Director Simon Curtis discusses Downton Abbey: A New Era

Director Simon Curtis discusses Downton Abbey: A New Era

May 21, 2022 A DGA Membership Screening Q&A in Los Angeles

The residents and staff of the beloved English manor house return in Director Simon Curtis’s romantic period drama, Downton Abbey: A New Era.

Based on the popular television series and a follow-up to the 2019 feature film, Curtis’s film reacquaints us with Crawley family and their servants as some of them venture forth on a grand journey to the South of France to uncover the mystery of the dowager countess’s newly inherited villa, while others remain behind to oversee the shooting of a film at their estate.

On May 21, after the DGA membership screening in Los Angeles, Curtis discussed the making of Downton Abbey: A New Era during a Q&A moderated by Director Amy Holden Jones (The Rich Man's Wife).

During the conversation, Curtis spoke about the challenges of directing a cast that was already so intimately familiar with the material after having been together for nearly a dozen years.

“The thing that people often say about directing is that every actor has a different version of how you can help them. Sometimes they want a lot of notes sometimes they don’t want any and they go into different versions of that as well. I was very fortunate that I had worked with a lot of these actors before. I had never worked on Downton Abbey before but I had my own history with a lot of them and I’ve been a sort of ‘plus one’ on the Downton journey, so I was sort of an insider and an outsider. I think that that greatly helped.”

In addition to Downton Abbey: A New Era, Curtis’s other directorial credits include the feature films The Art of Racing in the Rain, Goodbye Christopher Robin, Woman in Gold and My Week with Marilyn; the movies for television Born in the USA, Man and Boy and The Prince of Hearts; and episodes of the series The Practice and Tracey Takes On... Curtis has been a DGA member since 1995.

You can listen to Curtis' Q&A by clicking the podcast episode embedded below. You can find more DGA podcast episodes here.


Q&A photos by Elisa Haber – Print courtesy of Focus Features

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