Listen: Imelda Staunton on the New 'Downton Abbey' Film
"Today today after making a name for herself on the West End Stage Imelda Staunton shot to international fame when she started in the Mike Leigh Drama Vera Drake in two thousand and four it earned her an academy award nomination for Best Actress. Imelda Staunton is also the winner of three Olivier Awards for best actress in a musical for her roles in into the woods sweeney any told and Gypsy in two thousand and sixteen. She's back on screens this weekend. Joining the cast of the feature film version of Downton Abbey she spoke to Monaco's has been Ryland for me joining it now because I'm not in the series and although my husband who plays Carson isn't the series or do feel. I've lived but I think that's that's very interesting to think. NCA- about. Should we want things to stay the same and yet I also think within the story that Julian fellowes has given the female characters. You know I've could a very interesting story line because I come into it but women questioning there. Should I be living in this big house with servants. What what what's happening with the world and yet the audience crave costs and someone steady. They want things to be steady and safe because we are going to hell in a handcart hot. Let's face it to cling onto something that has got tradition. If you like and that's why I dare say we're all obsessed with the royal family or just something that is stable because it's all over the place and I think it stability that people want and yet we have to sort of we have to move within that the big question of course is which tradition should we hold onto and which ones should we move on from and we all collectively need to make this decision and in a microcosm sort of way that's the the dilemma faced with many of the characters you'll your character wants to make a decision without giving anything away that would be quite untraditional it would be against the idea of what what people do you and there are other characters such as Maggie Smith who looks at this and says no things shoot remain how they've always been and it's it sort of feels like a wider dilemma that we just don't know which ones we should hold onto to know but in film terms that's tension and that's what you need to make a drama. There's no point of us will sit making a film that everything's fine or everything's terrible you have to the tension is like the tension between Maggie Smith Skirt and Penelope Wilton character which yes you think about it. She doesn't belong to the House and so her role throughout the series was almost almost and I'm a I'm quoting her now but she was the window from the audience into Downton again will is that right and she could question on behalf of us. You know what was going on on and I think you have to be malleable with all these traditions and you have to move all family of how to move with the Times with you will in Kate and and how it has to move on and I think Downton has embraced that the film you know the fans just desperate for the film and I think they'll be delighted with it but I think they'll be delighted with it because although it's a chocolate box and it's a fantasy they're serious points in the film and I think you know for what it is. I think people go uh no. I think that's that's quite true if the made the cooks assistant questions. Why are we having to do all this the king and Queen or why are we having to you know just just questioning just putting things out there. I think it will make people listen to more than just oh what we have tea and dinner served. Well absolutely it's. It's such a cozy film but also you know we were talking about traditions and in a way the film is about nostalgia isn't it. I found myself coming out of a wondering whether it really is a love letter. Tunis eligible naught because there are so many elements of the film that while very much of the time that he's being depicted here. It's also making it clear that time is moving on culture is moving on whether these people choose to understand it or not the the king and Queen that come to visit wouldn't have any idea about this secret secret gay club. That's happening without anyone's knowledge behind these on March doors you know there is an element of a coach is moving on even if these people are living all all alone in a happy little place in their own little bubble at the end of the film it did make me one east this and affectionate love letter to nostalgia all has more of a reminder that all things will eventually end even Downton Abbey the series the film perhaps the structure itself yeah. I think it's both I think it's it you can give and take away and I feel that you know Downton. Abbey was Sunday night fair and it's not political to cope with a big P. It's as you said it's cozy television and it's feel good and that's that's what this is. We must pretend as any different than the there were few little ingredients. It's in their little bit risky. You know and that's within its remit. I think it hits all those marks and yes you know anything about the old days. It's no style Jake and and Britain does that quite well. I Suppose Julian fellowes you know with Gosford Park for goodness sake all those years ago he knows how to do that. So you see you can push the boundaries so fall with film right Downton Abbey and I think he's done it and I think he's served the regular characters. I'm aware on the periphery of at the end of the regular characters are who the fans want to see and this is a film that has been made because of the demand of the popular you know how many people one hundred twenty million people watching it so he's given them what they want. I think Imelda Staunton they're one of many stars of the new feature film version of Downton Abbey Speaking to Ben Ryland Downton Abbey is out in cinemas"