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.”