It’s no secret that the Downton Abbey movie faced a series of obstacles in its journey to the big screen.
Early on in the production, issues with casting and, more specifically, conflicting schedules threatened to derail the project before it even began, leaving creator-director Julian Fellowes less-than-optimistic about Downton Abbey‘s cinematic aspirations. And yet, Fellowes persevered, though it wasn’t until he landed on that guiding idea – which, in this case, involves a visit from the British royal family – before the project began to fall into place.
The man himself reflected on this creative journey during a recent interview with Page Six, and pinpointed the exact inspiration for his Downton Abbey movie extravaganza.
A long time I didn’t think the film would happen. It didn’t seem inevitable, I kept casting about for an idea. Then, a year and a half after the series, I read about the olden days, King George’s visit. It gave me the idea.
Ever since Meghan Markle become part of the Royals, Britain’s most famous family now boasts international appeal – even more so than they did before – so Fellowes’ brainwave about the Royals paying a visit to Downton Abbey proved to be a winner.
The filmmaker continued:
You write notes, then redraft, then comes the casting process. The actors are all very successful now. Working everywhere. One’s on Broadway, one’s in a series, one’s making films, another’s on a London stage. I had to dance around to see who’s available.
It’s certainly proven to be a hit among critics, given Downton Abbey holds a favorable 81 percent on Rotten Tomatoes at the time of writing. Longtime fans have also been impressed by the top-tier performances from the likes of Maggie Smith and her regal co-stars, so we really have Julian Fellowes and his crew to thank for persevering with the movie adaptation when all hope seemed lost.