The writer was doing a Twitter Q&A after the launch of the debut trailer for the film. It comes as Universal Pictures International begins overseas rollout on the Focus Features title from Carnival Films with the UK on September 13 and in North America on September 20.
“I was excited but also quite daunted. They are a different thing; a television series and a movie. You can take stories across different episodes and do all sorts of things. Whereas in a movie, every story has to be resolved and every character has to have a story. That was a quite a mathematical challenge to get it all fitted in and working for a film. But to go on with the stories and characters of Downton, that was pleasant to me – I like them all. I’ve grown used to them over the last ten years and I enjoy them,” he said.
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“It was very slightly strange to find ourselves back in Highclere and everyone back in their costumes. It was peculiar but very nice. They’ve all been doing different things, so it’s certainly nice to have everyone back sitting around the dining table again. It was nice coming home,” he added.
But Fellowes, who wrote the script and is producing with Gareth Neame and Liz Trubridge with Michael Engler directing, revealed that it “didn’t really cross our minds” to make a movie until the series ended. “When we finished, the idea of a film started to form. I was keen to bring the theme of a royal visit, where everyone upstairs and downstairs would be on their best behavior. This became the center of the film,” he said.
Fellowes refused to say who his favorite character was – “it’s like asking a mother who’s their favorite child, and I don’t think it’s right to say a preference” but admitted that Sybil’s death was the most emotional as she was the first to die.
In the upcoming film, the stakes are ratcheted up as the household prepares for the arrival of the King and Queen. Fellowes said it was important to balance the effect on both sides of the house. “I think you try to be fair to all the characters because all the characters are people to me. I want them all to be happy and the actors to be happy. That is my stated intention, they should enjoy what they are doing and want to come back,” he added.
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