Dame Maggie Smith has signed up to the forthcoming big screen adaption of Downton Abbey. The masterminds behind the popular series have been given the go-ahead to turn the period drama into a blockbuster, and producers have already secured their first cast member.
Speaking to the DailyMail.co.uk, Michael Fox – who portrayed Andy Parker in the series – confirmed that the 81-year-old actress will reprise her role as Violet Crawley. He added to the publication: “She elevates it to something else, because she is such a legend and a national treasure. The film without her would still be good with all the other actors, but it puts a stamp of quality with her in it.”
News that Maggie has agreed to appear in the movie version of the ITV series will no doubt come as a shock to fans as she admitted last year that she didn’t think she’d be able to as Violet was “too old.”
Asked whether she would appear in a movie version of the period drama, she said: “I can’t – what age would she be?”
Viewers were thrown into mourning last Christmas when Downton Abbey came to a dramatic end following five years on screen but creator Julian Fellowes has always shared his burning desire to turn the drama into a film one day.
However, the 67-year-old director hinted that he was waiting on vital cast members – believed to be Hugh Bonneville and Michelle Dockery – to free up their schedules for filming.
He said recently: “Let’s just say it’s not me slowing things down. The difficulty is rounding up the actors. One is in America making a new series, another is in a play … My lips are sealed! It’s very unlikely there won’t be a film because there is an audience out there for it. I do hope there is going to be a ‘Downton Abbey’ film. It’s going to be fun once everything is sorted but we just need to restructure it.”
It’s believed filming for the movie will kick off next year.