Downton Abbey has added Sue Johnston to the cast for season five. The actress, known largely in the UK for Waking The Dead, The Royle Family and soap Coronation Street, will have the formidable task of playing Denker, Lady’s Maid to Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess. Johnston joins other previously annonced guest actors, Richard E. Grant, Anna Chancellor and Rade Sherbedgia. The Carnival Films produced ITV saga returns in the fall to the UK.
Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn is the latest novelist to join the Hogarth Shakespeare project which provides new takes on the works of the Bard. Flynn, who also scripted David Fincher’s upcoming adaptation of Gone Girl for the screen, will tackle Hamlet. The Hogarth Shakespeare program is an international publishing initiative from the Penguin Random House imprint. Per the BBC, Flynn said, “Hamlet has long been a fascination of mine: murder, betrayal, revenge, deceit, madness ‒ all my favorite things.” Flynn joins a coterie of authors who are contributing to the project including Jo Nesbo, Tracy Chevalier, Margaret Atwood, Howard Jacobson, Anne Tyle and Jeanette Winterson. The novels will be released simultaneously in 2016 to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.