‘Downton Abbey: A New Era’ is the feel-good movie we need

‘Downton Abbey: A New Era’ is the feel-good movie we need

Published May 19, 2022
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SEATTLE — For a dozen years, audiences have embraced the Crawley Family, their servants, and the home that defines them: Downton Abbey.

The latest film — “A New Era” — reunites everyone as they prepare to enter a new decade: the 1930’s.

Per tradition, the movie features several storylines. In one, half of the Crawley family travel to France where a mysterious man has bequeathed a home to family matriarch Violet, the Dowager Countess of Grantham.

Meantime, the rest of the family and staff stay behind to oversee a silent film being shot inside Downton Abbey.

Entertainment reporter Kim Holcomb talked to returning cast members High Bonneville (Robert Crawley,) Elizabeth McGovern (Cora Crawley,) Joanne Froggatt (Anna Bates,) and Phyllis Logan (Mrs. Hughes.)HOLCOMB: “Congratulations on your lasting (on-screen) marriage! I would love for each of you to tell me the best part of having the other as an on-screen partner for all of these years.”

BONNEVILLE: “I think because we’ve become such close friends over the years, we do have a rapport, we have an ease, and we have complete trust in each other.”

MCGOVERN: “Hugh holds me in his embrace.”

BONNEVILLE: “Careful, dear.”

MCGOVERN: (laughing) “Metaphorically, my god. We’re really different people, we have different ways of looking at things and I’m always really fascinated by Hugh, I still don’t get him, quite, after all these years. He’s sort of like a mystery to me, and I think I might be to him, I’m not sure. But I think that makes it work.”

BONNEVILLE: “Yes, I just remain completely baffled by Elizabeth and that’s why our marriage has been so successful.”

HOLCOMB: “I’ve sort of wanted to hug you for more than a decade now and I’m curious, does this make me a big weirdo or do you get this a lot?”

FROGGATT: “We do get it sometimes, and it’s lovely that people feel like that about the characters.”

LOGAN: “I know, to be so enthusiastic and to have your character loved.”

FROGGATT: “You’re like a much more fun Mrs. Hughes, who’ll have a glass of wine and dance on the tables with me. Which we have done before.”

HOLCOMB: “My condolences that you had to also shoot in the French Riviera this time, it must have been very difficult for you.”

MCGOVERN: “Poor us. With the costumes, with the balmy air, the smell of the food, and the lovely people, there really isn’t too much acting to do. I did have to get up early and get myself together (laughter) so that was the only bit of work I did.”

HOLCOMB: “I also loved the super-meta aspect of a period film being shot within a period film.”

FROGGATT: “That was gorgeous because they had all these old movie trucks and costumes and lighting equipment and the truck with the tea truck — aw, it was so beautiful. It was all original, it was great.”

HOLCOMB: “Have you ever, over the years taken home a little souvenir (from set)?”

BONNEVILLE: “I did liberate a pair of cricket trousers in Season 3. At that time, I was playing a little bit of cricket so I did liberate those. But about a week later the costume designer called me and said, ‘Do you know what happened to those cricket trousers because there’s an exhibition going on at Lord’s Cricket Ground and they need them.’ I said, ‘Oh, they happen to be in my cupboard, how about that.'”

MCGOVERN: (laughing) “No, memories. (Just) memories.”

“Downton Abbey: A New Era” is full of joy and happy endings, and will leave audiences feeling cheerful. Creator Julian Fellowes said he doesn’t know if another film will be made, but if not, this one makes a nice ending for the series.

It’s rated PG and opens in theaters May 20.

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