WITH SPOILERS Well, well. If, like me, you can’t stand to hear one more person mention “Homeland,” the win at the SAG Awards last night for “Downton Abbey” was really a vindication. As the third season of the UK costume drama brings darkness to the Crawley family, they at least finally got a reward for top notch work: Best Ensemble, Drama. And that’s what they are, of course, the very best ensemble even as some members of the cast are being written off. Last night, just as “Downton” won its award, Jessica Brown Findlay, the cherubic and politically minded Lady Sybil. bid farewell to the show. Her illness? Death by contract–actually eclampsia.
The “Downton” actors only committed to three seasons up front, and a few of them are jumping ship, hoping to become big stars. Dan Stevens — aka Matthew– exits at the end of this season while he’s on Broadway in “The Heiress” with Jessica Chastain. Matthew is starting to give a comic cross eyed look during every scene, as if he’s in a Zucker-Abrams parody of “Downton,” so maybe it’s best Matthew meets his maker rather sooner than later. This is not “Downtown Abbey,” quite.
Lady Sybil was already off camera quite a bit, and her character wasn’t as well defined as Mary or snippy Edith. Findlay-Brown is not disappearing, however. She’s got a bunch of films in the can already including including Akiva Goldsman’s “Winter’s Tale,” set in New York in the 1800s.This is based on Mark Helprin’s wonderful novel. Colin Farrell is her co-star.
Findlay Brown has a great agent in Esther Chang at WME, who also represents Dan Stevens and Lady Mary, Michelle Dockery, Findlay Brown is also managed by Susan Bymel, who I think we can agree has done a pretty fair job with Anne Hathaway. No, even as the Crawleys mourn Sybil they may take solace in the fact that she’s left them for the bright lights of Hollywood.
PS Just looking at pictures from last night of “Downton”‘s Mrs. Hughes, Phyllis Logan, was quite glamorous, It made me a little sad that Mrs. Hughes is total fiction–but shows you what a good actress Logan is– as well as the rest of that terrific ensemble.