"The skeleton of 'Downton Abbey' was, in fact, American. It was much more like 'West Wing' and 'ER' and these very pacey, multi-narrative stories. We consciously were making them to this modern energy, to this thing where you can't miss it. You pick up the phone - 'No, no, I'm watching 'Downton Abbey' - because you know if you miss more than a minute you've lost part of one of the stories. It was right for the zeitgeist."
About This Interview
In his hour-and-a-half Archive interview, Julian Fellowes talks about his early life and discovering his interest in performing. He recalls his first experiences as an actor and making the decision early on to be a film or television actor rather than a stage performer. He recounts appearing in several BBC series and the feature films "Full Circle" and "Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend." He discusses looking for acting work in Los Angeles and almost being cast as Hervé Villechaize's replacement on Fantasy Island. Fellowes then outlines his transition to becoming a a writer, shares how he was tapped to write the feature film "Gosford Park" for director Robert Altman, and explains how the project eventually led to Gareth Neame approaching him to write what became Downton Abbey. Fellowes details the creation and writing of Downton Abbey, finding the right location to shoot it, and dealing with departing cast members. He comments on Downton Abbey's popularity, and talks of how audiences have reacted to the program's controversial storylines. Amy Harrington conducted the interview on May 4, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California.