After years of speculation, the “Downton Abbey” movie is officially a go. Focus Features chairman Peter Kujawski announced today that Focus has set production with Carnival Films on the film based on the popular PBS series. The original principal cast, including Dame Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Laura Carmichael, Elizabeth McGovern, Jim Carter, Joanne Froggatt and others from the acclaimed television series have assembled to return for the feature which will begin production later this summer. Also returning from the series is its creator Academy-Award winner Julian Fellowes who wrote the film’s screenplay and will produce alongside Gareth Neame and Liz Trubridge. Brian Percival (“The Book Thief,” “About a Girl”), who directed the series’ pilot, will direct the film. Nigel Marchant will also return to executive produce.
The TV series “Downton Abbey” 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. Over its six seasons, the series garnered three Golden Globe Awards, 15 Primetime Emmy Awards, a Special BAFTA award and 69 Emmy nominations in total, making “Downton Abbey” the most nominated non-US television show in the history of the Emmys. It even earned a Guinness World Record for the highest critically rated TV show during its run.
Neame, Carnival’s Executive Chairman and the film’s producer 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.”
“Since the series ended, fans of Downton have long been waiting for the Crawley family’s next chapter,” commented 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 “Downton Abbey” movie is a Carnival Films production, with Focus Features and Universal Pictures International distributing. No word yet on the film’s title or release date.