We said goodbye to the Crawleys and their servants, and sent them off into the sunset. What becomes of a cast that, after six years of their aristocratic presence, has finally drawn the curtain on Britain’s massive historical drama?
Hugh Bonneville played the Earl of Grantham and his imposing gentlemanly presence will now be taking centre stage in a new film, Viceroy’s House. Bonneville is the Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India. His familiar face is furthermore to be found in Silent Hours, a psychological sexual thriller that premiered at the Raindance Film Festival.
After appearing in three films in 2015 including Woman in Gold, Bonneville’s onscreen wife Elizabeth McGovern is leaving her role of Cora for the one of Shirley in Showing Roots, a drama that takes place in the late seventies and which deals with a town’s reaction to the miniseries Roots, which dealt with slavery.
The Crawley sisters too are leaving their 1920s garb behind. Laura Carmichael is one of two female friends who take a road trip in Burn Burn Burn. She also plays the sister to main character Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike) in the drama A United Kingdom. She is moreover set to appear in upcoming ITV drama Marcella.
Meanwhile onscreen sibling Michelle Dockery impresses in a trailer from her latest venture, in which she plays the thrilling but shady Letty Dobesh. Letty is straight out of prison and the main protagonist of a series called Good Behavior, which is set in America. What would the Dowager Countess say to this?!
Lady Mary’s first husband Matthew is long dead, but Dan Stevens remains a favourite with Downton Abbey fans. Always the Prince Charming, Stevens is in for a similar role in Beauty and the Beast, in which he will play the Beast in early 2017.
Allen Leech’s character is another treasured son-in-law of the Crawleys. Allen’s Irish accent is now the voice of a character in the English version of video game The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. He’s also set to appear in Hunter’s Prayer, an action thriller based on the novel For the Dogs.
We of course cannot leave out Dame Maggie Smith, who plays the Dowager Countess Violet. Asked about upcoming projects, Smith talks about taking a rest, but she graces us with her presence in The Lady in the Van, a semi-biographical account taken from a play written by Alan Bennett which he in turn based on his memoir.
Meanwhile cousin Violet’s closest friend Isobel is played by Penelope Wilton, who is now moving to the eighties in her new role as Pauline in the upcoming series Brief Encounters. She’s also set to play the queen in a Steven Spielberg film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s novel The BFG.
Moving to the servants’ quarters, we’ll be shocked to find that Joanne Froggatt is leaving sweet and sensitive Anna Bates behind to embody the role of the evil Mary Ann Cotton – a real-life serial killer – in the two-part ITV drama called Dark Angel. Froggatt will also appear as Val in the film A Street Cat Named Bob, which is based on a book that is in turn based on true happenings.
Joanne’s onscreen husband Brendan Coyle too, finds himself juggling two roles in the same year, as he’s completed shooting on feature films Me Before You and Unless. He’s also been announced as one of the actors taking part in The Rising: 1916, which is still in pre-production.
Assistant cook Daisy’s always had her romantic dreams, so it is only fitting that Sophie McShera should now take part in ABC’s historical Galavant. Incidentally, Hugh Bonneville also has a part in this musical series, appearing as the Pirate King in two episodes.
Creator Julian Fellowes is serious about making a follow-up film to the series that has warmed the hearts of many. However in the mean time, life goes on even for the actors, who will be embodying these new personas to bring us yet more varied viewing on screen.