The “Downton Abbey” sequel is set to shoot this summer if coronavirus rules allow with film bosses hoping for a festive release.
Insiders have revealed that shooting will begin as soon as coronavirus rules allow, with movie bosses hoping for a Christmas release.
All the main cast members are reportedly on board for the project and Highclere Castle in Berkshire – which doubles for the Downton estate in Yorkshire – is available for filming in the early summer, before it opens to the public for eight weeks from July.
A source told the Daily Mirror newspaper: "Everyone is hoping the June 21 date for the end of the pandemic holds. The crew dates are being fixed and the team are going into prep for a summer shoot.
"The plan is to turn it around quickly and release the film in December."
Hugh Bonneville, who plays Lord Grantham, recently said that the cast were "desperate" to make the sequel to the 2019 movie – which continues the story of the TV period drama series.
The 57-year-old actor said: "We are desperate to do it. It's the sort of pleasurable release of a movie like the first one that audiences would enjoy after all of this mess we have been through."
Jim Carter, who plays the butler Carson, has teased that the film's script is "very funny" and has "got all the same characters in".
The first “Downton Abbey” movie proved to be a hit with audiences and critics and Michelle Dockery – who plays Lady Mary – said that the reception "exceeded expectations".
She explained: "We were thrilled and, like with any show you're a part of, you just never know what the appetite will be out there.
"Of course, people were wanting it to happen and willing it to happen, so we did it.
"But you never know how it's going to turn out.
"However, it exceeded our expectations.
"It was thrilling to see it happen."