‘Downton Abbey’ Movie Gets Go-Ahead, With Series Cast Returning

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Focus Features announced Friday it has set an official production timeline for a cinematic continuation of the beloved British television series, one that will release in theaters with key members of the show's principal cast returning for the project.

It's still unclear exactly in what year the film will take place, but the TV series began depicting events immediately after the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 in its first season and finished in 1925 as the middle class began to rise in England and cracks began to form in the aristocracy.

Across six seasons of its original run, Downton Abbey - set in the wealthy Crawley family's country estate as it followed their intricate lives as well as those of the servants they employed at the turn of the 20th century - garnered a steady worldwide following and sustained critical acclaim. Julian Fellowes, who created the period drama, has written the screenplay and will produce the feature.

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.

Brian Percival ("The Book Thief"), who directed the original series' pilot, will direct the film.

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Gareth Neame, Carnival's executive chairman, will also produce.

Gareth Neame, the film's producer, said, "Now, after getting many stars aligned, we are shortly to go into production".

"Since the series ended, fans of Downton have always been waiting for the Crawley family's next chapter", said Focus Features chairman Peter Kujawski.

Numerous cast of the series had spoken of their willingness to return for a big-screen "Downton" and the producers said Friday the original principal cast from the drama are on board the movie.

It received a special Bafta tribute in 2015 and won three Golden Globes, 15 Primetime Emmy Awards and 69 Emmy nominations. The show was showered with awards, from Emmys to BAFTAs to Golden Globes - some more deserved than others - but it was always a joy to watch, even when it was occasionally ridiculous (the less said about Patrick the mystery man in bandages or Matthew's unbelievable "I've been paralyzed but I can definitely suddenly stand and catch a falling woman" miracle the better).

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