"Downton Abbey" fans already have a lot of love for Mrs. Patmore. And now there's another reason to adore the sassy, hardworking cook: The actress who plays her, Lesley Nicol, has just revealed that a sequel to September's "Downton Abbey" movie is in the works!
The Sun reports that Lesley shared the exciting news during an interview on "Good Morning Britain" on Oct. 28. "They're working on it, yeah," she said. "I don't think they've written it, but they are rounding people up."
The movie installment of the popular PBS show was a huge hit when it was released on Sept. 20, which came as a surprise to some. As of late October, the film — which focuses on how Britain's aristocratic Crawley family and their servants prepared for a visit from the king and queen in 1927 — made $92.2 million at the U.S. box office and another $80.4 million internationally for a worldwide total haul of $172.6 million, according to Box Office Mojo.
It also had a huge opening weekend, earning $31 million and beating out Brad Pitt's "Ad Astra" and Sylvester Stallone's "Rambo: Last Blood" for first place. And it did all that on a budget of just $20 million, Deadline reported.
A TV insider told the Sun that Focus Features has already asked creator Julian Fellowes to start writing a second "Downton" movie. "[The film] has been a roaring success. Julian and the team are over the moon with how it played out. No one expected it would be this big," said the insider. "The commercial viability of a second film is now a dead cert, so Julian has been told to start putting pen to paper on the follow-up."
The lushly costumed movie period drama stars original TV series cast members including Michelle Dockery, Laura Carmichael, Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Joanne Froggatt, Brendan Coyle, Jim Carter, Allen Leech, Robert James-Collier and more. The majority of the cast seemed to have a blast making media rounds during a well-received (and incredibly fashionable) press tour.
The most expensive part of making the film was, according to director Michael Engler, one particular sequence involving lots of animals, soldiers and extras. "Well, the most expensive was definitely creating the whole royal parade, because we did have the actual queen's royal troop. So we had to bring them to [the village of Lacock] England for three days, and put up a campsite and mess tent, and stables, and bring veterinarians and their whole crew of people," he told CinemaBlend.
"That, and then have enough hair and makeup and wardrobe people, because every single cast member is in that sequence, and hundreds of extras," he continued. "Everybody's two hours outside of London, so to bring that many people in every department for a week to shoot that, and put everyone up, and feed everybody, and all that, it's a big, complicated thing that not many movies would do.
"It's like even finding 400 hotel rooms, in an area like that out there, with enough advance that you can get them all, the logistics of it really is like mobilizing an army."