It’s been four long years since Downton Abbey has gone off the air, and fans from all over have eagerly anticipated the release of the upcoming film of the same name. While the cast and creative team certainly took their time in hammering out scripts, schedules, and other logistics, it looks like everything is starting to fall into place. Despite a change in directors, filming concluded late last year and earlier today, we finally got our first real look at the movie, thanks to a full-length trailer.
While things are on track for an autumn release, it turns out that development wasn’t as easy as one might have expected. Sure, the series was immensely successful during its run on British network ITV, but creator Julian Fellowes recently revealed the trials and tribulations of bringing the much-beloved show to the big screen. In a recent Q&A session on Twitter (per Deadline), the Academy Award-winning writer shed some light on the production process, explaining that the reduced runtime of a single film presented some challenges when it came to hammering out a script.
“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.
Fellowes’ concerns do make sense. Anyone who’s watched the original TV series will know that certain plotlines and threads were strung out over multiple seasons, with some lasting the entire show (here’s looking at you, Mr. and Mrs. Carson). This style of writing seemed to click with audiences, but, of course, things have to be cut down and trimmed when it comes to adapting for the big screen.
Still, despite the daunting writing process, it seems Julian did enjoy reuniting the cast and returning to the now-iconic Highclere Castle, where much of the show was filmed.
“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.
Thankfully, we won’t have to wait too long to see how things have turn out for the Crawley family, as Downton Abbey is set to hit theaters on September 20th.