Downton Abbey fans were left jumping for joy on Friday after producers confirmed the hugely successful TV series is finally being made into a film.
Filming with the “original principal cast” will begin later this summer, according to the film’s producers, with the show’s creator Julian Fellowes having already penned the screenplay – he will also co-produce the film as well. The Book Thief’s Brian Percival will direct.
However, there’s one main character who won’t actually be in the film, after playing a huge part in the original ITV series.
Lily James, who played Lady Rose MacClare, will not be starring in the film, the actress confirmed to People magazine.
When asked if she was in it, she said, “I’m sadly not, but I’m so excited for it – I’m going to be front row”.
Lily went on to explain, “My character Rose moved off to New York, so it would be farfetched to bring her back.
“I would have loved to have come back for a scene, but for a movie it can’t be like a Christmas special and it needs to be a focused storyline. There was no space for Rose.”
Producer Gareth Neame however revealed that many of the show’s original stars have signed up.
He said, “When the television series drew to a close it was our dream to bring the millions of global fans a movie.
“And now, after getting many stars aligned, we are shortly to go into production. Julian’s script charms, thrills and entertains, and in Brian Percival’s hands we aim to deliver everything that one would hope for as Downton comes to the big screen.”
Joanne Froggatt, who played maid Anna Bates, tweeted that she was “delighted” that the cast are reuniting.
Plot details remain tightly under wraps, but it is expected the action will pick up directly from the last season’s finale, which was set in 1926.
The series, which had an ensemble cast led by Hugh Bonneville and Dame Maggie Smith, followed the many ups and downs of the Crawley family and their servants.
They all lived together in an Edwardian English country home at the turn of the 20th Century.
The period TV drama, which was a hit around the world and is the most nominated non-US show in the history of the Emmy Awards, ended at Christmas 2015 after six series.
Fans have been waiting years for the news of a film, with creator Julian previously revealing that any delay was purely down to logistics.
“The biggest difficulty will be rounding up all the cast as, compared with most series, it has such a large cast,” he told The Guardian. “And it needs them to feel Downtonesque.
“I know the cast are behind it and there’s a big audience out there,” he added. “On most movies, unless it’s Spider-Man 6, you’re taking a [risk]. But it’s pretty likely the Downton movie will happen.”
A release date has not yet been confirmed but is expected to be next year.