‘Downton Abbey’ movie finally starts production this summer: From Emmys to Oscars?

Downton Abbey” will be back but on the big rather than small screen. The long-awaited film version of this Emmy-winning drama series is set to start production this summer and should be finished in time to contend at the 2019 Oscars. It will be released by awards powerhouse Focus Features.

In making the announcement, that studio’s head honcho Peter Kujawski said, “Since the series ended in 2016, fans of ‘Downton’ have long been waiting for the Crawley family’s next chapter. 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.”

Fellowes, who created the series and wrote every one of the 52 episodes, has long said he will pen the picture but he’s been tight-lipped about potential spoilers. He won an Oscar in 2002 for his original script for “Gosford Park.” That film by Robert Altman was also set in an English country house, albeit in the 1930s, and featured Maggie Smith in an Oscar-nominated turn as a doughty dowager.

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Fellowes and Smith reunited on “Downton Abbey.” He claimed a pair of Emmys for writing and producing while she picked up three of TV’s top honors for her scene-stealing role as the domineering duchess. Dame Maggie already has two Oscars and could well win her third for reprising this role on the big screen. The rest of the cast is set to return for the film, which will be directed by Brian Percival, who won an Emmy for directing the very first episode of the series back in 2010.

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Neame, who produced this elaborate costume drama, will be overseeing the film as well. He welcomed today’s news. “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’s hands we aim to deliver everything that one would hope for as ‘Downton’ comes to the big screen.”

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