With just a few weeks to go until Downton Abbey hits big screens across the UK, excitement levels are running high. But while many of us would jump at the chance to star in a film version of the Emmy-winning series, it seems one cast member was a little more cautious when it came to signing up for the project.
Joining series regulars Michelle Dockery, who plays Lady Mary Crawley, Laura Carmichael, who plays Lady Edith Crawley and Elizabeth McGovern, who plays Cora Crawley, is Dame Maggie Smith – known to fans as Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess of Grantham.
Dame Maggie Smith was hesitant to return
But according to executive producer Gareth Neame, the Oscar-winning actress was the last original cast member to sign on to the film. He said: "I suspect in a lot of ways, Maggie missed working with the other actors. When she was completely sure everyone was going to do it and it was happening, then she was on board."
Maggie, 84, had previously said she thought a film version of the show would be likely to begin with her character's funeral. "I was firmly convinced it would start with the funeral… I could croak it and it would just start with the body," the actress told a crowd during a Q&A event.
The film comes out on 13 September
Also returning to the abbey will be Allen Leech, who plays Tom Branson, Matthew Goode, who plays Henry Talbot, Joanne Froggatt and Brendan Coyle, who play Anna Bates and Mr Bates, Robert James-Collier who plays Mr. Barrow and Lesley Nicol who plays Mrs. Patmore.
They'll also be joined by Sophie McShera (Daisy Mason), Phyllis Logan (Mrs. Hughes), Raquel Cassidy (Miss Baxter) and Michael C. Fox (Andy). The much-anticipated movie is due to hit UK cinemas on 13 September and we can't wait to find out just how much has changed since the final episode of the show aired back in 2015.
Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.