“Downton Abbey” star Elizabeth McGovern fears another film sequel

Elizabeth McGovern admits she thought showbiz was child’s play.

The 60-year-old actress made her feature film debut in the 1980 hit film Ordinary People, starring Donald Sutherland and Timothy Hutton and directed by Robert Redford.

“I had nothing to compare it to, so I was like, ‘God, show business is easy, isn’t it?'” She giggled in a recent interview with The Post. “I knew little! Then I kind of had to stay with it for many years, which we won’t say. But yes, that was a very special time.

“And when I think back, what an incredibly unusual director I worked with for my first job – and I appreciate it more and more,” she added.

McGovern went on to star in films like Ragtime and She’s Having a Baby, but she’s now instantly recognizable to millions of fans around the world as the beloved matriarch Cora Crawley in Downton Abbey.

Timothy Hutton and Elizabeth McGovern present "Ordinary people."
Timothy Hutton and Elizabeth McGovern in ‘Ordinary People’ from the 1980s.
Paramount Pictures / Everett Collection

She was the lone Yankee in the British period drama for its television run and reprized the role in the 2019 film and sequel Downton Abbey: A New Era.

The Evanston-born actress admitted that, like her character, she doesn’t quite understand the intricacies of the class divides portrayed in Downton Abbey.

“It’s almost like tribal rituals or something,” she said. “And it has absolutely no weight for me. It’s quite liberating not to be involved in all the machinations of Hierarchy… I mean, I literally don’t get it.

“That’s how I felt when I first moved to England and I still feel that way.”

Elizabeth McGovern and Simon Curtis.
McGovern is married to British director Simon Curtis.
Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic

McGovern married director Simon Curtis, who helmed the latest Downton Abbey film, in 1992 and the couple have two daughters together. Since then she has appeared on numerous UK shows and stages.

Her favorite character on The Abbey is Thomas Barrow, the closeted gay butler.

“I think this story is so well written and always moves me,” she said. “It feels like such an accurate representation of how someone like him would feel trapped and oppressed. And he’s a wonderful story in the film, and I really enjoyed watching that.”

Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Laura Carmichael in "Downton Abbey: A New Era."
McGovern was filming part of Downton Abbey: A New Era in the south of France. She is shown with cast members Hugh Bonneville and Laura Carmichael.
Focus Features / Courtesy Everett Collection

And does she think there will be a third film?

“I have no idea,” McGovern admitted. “I’m always the cynical one who says, ‘That’s it.’ And then, a year later, I’m back on set, so I just give up. I have no idea.

“I would hate if we push it too hard and churn out something that isn’t on the same level as what I think we’ve put out. And that’s always my fear. But you know, I don’t know. Never say Never.”

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