According to the Hollywood Reporter, Shirley MacLaine will join the cast of Downton Abbey as filming begins next month taking the DA saga into the 1920’s. MacLaine will play Martha Levinson, the American mother of Lady Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern).
Laura Mackie, director of drama at ITV, said, “It is so exciting to have an actress of Shirley MacLaine’s stature joining our brilliant Downton Abbey cast for series three and a tribute to the show’s success on both sides of the Atlantic.”
“My late grandfather directed Shirley MacLaine in Gambit in 1966 so it is a delight for me that she will be joining us on Downton Abbey,” said Carnival managing director Gareth Neame. “Julian has written another brilliant character in Martha Levinson, who will be a wonderful combatant for Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess and we are excited at the prospect of Shirley MacLaine playing her.”
The third season is expected to premiere in the U.K. in September, with a U.S. premiere to follow, most likely in January of 2013 as part of PBS’ Masterpiece Classic series. Yes, I know, we’re only 1/2 way through the second series at this point in the States, but I’m already looking forward to a few Kodak moments when MacLaine’s character crosses paths with the Dowager Countess.