A week or two back, NBC Universal International Studios president Michael Edelstein let slip that the plan for the movie of Downton Abbey was to get it filming next year, with an eye on a release in 2018 or 2019. However, the problem remains fitting the demands of a film around the schedules of the show’s stars.
Julian Fellowes, who created Downton Abbey and wrote every episode of the series, is also penning the movie script. And he’s thrown some doubt on the original cast coming back together.
“I hope there will be a film”, he told The Mirror. “It will be sad if we don’t do one. Most films are a punt and we have a solid audience waiting for it. The difficulty is rounding up the actors who have now gone off to the four corners of the earth, in Hollywood, on Broadway, doing plays, doing series and so on”.
Fellowes, therefore, is working on a Plan B. He’s working, he revealed, on a screenplay that would act as a Downton Abbey prequel of sorts.
“I think it would be possible to do a prequel that was re-cast and do a love story”, he said, “so you went right back and had the young cast arriving in the show as footmen and Mrs Patmore being a kitchen maid”.
Our guess remains that somehow or other, the schedules of the main Downton Abbey players will be sorted, and the prequel idea will be put on the back burner. But stranger things have happened…