NBC says ‘Downton Abbey’ movie production to start in 2018


SINGAPORE (AP) — A “Downton Abbey” movie is in the works, with production likely to begin in 2018, an NBCUniversal executive said Wednesday.

Michael Edelstein, president at NBCUniversal International Studios, said it hopes to assemble 20 cast members from the popular TV series.

“There’s a movie in the works. It’s been in the works for some time,” Edelstein said in Singapore at a red-carpet event for “Downton Abbey: The Exhibition,” which features costumes, locations and never-before-seen footage from the TV show. The exhibition opened in the city-state last week and ends July 31.

“We are working on getting the script right and then we’ve got to figure out how to get the (cast) together. Because as you know, people go on and do other things. But we’re hopeful to make a movie sometime next year,” Edelstein said.

Cast members at the exhibition said they were not aware of the movie. “Oh, well, you’ve got confirmation before us. We have no idea if that’s happening,” said Sophie McShera, who played assistant cook Daisy Mason. “But we would all love to be part of the film if it was to happen, for sure.”

Laura Carmichael, who played Lady Edith Crawley in the series, quipped: “Well, tell my agent, because we’re still waiting to know. We’re hoping that will happen soon.”

Emmy-winning writer and creator Julian Fellowes also said he hoped a film would be made. “I think we’ve got a film in us. I hope it happens,” he said.

“Downton Abbey,” which concluded in 2015, portrays the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family in England and their servants amid the backdrop of such historical events as the sinking of the Titanic and World War I. It has become one of the most popular TV shows in the world, airing in at least 150 countries.

Fans lined the red carpet at Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands on Wednesday to catch a glimpse of the stars. Student Jessica Nobleza, 15, held up a sign that read, “You helped us pass history.”

“When I got into the show, it was kind of exam period. And season one and two involves World War I, and how it affected the whole era,” she explained.

The “Downton Abbey” exhibition is to travel to the U.S. and Australia at a later date.

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Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved s and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.