The Grantham estate had its fair share of high-profile guests over the six years it aired on ITV and PBS, but stakes are ratcheted up a notch in Focus Features’ big-screen adaptation of period epic Downton Abbey. Focus chairman Peter Kujawski introduced the first trailer at CinemaCon today where we learned that the King and Queen are coming to Downton.
The trailer starts off with some familiar things Downton fans will immediately warm to: The kitchen bells, clock-winding, table setting and the long drive up to the house. The first glimpse we get of the family is when Hugh Bonneville’s Lord Grantham exclaims, “No maid, no nanny and no valet even!,” as Laura Carmichael’s Lady Edith arrives with husband Bertie.
There’s naturally much anxiety about the impending visit of the royals, both downstairs and up — Mrs Patmore (Lesley Nicol) needs to sit down — and Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) ends up calling on the retired Carson (Jim Carter) for help. There’s also a subplot about “leaving Downton” and lots of dancing.
In a wink to one of the most iconic aspects of the award-winning TV series, Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess says to Penelope Wilton’s Isobel, “Do you have enough clichés to get you through the visit?” Isobel retorts, “If not, I’ll come to you.”
When introducing the trailer, Kujawski promised new visitors “who have a way of reigniting old dramas, stirring new passions and sparking old loves.”
Creator Julian Fellowes wrote the script and is producing with Gareth Neame and Liz Trubridge. Michael Engler directs the Carnival Films movie. International rollout starts September 12 with North America joining the party of September 20.