After much speculation, the long-awaited Downtown Abbey movie is officially happening, the film's producers say. Even better, the original main cast from the hit series are set to star.
The BBC reports that the film's producers said the "original principal cast" will begin production later this summer.
"Welcome back to Downton! We’re thrilled to announce that [Downton Abbey] is coming to the big screen. Film production begins this summer," a message read from the show's official Twitter account. It was paired with a photo 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."
Original cast members like Michelle Dockery, Maggie Smith, and Hugh Bonneville are expected to return for the film.
The show's creator, Julian Fellowes, wrote the screenplay and will also co-produce the movie. Brian Percival, who directed the Downton Abbey pilot as well as The Book Thief and About a Girl, will direct. It will be a Carnival Films production, with Focus Features and Universal Pictures International distributing, according to Variety.
"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," said Carnival executive chairman Gareth Neame. "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."
Over the course of its six-season run, Downton Abbey became a global hit. Airing on ITV in the U.K. and distributed by NBCUniversal in the U.S., it followed the lives of the Crawley family and their servants at the turn of the 20th century in an Edwardian English country home.
The series earned numerous awards including three Golden Globe Awards, 15 Primetime Emmy Awards and a Special BAFTA award. It was the most nominated non-U.S. television show in the history of the Emmys with 69 nominations.0comments
Plot details of the movie are tightly under wraps, which may only be strengthening the buzz surrounding the news.
“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.”