Julian Fellowes of ‘Downton Abbey’ says distress just isn’t ‘compulsory’ in entertainment : NPR

NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly talks with Downton Abbey executive producer Julian Fellowes about the newest chapter in the Crawley family’s story, Downton Abbey: A New Era.


“Downton Abbey” is back again once again.


KELLY: Six years right after “Downton Abbey” wrapped on Television set, almost three several years following its first motion picture spin-off, now will come “Downton Abbey: A New Era.” Here is govt producer Julian Fellowes, who created “Downton Abbey” and launched the environment to the Crawley relatives.

JULIAN FELLOWES: I tied it all up at the finish of Series 5. I tied it all up at the finish of Series 6. I tied it all up at the stop of the initially film.

KELLY: So what else is still left for Fellowes to tie up? Effectively, for one particular, the starting of this new era for the Crawleys.


HUGH BONNEVILLE: (As Robert Crawley) You steer forward. You are the captain now.

KELLY: Also, a spouse and children thriller involving Violet Crawley, performed by Dame Maggie Smith.


MAGGIE SMITH: (As Violet Crawley) A long time in the past, I satisfied a man, and now I have occur into the possession of a villa in the south of France.

MICHELLE DOCKERY: (As Mary Crowley) What?

KELLY: And Hollywood comes to Downton.


JIM CARTER: (As Mr. Carson) A moving photo at Downton.

SOPHIE MCSHERA: (As Daisy Parker) Will there be film stars, well known types?

KELLY: Julian Fellowes instructed me that for grand old estates like Downton, modernity can be challenging.

FELLOWES: These houses, these family members wherever they survive – and several do endure to this working day – they have to make changes. They have to study to are living in a diverse way. They have to let go of sure factors and so on. And it truly is a great deal more challenging for the more mature generations to allow go of the more mature way of everyday living than it is for the younger. And I feel which is reenacted in each individual technology of existence, that we all close up being told how to get the job done our computer systems by our little ones.

KELLY: If we are blessed, sure.

FELLOWES: And which is the type of distinct variation of what they were being likely as a result of, truly.

KELLY: I browse an job interview you gave in which you stated – and I’ll estimate – “if folks look at a present I have published, have had a terrific night and have savored it, which is ample for me.” Julian Fellowes, I browse that, and I considered, gosh, it is astounding how unusual it is for somebody just to say, appear I am not seeking to do one thing terrifically high-stakes or controversial or provocative. I want men and women to go to the motion pictures and – gasp – have fun.

FELLOWES: Sure – cry a bit, snicker a little bit. Occasionally you hope you’ve got sort of provoked a reasonably interesting considered they’re going to think about afterwards when they are, you know, sitting in the targeted traffic, waiting around for the light-weight to modify. I signify, I truly feel a strong element of the entertainment field is to entertain. I’m not definitely striving to provoke the French Revolution. You know, I just like to make people think about matters, probably change their mindset.

You know, with a character like Thomas, the footman at the beginning, he’s pretty a lousy boy. And then as the exhibit goes on, ideally you comprehend that it was incredibly difficult to be gay at a time when it was illegal. And steadily, you appear to have an understanding of his reserve. You know, if a single crusty old colonel in the north finds himself experience a little much more tolerant, then terrific.

KELLY: Considering the fact that you elevated him, Thomas Barrow, the footman who will get promoted to butler – he will get a notable storyline. He is homosexual. That is some thing the sequence has explored. Without the need of giving absent any plot twists, we did say this is a joyful movie. You are making an attempt to give people some pleasure. And Barrow ends up Alright. He ends up far better than Okay in this movie, which is great. I did ponder, is it reasonable, do you consider, for that period just about a century in the past?

FELLOWES: I believe it is really reasonable in that persons have to obtain a way in which they can have the romantic relationship that fulfills them. And, you know, females ended up authorized to dwell with each other with out anybody genuinely questioning it…

KELLY: Yeah.

FELLOWES: …Rightly or wrongly. But that wasn’t really permitted to guys. They had to have a rationale to be living jointly. And I consider, you know, they find their rationale. And I believe that is plausible, yes. And I feel that pretty a ton of that kind of matter went on in the days substantially later than this, basically, when it was still illegal.

KELLY: “Downton” has normally been about the upstairs, the downstairs, the aristocrats and the servants who provide them. And you go after all of their storylines with equal zest. I did speculate, looking at this, how you assume about earning a motion picture that is – it is very a lot about privilege. It is about rich white folks swanning around their fabulous houses and their wonderful dresses. And I questioned, does it feel diverse to make that now than it did a ten years-as well as in the past when you ended up initial casting “Downton”?

FELLOWES: No, not truly. I indicate, we are searching at a specified way of existence. It involves some privileged people. It will involve far more unprivileged men and women. In my personal head, amid the servants, you get the unique styles. You get the types who are resentful and disappointed like O’Brien. You get the ones who adore the spouse and children and worship them and see them as their soap opera like Carson. You get the kinds for whom it was a work, who I am very absolutely sure ended up in the broad greater part, like Mrs. Hughes. And I believe that is a pretty truthful reflection of that culture.

I believe in the finish, you know, when you happen to be likely to make any movie, any Television exhibit and generate a guide, what you happen to be seeking to do is to notify a moderately truthful story about a group of persons. You know, I never – I suggest, this modern factor, existing matter that very little is valid that isn’t really about misery – I really don’t concur with that. I assume misery is good to investigate and to dramatize and all the rest of it, but I really don’t assume it truly is obligatory.

KELLY: Is “Downton” likely to go on eternally? Are we likely to be turning it into Lord Grantham’s…

FELLOWES: Very well…

KELLY: …I you should not know – fantastic-terrific-wonderful-good-grandkids running close to the dwelling?

FELLOWES: I am not heading to go on eternally. So I think there would be a actual problems getting “Downton” to go on eternally. Whether or not it’s occur to an end or not, I couldn’t convey to you.

You know, I indicate, a single of the other factors is that throughout the life span of “Downton,” the complete character of showbiz, of how you make movies, of how they are produced, the platforms – all of this is various from what it was 15 several years – I indicate, really distinctive. Now, of course, people today complain about it one particular way. But I imagine it also is constantly throwing up new chances, new probabilities, new approaches of executing matters. And, you know, I like that. I think that is attention-grabbing. And I like staying aspect of it. So if “Downton” is to be reborn in a diverse form or dimension, then, you know, I hope I am part of that.

KELLY: Properly, may perhaps I say I hope you might be not very completed yet because this was a ton of exciting.

FELLOWES: Very well, we are going to see – none of us everlasting.


KELLY: That is “Downton” creator Julian Fellowes. Julian Fellowes, thank you.

FELLOWES: Thank you for possessing me. It was pretty great of you.

KELLY: The new motion picture is “Downton Abbey: A New Era.” It’s out following 7 days.


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