Some new outtakes from Michelle‘s shooting for Tatler are now avalaible on the gallery with the scanns from the magazine.
Michelle Dockery is the February cover star
Michelle Dockery spent a decade living 100 years in the past – as Lady Mary in Downton Abbey. Now she’s gearing up for a dazzling future
Out of her period dress, Michelle Dockery is one of those stars who is at first difficult to place, so familiar are we with her trussed up as Lady Mary in Downton Abbey. For Tatler’s cover shoot for the February issue, Fashion Director Sophie Pera dressed her in slick tailoring from Saint Laurent, Dolce & Gabbana and Louis Vuitton, wearing a chic yellow Chanel jacket on the cover with a generous dose of diamonds thrown in for good measure: there wasn’t a flapper hemline or elbow-length glove in sight.
Sitting down with Tom Lamont at one of her favourite local restaurants in north London, she opened up about getting used to the fame that came with being on Downton. ‘People want to know a bit more about you, because you’re on their television screens,’ she explains. ‘It’s the nature of the business. That’s something I accept now. I’ve learnt that it’s a privilege to have the power to cheer people up. When somebody asks you for a picture, answering yes is the right way to go.’
She’s certainly grateful for the impact Downton has had on her career. ‘I feel grateful,’ she says. ‘I’d achieved a lot by the time I was 30. I was in one of the biggest shows in the world. It’s very rare something like that happens. I certainly wasn’t expecting it. But it’s put me in a position now where I can slow down. This business, it never really stops. You do something, you promote it, you’re on to the next job. I’m at a point where I’m learning: I need to find ways to switch off. Unwind.’
Her latest role is something of a volte-face: dropping F-bombs alongside Matthew McConaughey, Colin Farrell and Hugh Grant in Guy Ritchie’s latest, The Gentlemen. ‘It came quite naturally,’ she says of dropping the plummy accent she honed on Downton. ‘I grew up in Essex. There’s a way of talking I grew up around. And finally being able to play a character whose accent has an Essex sound, as mine does – I loved that. I’ve been playing well-spoken for so long, to do something closer to my roots was so much fun.’
She’s recently been linked to Jasper Waller-Bridge, the brother of Phoebe. When asked about her relationship with her boyfriend’s famous sister, and if she’s ever offered her any advice, she’s reticent, saying: ‘This is something that’s personal.’ She does offer some advice though, adding: ‘I guess what I’ve learnt is to keep talking about the work. There are a lot of other things that come along with success and that would be my advice for anyone: keep your head down, make it about the job.’
The February issue is on newsstands 2nd January.
Best known as Downton Abbey’s indelible Lady Mary, MICHELLE DOCKERY effortlessly transitions from haughty aristocrat to corrupt cockney in Guy Ritchie’s new gangster movie, The Gentlemen. LAURA CRAIK talks to the British star about her working-class roots, embracing a golden age of opportunities for female actors and why working with Ritchie, Matthew McConaughey, Hugh Grant and her idol Jeremy Strong was a dream come true
Michelle Dockery is about as different from Downton Abbey’s Lady Mary as is imaginable. Dressed in Totême boyfriend jeans, white Adidas trainers and a black cashmere turtleneck, she is warm, effusive and quick to laugh where Lady Mary is frosty and composed, and she has an accent not dissimilar to Victoria Beckham’s. “It may come as a bit of a shock to everyone when I open my mouth in the film,” she smiles.
“The film” is The Gentlemen, a classic gangster caper written and directed by Guy Ritchie in a return to the genre that first made him famous. “Charlie [Hunnam, one of Dockery’s co-stars] is calling The Gentlemen ‘vintage Ritchie’, and I think that’s right,” she says of the British director behind Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. “I play Rosalind, who is the wife of Matthew McConaughey’s character, Mickey,” Dockery explains. “He has these marijuana farms that are growing underneath stately homes, hence the title The Gentlemen.”
Marijuana farms? What would Carson say? Dockery laughs. After six years playing Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey – first in the well-loved TV series (which has won 15 Emmys and been watched by an estimated 270m people worldwide) and latterly in the movie – her role in The Gentlemen was a great departure for the 38-year-old British actress. “Rosalind runs a car dealership, which she’s inherited through her family. She’s a real, tough, east-London girl. I grew up in Essex, and my family has a sort of east-London background, so it was great to step into that world.”
Michelle Dockery, Allen Leech, and Laura Carmichael’s Grand Return to Downton Abbey
Can you go home again? Yes, if that home is a castle, and you are the cast of one of television’s most beloved shows.
It’s a moody, damp day in late spring, with clouds lingering overhead, as my chauffeur (okay, Lyft driver) drops me off on a gravel drive leading to a stone castle. Aside from the whinnying of a horse in the distance, the only sound comes from my feet crunching on the stones. I pause before opening the massive front door, half expecting a butler to do it for me. Inside, a maid clad in a black dress and ruffled white apron stands at the ready, while a pair of footmen flank an arched doorway.
This is not Downton Abbey, the fictional home of the also fictional Crawley family, nor is it Highclere Castle, the picture-perfect British estate that for six seasons served as the backdrop to the blockbuster period drama Downton Abbey. Rather, it is Castle Hill on the Crane Estate, about an hour outside Boston, where three of the series’s stars have gathered for a photo shoot to promote the feature-length Downton Abbey film, which comes out later this month.
The setting, a seaside mansion built in 1928 for a Chicago industrialist, is a glorious stand-in for the real deal, with its rolling green lawns and impressive stonework. Add to that the uniformed employees, and I am transported back to England in the 1920s, to the fanciful world of the Crawley family and the staff that served them (even if the employees at the Crane Estate get to clock out at the end of every day).
Which is why I’m having a hard time remembering to call the assembled trio of actors by their real names—Michelle Dockery, Laura Carmichael, and Allen Leech—and not those of the characters we’ve all come to admire: Lady Mary, the haughty eldest daughter of Lord Crawley; Lady Edith, Mary’s sister and bête noire; and Tom Branson, a former chauffeur who married up, joining the family as the husband to the third sister, Lady Sybil Crawley.
The Cast of Downton Abbey Reverses Their Signature Roles
Castmates Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern, Joanne Froggatt, and Sophie McShera flip the script on their traditional roles to welcome September’s much anticipated Downton Abbey movie.
At a stuccoed country house location in the middle of West London, the world of Downton Abbey is being turned upside down. “Oh, I could get used to this,” says Sophie McShera, a.k.a. kitchen maid turned cook Daisy Mason, as she lounges on a velvet sofa in pink organza Dolce & Gabbana, while a toned-down Elizabeth McGovern, a.k.a. Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham, serves tea. “I’m usually carrying trays and wearing a gray sack!”
Next door, in another ornately appointed room, Michelle Dockery, a.k.a. Lady Mary Crawley, has stepped into the shoes of her trusted lady’s maid, Anna Bates, while Joanne Froggatt, the actress who plays her, ponders which designer shoes to wear. “After so many years of playing Lady Mary, it was fun to switch roles and play a maid for Bazaar,” says Dockery. “Anna waited on Lady Mary so faithfully over the years—dressing her, mending her clothes, and brushing her hair. It was nice to be able to wait on Jo for a change.”
Playful giggles ring out around the set. After six seasons, three Golden Globe Awards, 15 Primetime Emmys, and a Guinness World Record (for the most critically acclaimed TV show of all time), these Downton girls are loving every minute of their “school reunion.” It’s fun, they say, to swap their usual roles. “We know our characters like old friends,” says Froggatt, laughing at the memory of stepping back into the very same maid’s outfit she thought she had taken off for the last time four years ago as she prepared for filming. “The real challenge,” adds McGovern, whose real-life regal poise does not disappoint, “has always been trying to keep the characters fresh.”