Costume designer Anna Robbins has been in the business of making bespoke costumes for productions for years. In fact, in the world of Downton Abbey alone, she’s worked with the franchise for quite some time, having designed for the series across its last couple of seasons as well as for the first Downton film. However, the latest sequel A New Era presented its own set of challenges, namely due to the movie’s filming timeline, which took place in the summer of 2021 and led to some particular difficulties for Ms. Robbins and her team.
Covid was an time for a lot of film productions and we’ve heard from films as varied as Mission: Impossible 7, which went to wild lengths to manage safety protocols, to Jake Gyllenhaal’s The Guilty – which filmed some on Zoom– about challenges the filming industry has faced. Speaking ahead of Downton Abbey: A New Era’s big streaming and Digital debut, Anna Robbins shared some of the particular challenges her department faced, which really goes to show that every portion of productions have been affected over the last couple of years.
During a visit to the UK ahead of Downton Abbey: A New Era’s Digital, streaming, Blu-ray and DVD release, we were actually able to visit Belchamp Hall, which was where Tom and Lucy’s large wedding scene took place. Charles Raymond and his family, who own the property, also described to me tents that covered the lawn in order to accommodate Covid testing and more to ensure the big ensemble moments could happen, so it wasn’t just the costuming team that saw challenges with filming a much larger film this time around.
Likewise for Anna Robbins, the “weirdest challenge” wasn’t simply the sheer number of costumes that needed to be created to accommodate a storyline set in both the UK and in the French Riviera. She said Covid challenges also really complicated her job this time around, as well.
Anna Robbins certainly knows how to turn some sour lemons into lemonade, here, and it actually reminds me a little bit of what director Simon Curtis also told me about taking the movie’s original somber ending and turning it into something that could be celebrated, which also became a silver lining moment at the end of the film. Ultimately, there may have been more challenges on Downton Abbey: A New Era than the previous movies, but A New Era is a delightful sequel and manages to hit a bunch of solid notes for its fans.
If you haven’t gotten the opportunity to watch it yet, you can do so with a Peacock Premium subscription or order your own copy now. Blu-ray and DVD copies of A New Era are already available for pre-order and will officially hit homes on July 5, though the Digital is available now.
Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News
Jessica Rawden is Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. She’s been kicking out news stories since 2007 and joined the full-time staff in 2014. She oversees news content, hiring and training for the site, and her areas of expertise include theme parks, rom-coms, Hallmark (particularly Christmas movie season), reality TV, celebrity interviews and primetime. She loves a good animated movie. Jessica has a Masters in Library Science degree from Indiana University, and used to be found behind a reference desk most definitely not shushing people. She now uses those skills in researching and tracking down information in very different ways.