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Interview: Hugh Bonneville on Dragging Robert Grantham into the Future in ‘Downton Abbey: A New Era’

Hugh Bonneville stars as Robert Grantham and Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary in DOWNTON ABBEY: A New Era, a Focus Features release. Credit: Ben Blackall / © 2021 Focus Features, LLC

It’s been over a decade since Downton Abbey first began, and the Crawley family is back for more adventure in the second film to follow the six-episode TV series, Downton Abbey: A New Era. In the latest visit to the regal estate, a film crew sets up shop to make a silent movie at Downton Abbey with Mary overseeing it while Robert heads to the south of France with a party in tow to explore news of an unexpected inheritance.

Awards Radar had the chance to speak with the exceptionally hilarious Hugh Bonneville about his perception of Robert, really getting to know the character, and other highlights from his career.

On whether he expected to play Robert for over a decade, Bonneville admitted that “I had it in my contract, actually, that I could only ever be involved in a global phenomenon. Fortunately, I haven’t had to sue anyone yet. That’s been good.”

On the idea of a film crew taking over Downton Abbey, Bonneville shared that “it’s all very meta, isn’t it, because Lord and Lady Carnarvon have had to put up with us for the last decade and a bit, trampling all over their furniture, and these ghastly actors, just drunks covered in makeup. So here we were, it was life imitating art, or life imitating art imitating life.”

On how he and Robert are most similar: “I think we’re roughly about six foot one. I used to be six foot two, but I’ve shrunk an inch in my old age. And he talks very much like me, which is quite interesting. But, aside from that, I don’t have a Labrador or an enormous house with a vast heating bill.”

Listen to the entire conversation with Bonneville below:

Downton Abbey: A New Era opens in theaters on Friday, May 20th.

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Written by Abe Friedtanzer

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