Envelope screening: Why 'Downton Abbey's' mix of new and veteran actors works

Executive producer Gareth Neame talks about the "Downton Abbey" cast being a combination of veteran actors and newcomers.

When the creators of "Downton Abbey" were first casting for the show, they went for a mix of new and established actors, says executive producer Gareth Neame.

The producers knew they wanted certain well known actors -- such as Maggie Smith to portray family matriarch Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess of Grantham, and Hugh Bonneville as Robert Crawley, the Earl of Grantham -- right off the bat, Neame said during a Q&A at a recent Envelope Screening Series presentation of the show. But others, such as Laura Carmichael, who plays unlucky-in-love Lady Edith, were newbies. 

The mix works, Neame said, because of the skill of the actors.

"When you see a scene between Violet and Edith, you have no idea this is somebody in their first job and somebody who is one of the great queens of the screen," Neame said. "It's seamless."

See what else Neame has to say in the video clip above, and check out The Envelope's other Emmy-related conversations.