With the principal cast of “Downton Abbey” already beginning to break up as they (particularly its younger stars) look for the next step up career-wise, you can forgive Julian Fellowes and some of the older cast-members for also pursuing other projects and setting themselves up for a life after ‘Downton,’ whenever that may come. And last week brought news that screenwriter Fellowes, who created the show, will reunite with Lady Grantham herself, Elizabeth McGovern, on the Fox Searchlight pic “The Chaperone.”
Fellowes will pen the adaptation of Laura Moriarty’s best-selling novel, which tells the tale of a Kansas woman (McGovern) whose life is changed one summer when she chaperones a 15-year old dancer to New York during the 1920s. The latter is eager to find stardom, while the former hopes to unearth the mysteries of her past. The film will be helmed by “My Week With Marilyn” director Simon Curtis, who along with Fellowes and McGovern (Curtis’ wife) seems to be lending this U.S.-based story an overwhelmingly British feel.
Speaking to Deadline, Curtis, Fellowes and McGovern all gave effusive (but rather dull if we’re honest, so we won’t repeat them) quotes about how much they all love the source material, and how happy they are to be working together. Of course the American setting should provide a change of pace for all three whose recent output has largely been set to a stately British backdrop, but they’re sticking to the period setting that they (Fellowes and McGovern in particular) have grown accustomed to. We have to admit this isn’t the kind of project that really gets our juices flowing, but we’ll keep an eye on it, and it’s quite likely that the ‘Downton’ connection, and the studio behind “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” can bring it some wider success. [Deadline]