aligned, we are shortly to go into production. Julian’s script charms, thrills and entertains and in Brian Percival’s hands we aim to deliver everything that one would hope for as ‘Downton’ comes to the big screen”.

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On & Off Set Style: The Cast of Downton Abbey
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On & Off Set Style: The Cast of Downton Abbey

Lady Mary turns in her glam style for causal outerwear while she joins the men for a Hunt.

Photo Credit: Carnival Film & Television Limited 2011 for MASTERPIECE

Footmen Alfred and Jimmy are dapper in their uniforms.

Photo Credit: Carnival Film & Television Limited 2012 for MASTERPIECE

Lady Cora sits by Lady Sybil's bedside, as Lady Edith looks on.

Photo Credit: Carnival Film & Television Limited 2012 for MASTERPIECE

Mary and Edith still look stylish in their night robes as they await the birth of their niece.

Photo Credit: Carnival Film & Television Limited 2012 for MASTERPIECE

Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley are madly in love, standing in the foyer of Downton Abbey.

Photo Credit: Carnival Film & Television Limited 2011 for MASTERPIECE

Michelle Dockery doesn’t stray too far from the Downton Abbey estate with the gold brocade detailing on this evening dress.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Elizabeth McGovern sasses it up a bit with a flared short dress.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Amy Nutall wears a simple, elegant gown with a sweetheart neckline.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Dan Stevens prefers a fitted suit, and tops off the look with a pale blue tie.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Allen Leech looks just as dapper in a more modern suit, but gets edgy with the print mixing.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Rob James-Collier wears a pair of green pants that certainly would not have flown at the Downton Abbey estate.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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Downton Abbey” became a global hit over its six-season run. It aired on ITV in the U.K. and was a Masterpiece show in the U.S. With NBCUniversal handling distribution, it sold the world over. The show followed the lives of the Crawley family and the servants who worked for them at the turn of the 20th century in an Edwardian English country home. Plot details of the movie are tightly under wraps.

“Since the series ended, fans of ‘Downton’ have long been waiting for the Crawley family’s next chapter,” said Focus chairman Peter Kujawski. “We’re thrilled to join this incredible group of filmmakers, actors and craftspeople, led by Julian Fellowes and Gareth Neame, in bringing back the world of ‘Downton’ to the big screen.”

The series garnered numerous awards including a trio of Golden Globe Awards, 15 Primetime Emmy Awards, a Special BAFTA award. With 69 nominations, it was the most nominated non-U.S. television show in the history of the Emmys.

The official “Downton Abbey” Twitter account celebrated the news with a picture of a butler holding a silver platter upon which there was a card reading: “We cordially invite you to return to Downton Abbey — Only in Cinemas.”

Joanne Froggatt, one of the stars of the series, said the band was getting back together.

Michelle Dockery also reacted.

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