• Interviews

Michelle Dockery on Downton Abbey, Defending Jacob and Stereotypes

Michelle Dockery and Chris Evans, who play the parents of a young boy accused of murdering his classmate, are ambushed by a barrage of news cameras and paparazzi. Dockery, 38, is all too familiar with this kind of jarring attention since landing her breakout role as Lady Mary Crawley in the hit series Downton Abbey. It was a decade ago when life as she knew it was forever changed.

  “I just couldn’t get my head around it, it was overwhelming. Downton took off very, very quickly, particularly in America after the first series. Certainly, I had to get used to it. It was an adjustment, absolutely.”

Matthew McConaughey in The Gentlemen as the wife of a drug baron, especially since she was using her natural Essex accent. “After those films, I think any worries [of my being sterotyped] were quickly dispelled,” she notes. “Thankfully, there are creative casting directors out there with a big imagination but I think if I was to be put into a 1920s drama it would be as if it was Lady Mary but in another house, if you know what I mean.”

The Sopranos! This is the third time I’ve done that and it is still to this day my favorite show. It’s definitely one of the best TV shows of all time.”

Edie Falco (The Sopranos’ Carmela Soprano). I think she’s the greatest actress on the planet and when we met, she was everything I imagined her to be, even though I could barely speak because I was so starstruck,” she laughs.

  At the same time, she was landing TV roles in productions such as The Red Riding Trilogy, and a BBC adaptation of The Turn of the Screw, before her breakout performance in Downton Abbey.

color:#222222’> “Yes,” she agrees. “It definitely makes you think, which is what I loved so much about the story. I think that’s what people feel when they watch it, especially any parents out there. The story touches on those universal emotions of family and children and although it’s very extreme what they’re going through, I think it’s very relatable to an audience. It certainly addresses the questions, ‘How well do you know someone?’ That is what is so compelling about Defending Jacob. It’s a fascinating kind of look into that family life and what that brings up.’

Julian Fellowes has said that for it to happen, the entire cast would need to be on board. “Yes. The way Hugh Bonneville talks about it it’s almost like we’re all holding hands and jumping in at the same time. And yes, that would have to happen if we were to do another movie.” She smiles. “I would absolutely be in, of course.”