The award-winning actor will appear in the Christmas special of the hit series, following on from the fourth season
Paul Giamatti will become the next American actor to appear in the hugely successful British period drama Downton Abbey, with the American Splendour actor set to appear as a maverick American playboy during the upcoming fourth season of the show.
Giamatti will appear in the Christmas special airing this December, which will follow on directly from the upcoming fourth season of the hit costume drama. He will play Harold, the life-loving brother of Elizabeth McGovern's Cora, and the son of Shirley Maclaine's Martha. MacLaine will also be reprising her role for the Christmas special.
Downton Abbey will be back at the beginning of next year, with a Christmas special also planned.
After the surprise ending of series three, many were left wondering whether or not the hugely successful period drama Downton Abbey would be come back at all, but there's good news to all you Downton fans out there because a fourth series is imminent, and it will be back on PBS on 5 January 2014.
Downton executive producer Rebecca Eaton revealed the good news today in an official statement, revealing the airing date of the new series and adding that it will run for eight weeks. She also added the most of the show's original cast will be back too, including Shirley MacLaine, Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery, Jim Carter, Joanne Froggatt and Brendan Coyle, adding that there will be a number of new actors joining the established cast too.
Hugh Bonneville, Sophie McShera, Phyllis Logan, Julian Fellowes, Lily James and co. of the established Downton order
Continue reading: Downton Abbey Will Return To PBS In January 2014
The updated cast means more drama, more intrigue and, well, more names to remember.
Downton Abbey is going to get a whole lot more complicated and interesting, with the addition of a host of cast members, including Gary Carr. Carr will play the period drama’s first black character, the charismatic jazz singer Jack Ross. The rest of the new cast-members’ names were also an exciting announcement, since the list includes stars like Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Tom Cullen, Julian Ovenden, Nigel Harman, Joanna David and Dame Harriet Walter, all joining the show for its fourth season.
Carnival Films’ Managing Director, Gareth Neame, said the following about the character of Jack Ross: “We are delighted to introduce another fantastic, dynamic character to Downton Abbey. His addition will bring interesting twists to the drama which we can’t wait for viewers to see in Series Four”.
We’re sure the viewers are excited as well, but we’ll all have to wait a while longer for the series to return with its next eight episodes later this year, as well as the highly anticipated Christmas special, of course. The new cast members will be joining Downton veterans Shirley McLaine Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery and Jim Carter. It’ll probably enhance the show’s dynamic, of course, but we can’t help asking… how are we supposed to memorise every tidbit of intrigue between so many characters?
Double Oscar winner Dustin Hoffman has, at the age of 75, finally switched to directing. While many were surprised it had taken him so long, others were distinctly apprehensive about what Hoffman may offer. As the reviews roll in it appears that Quartet is a light hearted delight and that Hoffman has triumphed.
As well an A-lister as a director, Hoffman brought in some of Britain's best loved actors and actresses. Maggie Smith, Billy Connolly, Sheridan Smith and Tom Courtenay star in a sweet story set in an home for elderly and retired musicians. When an old star turns up, a group in the home attempt to get her to perform again in their quartet, but with old romances and a worn ego to get in the way, it's a struggle for them to persuade her.
Rolling Stone puts Hoffman's skill down to his long career, saying he "directs with elegance" and describes the movie as "flushed with humor and tenderness." Likewise, USA Today was also impressed by the veteran actor's directorial skill: "Hoffman directs with elegance, allowing the denizens to be dignified, as well as adorable. We get a strong sense of each major character."
Continue reading: Dustin Hoffmans' Directorial Debut, 'Quartet', How Did He Do?
British screen icon Dame Maggie Smith did not attend the Golden Globes in Beverly Hills on Sunday (January 13, 2013) though fended off stiff competition to win Best Supporting Actress in a TV drama. Dame Maggie built on her 2012 Emmy Awards win by taking the prize for her critically acclaimed portrayal of Violet, the Dowager Countless in ITV's much-loved Downton Abbey. She was also nominated for Best Actress in the film category for the well-received Quartet.
Smith did not attend the Emmy Awards last year and is rarely spotted at awards' ceremonies despite her prestigious career. However, she did collect the Stratford Shakespeare Festival's Legacy Award from actor Christopher Plummer at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel back in September. At the Globes, Smith lost out to Jennifer Lawrence in the Best Actress (Comedy or Musical) category, though beat the likes of Hayden Panettiere and Sofia Vergara to the Best Supporting Actress gong for Downton Abbey.
It was a rather successful night for British stars, with Damian Lewis taking the Best Actor in a Television Drama award for Homeland. He beat Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston, Boardwalk Empire's Steve Buscemi, The Newsroom's Jeff Daniels and Mad Men's Jon Hamm in one of the evening's toughest-to-call categories. "I'd like to dedicate this to my mum, looking down on me bursting with pride telling everyone around her how well her son is doing in acting," Lewis said in his acceptance speech. It was a strong night for Homeland, which took Best Drama Series and saw its lead star Claire Danes win Best Actress.
Continue reading: Enigmatic Maggie Smith Stays Away From The Golden Globes (Still Wins)
Season three of Downton Abbey premieres on PBS this Sunday (January 6, 2013), with the arrival of silver-screen icon Shirley Maclaine. The Oscar and Golden Globe winning actress plays Martha Levinson in the best-loved period drama, and is set to go head-to-head with the stoic Countess of Grantham, played by Maggie Smith.
MacLaine - perhaps best known for The Apartment and Terms of Endearment - explained to the New York Times how she prepared to act alongside Smith. "I thought the best course of action in going toe-to-toe with Maggie would be a sense of American expressive feeling," she explained. In one upcoming scene, MacLaine's character serenades Smith, "I told her I was going to sing it, and first she said to me, [genteel Maggie Smith voice] 'You know, dear, when you do that, I'm going to fall off the chair.' I said, 'OK.' And then she said, 'No, I think not. I think I'll fall asleep.' I said, 'OK, that's good, too.' And then she said, 'No, I think I will cry.' I said, I don't know what you'd do that for, but whatever. What she did instead was flirt back. [Laughs] I was so surprised."
Legendary actress MacLaine was married to businessman Steve Parker until 1982, though revealed to Oprah Winfrey in 2011 that she had an open relationship with her husband. Smith has been married on two occasions, to actor Robert Stephens and playwright Beverly Cross, and she and MacLaine compared notes on past lovers on the Downton Set. "We sat and we reminisced about life and lovers and the business and directors," said MacLaine, adding, "That was really interesting and so much fun.When we were doing a press conference here, someone asked me if I had known Maggie before. And I said, 'Oh, yes, we were lovers in another life.' [Laughs] I don't know where that came from."
Season 3 of Downton Abbey is about to hit PBS in the USA on Sunday and so far, Michelle Obama has managed to keep her sneak-peek at the new series under her hat but the footnote at the bottom of Hitfix.com’s review suggests that social media sites have probably provided quite a few spoilers for US audiences. Unless America’s citizens have been living a net-free life since the series aired in the UK, it’s inevitable that they’ll have stumbled upon some of the storylines. The disgruntled Hitfix blogger Alan Sepinwall writes that “Twitter has already spoiled plenty for the non-torrenting American audience; let's leave it at that,” imploring the site’s users not to add to the gossip.
That said, Sepinwall is hardly a fan of the show, concluding that he needs to “simply accept” that, after three seasons of writing about it, it simply isn’t the show for him. It’s not all bad news for Downton, as season three is considered to be an improvement on the previous two series.
The highlight for many Americans, of course, will be the presence of Shirley Maclaine, who appears in the role of Martha Levinson, the American mother of Lady Cora (played by Elizabeth McGovern). the time that she shares onscreen with Maggie Smith, particularly, provides some of the highlights of the series.
It's not all that rare to find a British television show nominated at the Golden Globes, both The Tudors and Cranford enjoyed their days in the sun in 2008 and 2009, but Americans really do love a British period drama, so this year sees Downton Abbey receiving three nominations, for Best Drama, Best Actress (Michelle Dockery) and Best Supporting Actress (Dame Maggie Smith), which really is an extraordinary achievement.
Some of the cast members joined the BBC to speak about their delight regarding the nomination. Joanne Froggat, better known as Anna Bates 'nee Smith', expressed her gratitude to the Globes, saying that "to have that kind of recognition from our American peers is wonderful... it's exciting!"
"We've now joined high table," said Hugh Bonneville, who plays Lord Grantham, the head of Downton Abbey, "and we're now being considered alongside these great other dramas that have excited the nation and we're thrilled that us from over seas have managed to fit in." Adding, "It's wonderful because when we're filming in Highclere castle... on a freezing February day in the mud, it's nice to know that sometimes it's worth it."
Continue reading: Downton Abbey's Cast Enjoys Golden Globe Nominations
The Golden Globes are one of the biggest film and television awards in the world. Winning an award from them will almost always top the C.V.s of anyone involved in film. 2012 has been one of the best years in film for a long time, with many films being deemed 'instant classics'. Although, of course, that's said every year, with just a quick glance at the calibre of performances, narrative and cinematography this year it's easy to see why it's being said.
2012's nominations were revealed today with few surprises. The favourites during speculation included Argo, Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty and The Master, and they haven't failed to impress in the Globes' nominations. Lincoln's set to be a big winner with seven nominations, while Argo has 5 nominations, Zero Dark Thirty has 4 and The Master has 3. All four, except The Master, are also in the running for Best Motion Picture, competing alongside Ang Lee's Life of Pi and Quentin Tarantino's re-envisioning of a slave narrative, Django Unchained.
Tarantino's film received 5 nominations, which included two in the category for Best Supporting Performance by an Actor, for Christoph Waltz and Leonardo Dicaprio, which proves to us that it's more than worth the watch. Best Director nominations mirrors the Best Motion Picture, and include Ben Affleck (Argo), Stephen Spielberg (Lincoln), Ang Lee (Life of Pi), Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) and Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained), which is no surprise really.
Continue reading: The Golden Globes Nominations, No Surprises For A Great Year Of Film
ITV's flagship period Drama, Dowton Abbey, aired it's season finale last night, and was viewed by a massive 10.7m people, making it easily the highest rated drama of the year, reports The Daily Mail.
Sunday night at 9pm has become a no fly zone for anything other than 'watching Downton' in the U.K. It has captured Britain's hearts, and in doing so, has become one of the most popular dramas of all time. Last night saw the last episode of season 3, which was watched by a mammoth 10.7m people, but it's not single episode figures that excite the channels, rather a consistent viewing average, and Downton can boast that for sure; actors like Dame Maggie Smith and Hugh Bonneville help to pull in a very respectable 9.7 million viewers throughout the series. Compare that to the BBC's Call The Midwife and Sherlock, and Downton outperforms them by 2m and 2.7m respectively.
While the show's success knows no bounds, one key aspect is starting to get noticed: the homogenous level of white Caucasian characters. Many historical purists might point to inaccuracies of including a multicultural cast, but it's something that creator Julian Fellowes has considered. Talking in an interview with The Daily Telegraph, he said "Oh I think that's rather a good idea. You have to work it in in a way that is historically believable, but I am sure we could do that. The show certainly ought to have an Indian character from that period."
Continue reading: Downton Abbey Series 3 Finale Pulls In Record Viewing Figures
Shoot your wife for cancer? It may seem a bit extreme, but Dawn Porter and her husband Chris O'Dowd from the IT Crowd, are making the ultimate sacrifice in the name of a good cause. That's right Chris O'Dowd will shoot his wife for the cause... with a paint pellet. If Dowd shoots his wife, Stand Up To Cancer will get a massive £10,000!
The entire affair is an extravagantly star studded event, and celebs have done a whole host of things to support it from pulling the trigger on their better halves, to donating a pair of shoes for the public to wear. The Telegraph reported on Tuesday (Oct 16th) that the public could try on the shoes of "Gwyneth Paltrow, Davina McCall, Twiggy, Sir Chris Hoy, Coleen Rooney and Dame Maggie Smith" in Leicester Square for one day only, before being sold in a silent auction that ends on Friday.
Plus, Jim Parsons, who plays Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory has jumped on board to lend his support, by giving an earnest plug before every showing on Channel 4 and its sister channel E4. And you can see him supporting the cause in a hilarious music video called Up2 You + Me on YouTube.
Continue reading: Stand Up To Cancer, Shoot Your Wife For Cancer, Give Money To Cancer
Julian Fellowes wishes to write a prequel on the main characters in his hit ITV1 show ‘Downton Abbey’ after the last series is aired.
The Oscar winning screenwriter, who also wrote the recent ‘Titanic’ mini-series, ‘The Tourist’ and ‘Gosford Park’, wants to recreate the story of when characters Robert and Cora Crawley, the Earl and Countess of Grantham, met and the ‘trouble courtship’ that ensued on to screen. ‘She was in love with him before they married, as we know, and he married her entirely for her money’, Fellowes said at the BAFTA Screenwriters’ Lecture Series. ‘I sort of feel there's something quite nice in there because he's a decent cove, and so he feels rather guilty about this which has affected their marriage beyond that.’
Fellowes was also adamant that the show be aired after ‘Downton Abbey’ had finished. ‘I don't think you can continue a narrative in more than one area at once’, he said. ‘I never really liked those Coronation Street Christmas specials where they all go to Haiti, and you don't have to watch it. Somehow it doesn't feel very organic.’ The show is currently on series three and stars Elizabeth McGovern, Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith and Michelle Dockery.
British actor Damian Lewis and screen veteran Maggie Smith were among the winners at the Emmy Awards 2012 in Los Angeles on Sunday evening (September 23, 2012). Lewis – who plays an American soldier in ‘Homeland’ – picked up the award for Best Actor in a Drama, while Downton Abbey’s Smith won Best Supporting Actress.
On receiving his award, Lewis joked with the star-studded audience, “I'm one of those pesky Brits, I apologise,” adding, “I don't really believe in judging art, but I thought I'd show up just in case.” Lewis’ show ‘Homeland’ upset the odds by taking the evening’s biggest prize, for Best Drama, ahead of big favorite Breaking Bad and four-time winner Mad Men. Maggie Smith’s award was the solitary highlight in a terrible night for Julian Fellowes’ Downton Abbey, which had been nominated for a whopping sixteen prizes. Instead, it was national security drama Homeland, HBO’s Game Change and the much-loved US comedy Modern Family who won the most awards, with three each. Armed with Sherlock stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, the BBC would have felt quietly confident for the Lead Actor and Supporting Actor gongs, but both actors missed out.
Another big surprise at this year’s Emmys was Jon Cryer’s award for Best Actor in a Comedy Series for his role in ‘Two and a Half Men’. The Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons was the hot favorite for the award, though it was Cryer who walked away with the prize. Who needs Charlie Sheen?
The eight-part saga comes to a close with an action-packed finale that neatly ties up the strands of the whole series and also manages to give its actors some meaty scenes to play with. While it's hugely satisfying, there's also a letdown as we reach the end.
With Voldemort (Fiennes) in possession of the mythical Elder Wand, and four Horcruxes still at large, Harry (Radcliffe) and pals Hermione and Ron (Watson and Grint) know that they have work to do. Breaking into a Gringotts vault is tough enough, but when they sneak back into Hogwarts, they find themselves in all-out war against Voldemort and his Death Eaters. So with the help of adults (Smith, Walters and more) and fellow students (including Lewis, Wright and Lynch), they make their final stand.
After a sort of "Previously on Harry Potter" prologue and a quietly intense opening, the film plunges into the Gringotts heist and barely pauses for breath. Director Yates adeptly juggles action and drama, keeping images razor sharp and making sure the effects work is seamlessly eye-catching (they're also the most consistently high-quality effects in the series). But of course Lord of the Rings-scale spectacle is nothing without great characters, and this film pushes everyone into new territory.
Radcliffe takes on the challenge extremely well, bringing Harry's self-doubt and crippling guilt together with a potent sense of destiny and sacrifice. Of the supporting cast, Rickman, Smith and Gambon get the weightiest scenes, while Lewis and Walters finally have superb moments in the spotlight. And Bonham Carter clearly has a ball with a terrific scene as a shape-shifted Hermione.
Meanwhile, that outrageously starry ensemble fills out each scene, including many who barely utter a word.
As the story propels to the climactic moments, there are a few fits and starts while events recoil and wait to burst forth again. Even though this is the shortest of all eight movies, it feels a little long due to its intensely focussed plot. This means every moment on screen is vitally important, and most are given the chance to play out without feeling rushed. But it also means that, as the ending (and epilogue) get closer, we simply don't want it to end.
Gnomeo (voiced by McAvoy), son of Lady Bluebury (Smith), is the leader of the blue Montague garden. Accompanied by his sidekick Benny (Lucas), Gnomeo engages in tit-for-tat warfare with the red Capulets next door. Then he meets Juliet (Blunt), daughter of Lord Redbrick (Caine), and it's love at first sight. Which sends red warrior Tybalt (Statham) into a rage. As they plot a secret life together, Gnomeo and Juliet are assisted by Juliet's frog friend Nanette (Jensen) and the garden flamingo Featherstone (Cummings). But can these star-crossed lovers find happiness?
Continue reading: Gnomeo & Juliet Review
Some gardens just wouldn't be complete without the addition of a garden gnome or two. The gardens on Verona Drive are no exception; the owners of the houses are extremely fond of their little hat wearing friends. What the human residents don't realise is that when all's quiet and there are no humans around, their garden comes to life!
Continue: Gnomeo & Juliet Trailer