Elizabeth McGovern’s Downton family reunion
Elizabeth McGovern says the ‘Downton Abbey’ movie felt like a “family reunion”.
The 57-year-old actress has reprised her role as Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham, for the big screen adaptation of the hit TV show and Elizabeth said there was a party atmosphere on set as the cast got a chance to reunite.
She told The Mail On Sunday’s Event magazine: ”‘Downton’ changed all our lives. It’s not so much a television show as this juggernaut which took all of us by surprise. I didn’t expect to see my career take on this new direction at my age. When the series [first shown in 2010] ended in 2015, everyone was very emotional because it was the end of something so special, but everyone was also incredibly busy with other opportunities that came their way thanks to ‘Downton’. Coming back felt like a family reunion. Everyone was in a holiday mood because it seemed such an achievement to be turning this show into a movie. We were all walking round with big smiles on our faces.
″‘Downton’ has a reputation for being a good place to work. It’s probably the friendliest set I have ever worked on because we are all camped out there for the duration and we all have a huge amount of respect for each other.”
While Elizabeth was excited to reunite with her co-stars, she also loved the addition of new actors, including Imelda Staunton, who plays the formidable Lady Bagshaw and Simon Jones and Geraldine James in the roles of King George V and Queen Mary.
She said: “Imelda has been on set [with her husband Jim Carter who plays butler Carson] so often she felt like a member of the cast already, and Simon and Geraldine are both excellent actors. Everyone finds it exciting, and obviously we have Dame Maggie [Smith], possibly the most intelligent, inspirational, hilarious woman you could meet, so it just felt very special.
“It was lovely to be back with my screen daughters Michelle [Dockery, who plays Lady Mary] and Edith [Laura Carmichael] and of course my screen husband Hugh [Bonneville], who we all adore. We all slot into our old patterns. There’s a lot of music played because a few of us play guitar, but this year I played a lot less and Michael Fox [who plays footman Andrew Parker] did a lot of songs with Michelle.”