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 reveals ‘responsibility’ of taking Downton Abbey to Hollywood
MiNFOOD exclusive: ‘Never go back’, they say. And yet, in the case of Michelle Dockery, as a fan first and an actress second, the yearning to unveil the next chapter of the Downton Abbey narrative was simply too great to resist.
For five years from 2010, television drama Downton Abbey ascended, almost imperiously, to the point of attaining cult status, as did its characters.
Perhaps it was the mystery, the intrigue, perhaps just the accessibility, or maybe, quite simply, in the social and economic climates of chaos that have enveloped us over the course of the past decade, we all just needed a generous dose of wild escapism.
Whatever the reason, a global fanbase was able to witness actress Michelle Dockery’s whirlwind elevation from British TV also-ran to arguably the ultimate doyenne of period drama dynamism.