hugh bonneville downton abbey

Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville confirms two amazing castings - and reveals filming has begun!

What will Mrs Hughes say?

Sharnaz Shahid

Downton Abbey fans can rejoice as filming for the movie is well and truly underway! Speaking at the Heroes at Highclere event at Highclere Castle over the weekend, Hugh Bonneville - who plays Lord Grantham in the beloved period drama - opened up about the highly-anticipated production and confirmed two amazing guest cameos - Imelda Staunton and David Haig. Imelda, who is better known for playing Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter franchise, happens to be the real-life wife of Jim Carter, aka Mr Carson. "We start filming again on Monday," revealed Hugh. "We did the read through last week, and I actually have to say it was really nice, settling back into a family."

Hugh Bonneville revealed filming for the Downton Abbey movie started on Monday

He added: "It was great to see everyone again, even our new guest artists Imelda Staunton and David Haig. I can't remember them all but it is a wonderful bunch of people who are doing it for what will be, I hope, an upbeat celebration and reunion." Discussing the excitement over the movie, the 54-year-old actor explained: "I'm looking forward to being back with that wonderful cast of people and the team. I'm so thrilled that a lot of the production team and a lot of the crew, our makeup artist who was working on the first two series is coming back to join us. It's really nice to be back with the family."

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News of the film was announced in July, with the likes of Dame Maggie Smith and Michelle Dockery confirmed to re-join the cast. When asked how he first got involved with Downton, Hugh revealed: "I was doing a film with Julian Fellowes [series creator] a year before called From Time to Time, which starred most of the cast from Downton. Dame Maggie was in it and Allen Leech who ended up playing Branson…"

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The original cast will reunite for the Downton Abbey movie

Elaborating further, he continued: "I asked Julian what he was up to next, and he said that he had various projects – and one of them was Downton. He described the outline and I found it very interesting. So I asked to look at it, and nine months later, he sent me the first script and I couldn't put it down. All these characters leapt off the page. I asked, 'Out of interest, who are you approaching for the mum?' And he said, 'Dame Maggie'. Then I said, 'That's not going to happen and good luck.'"

"It was amazing to see the casting actually happen," the star concluded. "To see all these faces match the characters in my head. It was starting to take a third dimension as they were cast - it was so beautifully cast. The rest as they say was history." Series creator Julian has written the screenplay for the Crawley family's big return, while Brian Percival - who took helm of the pilot - is set to direct. The release date for the Downton Abbey movie is yet to be announced.

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