Michelle Dockery | “Downton Abbey changed my life”

The life of British comedian Michelle Dockery changed in 2010, the day the first episode of the cult series aired. Downton Abbey. Twelve years later, we still find her as Lady Mary Crawley in the movie Downton Abbey – A New Era, which opens on Friday. Interview.

Posted at 7:00 p.m.

Olivia Levy

Olivia Levy

We have this irresistible urge to call her Lady Mary when we see her appear on our screen in videoconferencing. Thanks to this character she embodies Downton AbbeyMichelle Dockery’s life is turned upside down.

Du jour au lendemain, elle est devenue une star ; la série qui met en scène une famille d’aristocrates et leurs domestiques dans le château de Downton Abbey a connu un grand succès dans le monde entier pendant six saisons, de 2010 à 2015.

Quand on est actrice, on se dit qu’il y a toujours un moment où notre carrière bascule, et Downton Abbey a changé ma vie. Encore aujourd’hui, les gens sont parfois surpris de ne pas me voir en costume d’époque de Lady Mary ! Les fans de la série sont tellement dévoués !

Michelle Dockery

Dès la première lecture du scénario, elle est tombée sous le charme de ce personnage de jeune aristocrate un peu snob, arrogante parfois. « Je l’aime tellement, dit-elle. Ma référence était Kristin Scott Thomas dans Gosford Park [réalisé par Robert Altman]a film written by Julian Fellowes, the creator of the series.

“I love Mrs. Mary, she is stubborn, she is a spoiled child. But as the years go by and it evolves because it goes through hardships. He is a complex character. This is the beauty of Downton Abbey, as all the characters are complex and nuanced. »


British actress Michelle Dockery at the premiere of Downton Abbey – A New Era in London on 25 April

“When we were shooting the first season, we knew we were doing a quality show, because Julian Fellowes had won an Oscar for best original screenplay for Gosford Park in 2002. But we could never have predicted this phenomenal success, ”she recalls.

The actress recalls that the series was very well received in the UK, but when it started airing in the United States everything changed. “She became absolutely insane. I was 27, he opened the doors for me of course. I have had other roles thanks to the success of the series and it has been going on for 12 years. This is what is incredible. »

Michelle Dockery starred especially in Guy Ritchie’s film gentryTV Shows Defending Jacob and finally in Anatomy of a scandal, the Netflix series where she plays a crown prosecutor while a government minister is accused of rape. “Mrs. Mary could have been this lawyer a century later, because she is confident, shrewd and eloquent. “She would have been wonderful,” she laughs.

Adapt to change

IN Downton Abbey – A New Erawe find the Crawley family, part of which goes to the south of France to solve the mystery of the heritage of a villa and the other awaits a shooting group that will conquer the castle.


Director Simon Curtis and Michelle Dockery during filming Downton Abbey – A New Era

It is Lady Mary who takes care of the stars that come and all the unforeseen events that arise during filming. “The film is funny and at the same time full of emotions,” she says. This film is also, as the title suggests, the transition to a new era.

“The New World is represented by this group of shameless films that shoot in the castle and who are not at all impressed by this wonderful environment. There is no value in his eyes. This is the change, the new era “, explains Michelle Dockery.

“Others, like my father, Lord Grantham, and Mr. Carson, the servant who runs the house, are very reluctant to modernity and do not want the world to change. Mrs. Mary is intrigued by the work of this film group, which she watches very closely. “She discovers that she likes it and will almost become a producer, she is so invested! »

Mrs. Mary adapts to the change. We are in 1928, it is the end of a decade, we are before the crisis of 1929 and the 1930s, World War II is approaching. There is a sense that another world is coming, and it is the end of an era.

Michelle Dockery

Michelle Dockery was delighted to have found the whole team Downton Abbeywhom she considers a family.

“We are very close to each other, we grew up together for 12 years. Some actors were in their twenties, like me, when the adventure began. These characters and actors are part of our lives, and Maggie Smith is so funny! It’s a real pleasure! »

At the cinema on Friday

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