Maggie Smith Delayed Signing Up To The 'Downton Abbey' Movie For The Best Reason

by Lollie King
ITV / Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey has left its home at ITV and is now headed for the silver screen. Try to contain your excitement. The cosy period drama is due to hit UK screens on September 13 with a US release date a week after September 20 so luckily we won't have to wait too long. The film will be a continuation of the series that ended in 2015 and all our favourite cast members will be in it. But the producer for the film has revealed that acting legend Maggie Smith signed up to the Downton Abbey film last.

Smith has really given new meaning to the phrase "last but not least" as executive producer Gareth Neame told Deadline that Smith was the last original cast member to sign onto the new film. Neame said "I suspect in a lot of ways, Maggie missed working with the other actors. When she was completely sure everyone was going to do it and it was happening, then she was on board." And aren't fans glad she signed onto the show because lets face it, it's hardly Downton Abbey without Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham. Radio Times reported that all our favourite characters will be reuniting for this film with Joanne Froggatt, Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery and the rest of the gang all ready to go.

Jim Carter, who played Mr. Carson, will also be back and last year BBC America reported that his real life wife Imelda Staunton would be joining the film's cast. Yep, that's right the Imelda Staunton is joining Downton Abbey, could the film get any better? In an interview with HELLO! and other outlets Staunton said "Downton was just luxury, like a nice box of chocolates. Jim and I only worked together for about two days. It was so nice, so exciting. But of course I have been living with Downton for six or seven years… I tried to get the dog in it, no they weren't having [it]." Now that really, would be a family affair. She continued: "we don't talk about roles, I never talk about it… It's not intense working with him."

She also told The Mirror a little more about the relationship between her and Smith's characters saying "with Maggie Smith of course there are going to be loads of one-liners. Maggie and I have great stuff. There’s no fisticuffs – but we don’t like each other. I’ve got things to do in that story. I have issues."

Hugh Bonneville also told Parade magazine that there had been some difficulties with getting everyone on board. He said: "the biggest testament to the film is that everyone turned up to play. We had some hurdles getting everyone in the same place at the same time, but there was a will to do it." Although it doesn't look like all the cast members will appear in the new film as actor Sue Johnston has revealed to Radio Times that her character Gladys Denker was cut from the script saying "Denker was the first in the script and then the script disappeared. Imagine how I felt!" Denker will definitely be missed but at least most of our favourite characters will be back.

Downton Abbey will hit UK cinemas on September 13.