Michelle Dockery on the 'Downton Abbey' Movie and the Show's Complicated Relationships

Illustration by Britt Spencer

After three years, it felt like stepping back in time, but it was also like we never left," says Michelle Dockery. "It felt like a big family reunion. I loved it." Dockery is reprising her Golden-Globe nominated role as Lady Mary for the film adaptation of the British costume drama Downton Abbey. The television series follows the lives of the Crawleys—a family of British aristocrats—and their servants. Created by Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey has been nominated for more than 200 awards and won three Golden Globes.

Dockery has gone on to star in projects like Godless, Good Behavior and Non-Stop, but it's Downton Abbey that feels like home. The film picks up in 1927 with King George V and Queen Mary visiting Downton. It teases a new love interest for Tom Branson (Allen Leech) and a quarrel between matriarch Violet Crawley (Oscar-winner Maggie Smith) and Lady Bagshaw, played by Downton newcomer and Oscar-nominated actress Imelda Staunton.

When asked if there will be a sequel, Dockery quipped, "We'll just have to see how this one does."

We spoke to Dockery about Downton, reprising her role and the complicated lives of fellow characters.

How did it feel to work with everyone again?
I consider Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith) and Allen Leech my best friends. I wanted to relish it. It was a lot of fun for us all to be doing the film version.

What about the new haircut?
I love that wig. Lady Mary got bangs because what do you do when the queen and king visit? You get bangs!

What was it like to have Imelda Staunton join the cast?
We struck gold; she was so perfect for that part and the dynamic between her and Maggie Smith is so powerful.

Why didn't Mary and Tom Branson ever get together?
It would be incest! He's not her brother by blood, but they've always been friends. That was never in the cards.

Why does Mary hate Edith so much?
They're never going to be best friends, but now they both matured and can see eye-to-eye in a different way.

Why do men love Mary so much?
There's something about her and the female characters on the show that are very modern and confident. They're ahead of their time.

How was it to switch to Godless?
I loved getting back into a period drama again. I'm always drawn to three-dimensional women. I really fell in love with that character.