'Downton Abbey' offers visit to the past to reunite with old friends

HOLLYWOOD (KABC) -- Four years after the TV series ended, the large, ensemble cast from the Emmy-winning "Downton Abbey" are reuniting - this time on the big screen - to continue the tale of the wealthy Crawley family and the large staff that helps take care of them.

"I felt personally as though we'd never left, that the house was exactly the same," said Elizabeth McGovern, who plays Cora Crawley. "All the old jokes, the old games, we slid right back in!"

Actor Hugh Bonneville said he's been humbled both by fans' initial reaction to the show, and how their devotion to the characters has grown over the years.

"We weren't sure if our audience would get out of their arm chairs to go to the theater, but we've been bowled over by the tremendous affection from our audiences," said Bonneville.

At the center of the plot for the movie, the residents of "Downton Abbey" prepare for a royal visit. We asked McGovern how long it took to master the art of the proper "curtsy."

"How long did it take me to recover is the question!" laughed McGovern. "But we won't talk about it. It's easy to go down, not that easy to get up again."

The actors are aware that Highclere Castle, the stately home that doubles for Downton Abbey, is now listed on AirBnB. They offer a word of caution to any potential guests.

"Having been fortunate enough to stay there myself, I would just put it this way: not many rooms are on-suite so if you're lucky enough, take a dressing gown and slippers," said Bonneville.

"And an extra blanket!" added McGovern.

"Downton Abbey" is in theaters Friday, Sept. 20 and is rated PG.
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