Maggie Smith

Everyone Looks Incredible in These New ‘Downton Abbey’ Movie Posters

Leslie Nichol and Sophie McShera in "Downton Abbey" (Photo: Focus Features)

Thank goodness for Downton Abbey.

In a world that can often feel like it’s gone mad from general awfulness, the cast of everyone’s favorite period drama can always be counted upon to look amazing in promotional materials. And, thankfully, we’ve got some more of them, as a whole new set of character photos have dropped in advance of the highly anticipated feature film’s September release.

'Tea with the Dames' Features No Tea But Offers Some Priceless Insights

If you’ve ever daydreamed about sitting down for a heartfelt chat and a cup of tea with a few of Britain’s most legendary living actresses, Tea with the Dames is your dream come true.

The subjects of this documentary are Dames Eileen Atkins, Judi DenchJoan Plowright and Maggie Smith. Prompted by questions asked off-screen by director Roger Michell, the dames talk candidly and sometimes irreverently about their professional experiences as well as their more personal thoughts on aging and family. What stands out most is the genuine affection and friendship between these women who have shared stages, sets and the unusual experience of living most of their lives in the spotlight

The 'Downton Abbey' Cast: What Are They Up To Now?

(Photo: (Photo: Nick Briggs/Carnival Film and Television for MASTERPIECE)

It’s been a few months since we sadly had to say farewell to period drama Downton Abbey and the many popular stars that comprised its cast. Knowing that come this January, we won’t see the familiar faces of Michelle Dockery, Hugh Bonneville or Maggie Smith on our screens every Sunday night still feels pretty surreal, and to be honest, is something we are all probably trying to avoid thinking about as much as possible.

But, even though Downton is gone (SNIFF), it doesn’t mean that we’ve said goodbye to all the great actors who played the Crawley clan forever. Many of the show’s stars have brand new projects in the works (many of which look markedly different from their respective roles when they were at Highclere). 

So let’s see what they’ve been up to, shall we? 

New Trailer for ‘The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’

A new trailer has been released for the highly anticipated sequel to heartwarming 2012 comedy The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, if the new clip is anything to go by, it pretty much looks as though we’re kind of in for more of the same as we go back to India for a second stay. However, in this case, “more of the same” is a perfectly acceptable and actually quite desirable outcome as the first film is so lovely.

Creatively titled The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, the sequel will continue to follow the story of a group of British retirees making a home for themselves in a second-rate Indian retirement hotel. Eight months have passed since the events of the original film and, with the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and the Beautiful nearing capacity, owner-manager Sonny Kapoor (Dev Patel) is looking to expand his business empire. Or, at least build another retirement home.

The Trailer for ‘The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ is Here

The sequel to heartwarming British film – and surprise box office hit – The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel has been highly anticipated since production was confirmed last Fall, and now fans everywhere can rejoice, because a trailer is finally here!

Creatively titled The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, the film will continue to follow the story of a group of British retirees making a home for themselves in a second-rate Indian retirement hotel. The main cast from the original – comprised of such British acting royalty as Dame Judi Dench, Dame Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton, Celia Imrie and more – are all back for the sequel, which will take place eight months later, as ambitious hotel owner-manager Sonny Kapoor (Dev Patel) attempts to open a second business.

The gang of Marigold Hotel regulars will be joined by several new faces, including characters played by Richard Gere, David Straithairn and Tamsin Greig.

Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess of Grantham in "Downton Abbey". (Photo: Courtesy of ©Carnival Film & Television Limited 2011 for MASTERPIECE

British Actresses You Should Know: The Great Dame Maggie Smith

The great Dame Maggie Smith celebrates the anniversary of her birth on December 28, and since she herself is a treasure that deserves to be celebrated basically every day of the calendar year, it seemed fitting to include her in our guide to British Actors You Should Know. (Many happy returns, Dame Maggie! We love you!)

Obviously, we’re pretty sure that you in fact do know who Maggie Smith is. She’s such an accomplished performer that it would be hard to have missed her completely. But, whether you know her primarily as Downton Abbey’s acid-tongue matriarch or Harry Potter’s awesome Transfiguration teacher, Smith has a back catalogue of work that’s well worth checking out if you haven’t seen the bulk of it before.

A few favorites are below – and this list is in no way comprehensive of everything she’s done, just warning y’all about that up front.

'Great Performances' to Air National Theatre 50th Anniversary Celebration in February

Britain’s National Theatre celebrates its 50th anniversary this year – much like several other well-known British institutions, including the Rolling Stones and, of course, Doctor Who. For those that don’t know, the NT is one of the UK’s two most prominent publicly funded theatre companies, alongside the Royal Shakespeare Company. It presents a varied program, staging everything from Shakespeare and international classic dramas to new and modern works by contemporary playwrights.

Many of the British actors we all love have done stints at the NT, performing a wide variety of roles in various productions. And by many, we really mean pretty much everyone ever who works in British entertainment. Familiar faces like Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Derek Jacobi, Michael Gambon, Helen Mirren and many, many more are all alumni of the National Theatre and clearly remain very fond of it.

Earlier this Fall, the BBC held an all-star gala event in honor of the 50th birthday of this cultural institution and the stars turned out in force to celebrate. The program was basically a dream for anyone who loves theater or has been any sort of fan of British television or film over the past couple of decades and we all were basically green with envy that we had to miss out on seeing this once-in-a-lifetime line-up for ourselves. Well, we can all turn a little less green – because the special is going to be aired in America.

Read on for more.

Celebrate 50 Years of the National Theatre with Every British Actor Ever

Well, not quite. But that’s what it feels like.

Britain’s National Theatre celebrates its 50th anniversary this year – much like several other British greats, including the Rolling Stones and, of course, Doctor Who. For those that don’t know, the NT is one of the UK’s two most prominent publicly funded theatre companies, alongside the Royal Shakespeare Company. It presents a varied program, staging everything from Shakespeare and international classic dramas to new and modern works by contemporary playwrights.

Saturday night the BBC ran an all-star gala event in celebration of the British theatrical institution – which has featured many of the UK’s acting greats treading its boards over the years – crossing the half-century mark and it was basically a dream program for anyone who has ever been any sort of fan of British film, television or drama. The celebration featured snippets from some of the NT’s most celebrated plays and musicals from the past fifty years, performed by a wide array of British acting greats. Dame Judi Dench sang Send in the Clowns from Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music. Dame Maggie Smith (one of the six members of the original NT company in 1963) performed a scene from The Beaux Strategem. Dame Helen Mirren did a scene from Mourning Becomes Electra. James Corden reprised his role from One Man, Two Guvnors, Alan Bennett performed Richard Griffith’s famous role from The History Boys. Michael Gambon and Sir Derek Jacobi did a scene from Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land together. Joey, the amazing puppet from War Horse, put in an appearance. And that’s not even close to everyone who participated. All in all, you couldn’t ask for a more magical evening.

Watch a video montage of scenes from the gala’s rehearsals and play spot the famous face as you go.

A Sequel to 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' is Actually Happening; Filming to Begin in 2014

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a heartwarming British film about a group of retirees who are duped into spending their golden years in an over-hyped Indian retirement hotel, features an all-star cast that basically reads like an wishlist of British acting royalty, including Dame Judi Dench, Dame Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Dev Patel, Celia Imrie and more. It also grossed more than $130 million dollars at the box office worldwide.

Thus, you can probably guess why rumors of a Marigold Hotel sequel have been swirling around the internet for well over a year. Yet, despite the strong likelihood of a sequel happening – and the obvious excitement with which such a film would doubtless be greeted – no concrete details managed to emerge.

Until now.

Dame Maggie Smith Gets a National Portrait Gallery Painting: What Do We Think?

Dame Maggie Smith, the indomitable Dowager Countess of Downton Abbey and general luminary of stage and screen who has won seven BAFTA awards and two Oscars is certainly deserving of an official portrait in Britain’s National Portrait Gallery. It’s a great honor, and one which she has certainly earned.

So, it’s definitely a fantastic thing that the great actress has been so honored – Smith’s portrait was revealed at the London museum on April 9. However, well, it could be said that this particular bit of artwork is not quite the equal of the lady it’s depicting. (In my ever so humble opinion of course. Someone convince me I’m wrong!)

Have a look for yourselves below.

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