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Maggie Smith

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

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

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...

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