Downton Abbey star Jim Carter and his award-winning wife Imelda Staunton will both appear in the Downtown Abbey film — but class will keep them apart.
Carter will be seen in the film as retired Crawley family butler Carson, now wed to housekeeper Mrs. Hughes (played by Phyllis Logan): characters from ‘below stairs’.
Ms Staunton, however, will be ‘upstairs’ — playing the Earl of Grantham’s cousin.
Downton Abbey star Jim Carter and his award-winning wife Imelda Staunton (pictured together in May) will both appear in the Downtown Abbey film — but class will keep them apart
Details of the plot, written by Downton creator Julian Fellowes, are being closely guarded, though I did hear a whisper of a possible visit to the abbey by King George V and Queen Mary, for tea.
That was from an early script, however. Whether the royal visit will find its way into the full-length feature film, which director Brian Percival will commence shooting on September 10, is anybody’s guess.
The production has been evicted from its regular studio home at Ealing because another show is being filmed there. Instead, the Downton cast and crew will take over sound-stages at Shepperton Studios.
Downton regulars Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery, Laura Carmichael, Penelope Wilton and Joanne Froggatt will be returning. Geraldine James will also be in the film.
Sam’s Pretty Woman ‘dream’ role is heading for West End
Samantha Barks said starring in the Broadway musical version of Pretty Woman, and creating the role on stage that Julia Roberts played in the iconic romantic film, is like ‘living the dream’.
The show has come a long way since I saw it during its ‘outta town’ run in Chicago back in June.
Andy Karl, who won awards for Groundhog Day at the Old Vic, is now playing the handsome businessman who is rescued by Vivian, the sex worker played by Ms Barks.
Andy Karl, who won awards for Groundhog Day at the Old Vic, is now playing the handsome businessman who is rescued by Vivian, the sex worker played by Samantha Barks (pictured together)
Producer Paula Wagner told me that director Jerry Mitchell and writer J.F. Lawton (who worked on the book with the late Garry Marshall, who directed the film) re-shaped the show.
And it’s clear that it’s a tighter, funnier, sleeker proposition these days.
The audience I saw it with at the Nederlander Theatre (where it’s been breaking house records) loved it, as did I.
Wagner confirmed that conversations have begun about taking Pretty Woman to London’s West End, either late in 2019 or early in 2020.
I think that Mitchell would do more work on the show for London and maybe get Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance to put in a new song or two. The show needs a smash hit you can hum.
Barks and Karl are great together, though, and so is singer/actress Orfeh (who plays Vivian’s best friend Kit.) I imagine that if Karl comes to the West End, so will Orfeh — who happens to be his wife.
There’s a lot of pressure on the producers of James Bond 25 to find a filmmaker to take over from Danny Boyle, who quit when Daniel Craig and fellow producers insisted on replacing screenwriter John Hodge.
Several studio sound-stages were booked for the picture. Problem is: do they hang on to them, or give them up?
Tense situation behind the scenes, finding a director prepared to be ruled over by Mr Craig.