Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Season 3 character updates - SPOILERS

Source: Season 3 Press Kit 

Joanne Froggatt talks season 3 - SPOILERS

(Source: Season 3 Press Kit)


Should Julian Fellowes ever decide to write a spin-off series from Downton Abbey, Joanne Froggatt already has one idea. “Anna Bates Investigates! Anna absolutely knows that Bates wouldn't have done something like kill his wife, and she sees it as her duty to make sure the truth comes out.”

At the beginning of the new series, Anna’s career is on the up, but her main concern is still dealing with the emotional anguish of having her husband in prison.

“We start off with her coming to terms with the fact that Mr Bates is incarcerated. She’s trying to just carry on with her own job, trying to be strong, but she’s also trying to find out more information and see if she can gather any evidence to prove his innocence.” Not for a minute, says Froggatt, has Anna questioned her husband’s blamelessness. That makes her all the more determined to prove it to the rest of the world.
“Obviously she believes in him 100% which is the nice bit about it. So she sees it as her duty to make sure that the truth comes out.” But standing up for her husband in the face of both hostility and indifference takes its toll. “You see her become a bit more of a woman, because things get tough. You see her really struggle with the fact that Mr Bates is not around. And you see her almost lose her positivity a bit - which we’ve never seen before. I think it’s nice to see her really strained, actually - because that's how you'd be. That kind of positivity is difficult to keep up in the face of everything. She has to battle.

”Anna’s time in London, at the prison and on the trail of the truth has at least meant that Froggatt, who in her real life is a fashion fanatic, finally gets to wear something other than the same old pinny. “It's nice to have a change, certainly. I do get to go out in my civvies, which is nice. Then again it’s still a lot of long skirts, a nice blouse, possibly a brown coat and often a hat – so not exactly pushing the boundaries! But at one point I do get to wear one of Lady Mary’s dresses for a special occasion.”

It’s the fashions that Froggatt would most like to teleport from the 1920s to modern life.

“Some of the clothes are really beautiful, I think. Not necessarily for below stairs characters, but I love the period for fashion, I think it's absolutely gorgeous. Fashion does seem to have a 20s comeback every few seasons, and I completely see why. It's a very feminine look, the fabrics and the shapes are very pretty and distinctive. It’s just a shame we girls below stairs don’t get to wear them more often!”

Froggatt has been to the US four times in the last year, so she’s had ample chance to sample the Downton Abbey effect as it has grown.

“I went over in February 2011 for some meetings and back then people in the industry had heard of it, although the first series was just being aired at that time. Even then there was a definite buzz about it. But about six months later I went out again and met people, and everybody seemed to have seen it. And then Michelle [Dockery] and I went out for the Emmys - and it was incredible. At all the pre-Emmy parties everybody was saying, ‘We love your show.’ I just wasn't expecting that. I was expecting people to go, ‘Oh, who are they, and what are they doing here?’ or just to feel like I was on the edge of things looking in. But we felt really accepted, and what’s more, accepted amongst our peers, which was really amazing.”
But of course Froggatt looked a little different at the awards ceremonies compared to her dowdy Downton Abbey look.

“People don't recognize me. When Michelle and I were out for the Emmys, people would come up and go, ‘Lady Mary!’ straight away. Then they'd look at me and go, ‘Oh, oh, you're… Anna?’ Mind you, if they’re saying that I look so different I suppose that’s a good thing.”

Filming Downton Abbey takes up a sizeable chunk of its stars’ year – series three took seven months. Even so, Froggatt has managed to squeeze in three film roles that could hardly be further from the 1920s or Anna Bates.

“One's called UWantMe2KillHim, a British feature film, one’s called Filth with James McAvoy and Jamie Bell, and then I'm doing another one at the moment with Eddie Marsan called Still Life. What I will tell you is that only one of them involves me doing any investigating!”

Michelle Dockery talks about season 3 - SPOILERS


(Source: Season 3 Press Kit)


“The big difference for Lady Mary in this series,” says Michelle Dockery, “is that she’s very happy!” After several series of scandal, strife and a long-running will-they-won’t they with Matthew Crawley, Mary is finally getting married. Dockery for one is a little relieved.

“As much as that angst between Matthew and Mary was enjoyable to play, I must say it’s lovely now to be finally settled in some ways. Of course, like all marriages it’s not completely perfect. Let’s just say they have their teething problems at the beginning.”

First though, there’s the wedding of the decade (with apologies to a certain royal couple). Episode one is all about the nuptials, which means Michelle Dockery gets to wear possibly the second most anticipated wedding dress of the last few years.

“It’s an absolutely stunning design,” she says. “Caroline McCall [Downton Abbey’s series 3 costume designer] did such an extraordinary job. She’s really talented. She worked with Susannah Buxton [series 1 & 2 Costume Designer] – the master! – for two years so inevitably she’s just as brilliant. It’s a truly stunning dress. I'm sure that people will maybe make some comparisons with the Royal wedding. The crowds as we arrived at the church and stepped out of the carriage were just amazing, with all these supporting artists cheering us on.”

Once wedding fever abates though, it’s time for Lady Mary to settle down and take stock.
“I guess she becomes a woman in the third series. The way it’s written it feels that even though Mary maintains that pragmatic side to her – which can be quite bossy at times - she’s really grown up. That’s highlighted in Edith and Mary’s relationship. I think it’s fair to say that things have softened between them. They look out for each other a little more. Of course, they still disagree on things, like sisters do. But Mary is a little more mature now.”

Dockery has been over to America several times since Downton Abbey became a hit there. She says that fans on the other side of the Atlantic are much more effusive than in her native Britain.
“We’re approached far more in America. I wonder whether that’s to do with Americans generally being more confident at approaching someone. But the reception that we get over there is so warm that it’s wonderful. And it’s rare that this kind of response happens. I feel incredibly lucky to be part of it.”
Does she think that the nature of the show – a portrait of the English aristocracy – is part of its distinctive international appeal?

“Maybe. For Americans it’s a different effect – this world is unfamiliar to them whereas for our country you see a lot more period dramas. They have this fascination with the aristocracy and the Royal family, a part
of history that they don’t have. So I guess the effect is even stronger than over here.”

She does say that people who approach her abroad are surprised that, “I’m not that posh at all. Me and
Dan [Stevens] get that all the time. None of the cast are really!” People’s reactions to Mary have changed here too, she says. Mary, in short, has become easier to like, or at least to empathise with.

“In the first few episodes people loved to hate her. She was very cold, she had this icy exterior and she was vile to her sister. Then, half way through the first series, after the incident with Pamuk [the Turkish diplomat who died in Lady Mary’s bed], she began to soften. Then in the second series you see the heart of the character much more because of course we were at war - every time she saw Matthew could have been the last. And I’ve loved that arc that Julian has written for her. Even in the third series it’s changing.”
The main change, she says, is in Lady Mary’s attitude to her family home.

“In the first series it was like she was fighting against it. She shied away – she just wanted to go off and meet someone rich. This series, the thought of leaving Downton or Downton falling in to trouble is unthinkable to her. Because this is her legacy with Matthew: now it’s in her hands. And she feels the weight of that legacy more than ever before.”

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Michelle Dockery in The Hollow Crown

Michelle Dockery stars as Lady Percy, Jane Seymour's great-great grandmother, in The Hollow Crown on BBC. It features four filmed adaptations of Shakespeare’s famous Plays, Richard II, Henry IV parts 1 & 2 and Henry V.

The films tell the rise and fall of three Kings and how their destiny shaped Britain's history. They are directed by Rupert Goold, Richard Eyre and Thea Sharrock. The three kings are played by Ben Whishaw, Jeremy Irons and Tom Hiddleston respectively.

Executive producer Pippa Harris says: “The Hollow Crown shows the trials and tribulations and the murderous backdrop behind our own history. It seemed particularly fitting to us to produce the films in 2012: whilst these four plays collectively say so much about Britain, the global appeal of Shakespeare is never-ending. Our phenomenal cast and crew have brought a vivid and inspirational edge to Shakespeare for a worldwide audience.”

Friday, June 29, 2012

Dan Stevens and Benedict Cumberbatch at Burberry Party

Good friends Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) and Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock Holmes) were at the Burberry cocktail party.

I love when fandoms collide. 

Joanne Froggatt at Arqiva British Academy Television

Joanne Froggatt poses in front of the winners boards at The 2012 Arqiva British Academy Television Awards at the Royal Festival Hall on May 27, 2012 in London, England.

Joanne's filming a new movie, Filth, in Scotland with James McAvoy.

Photos: Tim Whitby

Michelle Dockery at Burberry Men's Wear Show

Michelle Dockery took a break from filming the third series of “Downton Abbey” to attend Burberry men’s wear show in Milan. “We’re over halfway through the filming, and we’re moving into the Twenties now — it’s very feminine and the corsets are definitely softer. we feel much more free!” said the actress.
In mid-August, Dockery will begin filming “Restless,” alongside Charlotte Rampling and Hayley Atwell. The two-part BBC mini-series is based on the prize-winning espionage novel by William Boyd. Dockery is to play a young woman who discovers that her Russian mother worked for the British secret service.
Source: WWD

Photos: Jacopo Raule

First look at Shirley MacLaine in Downton Abbey - SPOILER

Elizabeth McGovern introduced the clip of third season Downton Abbey featuring Shirley MacLaine as her mother. There's been lots of anticipation from fans waiting to see Shirley and Maggie Smith on screen together. Will their characters get along? Here's a brief clip from TV Land of their first scene together.

Downton's Michelle Dockery & Elizabeth McGovern recording together

Downton Abbey's mother and daughter are teaming up to record an album for release later this year. This information was released in January. I don't know how I missed it. I love Michelle's voice and know that Elizabeth's band is quite a hit. I can't wait to hear them together.

Source: The Telegraph
Dockery, 30, is recording an album of songs with Elizabeth McGovern, 50, who plays her mother, the Countess of Grantham, in ITV’s popular period drama.
“It’s going to come out later in the year,” McGovern tells Mandrake at a private screening of the film My Week With Marilyn, hosted by Colin Firth at the Covent Garden Hotel. Dockery says: “It’s been so much fun. Elizabeth is a great songwriter.”
The Essex-born actress performed a memorable on-screen duet with Crawley, played by Dan Stevens, a columnist on The Sunday Telegraph’s Seven magazine. Away from the cameras, Dockery, who lives with her boyfriend, an architect, in fashionable Clerkenwell, prefers to sing jazz and has performed live with McGovern’s band, Sadie and the Hotheads. 

Michelle Dockery stars in BBC's Restless

Dockery to star in BBC's Restless
Downton Abbey star Michelle Dockery is to join Rufus Sewell and Michael Gambon in a BBC adaptation of best-selling novel Restless.
The two-part film - based on the book by William Boyd - will also star Hayley Atwell and Charlotte Rampling, playing the same character more than 30 years apart.
Acclaimed theatre director Edward Hall is to dramatise the tale about a female spy on the run who has led a double life for three decades.
Michelle plays a young woman, Ruth Gilmartin, who learns that her mother Sally (Charlotte) was recruited by the British Secret Service at the start of the Second World War, but has been in hiding since a mission went awry.
Hayley - who plays the younger Sally - has previously starred in a Channel 4 adaptation of Boyd's Any Human Heart.
Boyd said: "To have the chance to film a novel like Restless over three hours is the sort of opportunity that only a television adaptation can provide. It represents the most enticing and alluring of possibilities - not only to tell an enthralling story of wartime espionage, love and betrayal but also to lift the lid on one of the last secrets of the Second World War."
It begins filming in South Africa and the UK this summer and will be screened later this year.
Source: The Press Association

Joanne Froggatt in People

Five things to learn about Joanne:

1. She grew up on a farm.
Froggatt, 31, grew up on a small farm in north Yorkshire, near the English border with Scotland, where she helped with the chores and played on the desolate landscape with her older brother.

"My dad had a flock of sheep, which he used to milk, and then my mum used to make cheese and yogurt out of the sheep's milk and sell it. It was kind of an unusual upbringing really," she says. "It's very kind of Wuthering Heights where my parents house is, moors and deserted, really. It's very wild and mystic. When the wind is going and the rain is lashing down, there's something so romantic about the whole place."

2. She's getting married.
Fiancé James Cannon runs his own I.T. company, and is understanding of the demands of Froggatt's show-biz career. The couple are set to marry later this year, and Froggatt has been frantically balancing wedding planning with filming the show and her upcomings movies, Filth (with James McAvoy and Jim Broadbent) and the indie Still Life.

"But this is what you hope for, really – you've just got to take these times and enjoy them and grasp them by the horns and go with it because there will be quiet times again in the future," she says. "But I'm enjoying every minute of it at the moment."

3. The Downton Abbey cast get along famously
Don't confuse the class divide on the show with what happens once the cameras stop rolling. The cast members "get along like a house on fire," Froggatt says.

"There's definitely been a few nights on the town with a bit of dancing involved," she says.

4. She got an up-close look at the much-anticipated dramatic fireworks between newcomer Shirley MacLaine and Maggie Smith.
"This scene I was in, there's an amazing little conversation between the two of them, a sort of snipey conversation," Frogatt says. "It was like watching these two legends at work. It was one of the most special days I think I've ever had on set. It was magical."

5. Anna Bates will come into her own.
Season 3 doesn't air in the United States until January, but Froggatt offers a sneak peek.

"You do see her grow up that little bit more, and she's a married lady now, she's Mrs. Bates. She moves in to a more senior position in the house and she kind of becomes a woman," Froggatt says. "And obviously her and Mr. Bates are having their turmoils again, so she's fighting to free her man as well."

Source: People