Dame Maggie Smith films Downton Abbey film in a churchyard

Dame Maggie Smith, 83, doesn’t look that excited – but then she never did as dour Dowager Countess of Grantham.

But she is one of the leading stars returning for the Downton Abbey film which will be unveiled in September 2019.

Focus Features said the big screen version of the ITV period drama will open internationally on September 13 next year.

As well as Dame Maggie, other cast were seen filming in a churchyard.

The film will star the original principal cast – including Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Brendan Coyle, Michelle Dockery, Kevin Doyle, Joanne Froggatt, Matthew Goode, Penelope Wilton and Dame Maggie Smith.

New cast members include Imelda Staunton and Geraldine James.

Focus chairman Peter Kujawski said: “Since the series ended, fans of Downton have long been waiting for the Crawley family’s next chapter.

“We’re thrilled to join this incredible group of filmmakers, actors and craftspeople, led by Julian Fellowes and Gareth Neame, in bringing back the world of Downton to the big screen next September.”

The show’s creator, Julian Fellowes, has written the film’s screenplay, and he will also be co-producer.

The Downton Abbey movie is produced by Carnival Films, and will be released by Focus Features and Universal Pictures International.

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