'Downton Abbey's' Laura Carmichael on Shirley MacLaine, Lady Edith's first kiss and more
"I was cast quite late on in the process. I had just landed a theatre role when the call came in," says Carmichael, of winning a part on the show. "I thought I'd have to turn down a great play to do/read a couple of lines. I was gobsmacked to find it was a principle character. It was a very exciting time."
"Everyone was keen to put me at ease," she continues, as it was her first major acting role. "My first scene was with lovely Hugh (Lord G) and he was kind & really put me at ease."
When asked if she prefers playing Season 1 Lady Edith or Season 2 Lady Edith, Carmichael says, "Both. It's great for the character to progress as I believe she would, living through the Great War. I've loved seeing her soften in Julian's writing ... as much as she was not always very nice in the first series, I understood where she was coming from. It's part of your job as an actor to understand why they do what they do. Its nice to see how the war and the heartache over Sir Anthony etc. has changed her."
When asked which of the "downstairs" characters she would play, Carmichael says, " I think i should like to be Mrs Patmore. She comes out with some cracking lines."
And does she have a favorite Lady Edith scene? " I think my fave is the scene when Mary confronts her about sending the letter. It was a heart pounding sort of a scene," says Carmichael.
One of Lady Edith's big Season 2 storylines was her involvement at the Drake family farm, where she drove the tractor and was briefly involved with Mr. Drake. Carmichael says of that storyline, " Well, let's face it that was Edith's first kiss. The first man to call her beautiful and 'fine.' She was away from her family and everyone who knows her and I think it was very liberating. Just too tempting!"
The Downton family is about to start production on Season 3, which we already know features Oscar-winner Shirley MacLaine as Lady Cora's American mother, making her Lady Edith's other grandmother. Just how excited is Carmichael about MacLaine joining the cast?
"VERY EXCITED! I'm sure we all going to be terribly star-struck to begin with! I can't wait to see what Julian has in store," says Carmichael. She also says they start filming next week.
We're very excited too, Lady Edith. "Downton Abbey" airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET/PT on PBS. If you'd like to join in the last chat of Season 2, PBS is hosting Allen Leech (Branson) on Monday, Feb. 13.