English actress Michelle Dockery is best known for her role as snobby Lady Mary Crawley in the highly addicting drama series Downton Abbey. She’s been nominated for an Emmy for three consecutive years. Dockery is also a jazz singer. She occasionally sings with Sadie and the Hotheads, a band formed by Elizabeth McGovern, who plays Dockery’s mother (Lady Cora) in Downton Abbey. Dockery told DailyMail that she is keen to pursue songwriting, and cites her musical influences as Peggy Lee, Melody Gardot and Billie Holiday “in her more melancholy moods.”
When not singing or on the set of Downton Abbey, Dockery has been busy filming Selfless. To be released April 2015, Selfless is an unconventional sci-fi thriller about a terminally ill billionaire (Sir Ben Kingsley) who undergoes a radical medical procedure that transfers his consciousness to the body of a healthy young man (Ryan Reynolds). Dockery plays the leading lady. Next on her Hollywood docket: Queen of the Earth, another thriller. She’s co-star with Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss.
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Michelle Dockery has admitted she was pleased when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge gave their son the same name as her baby in Downton Abbey.
The actress plays Lady Mary Crawley, who called her first-born child George on screen just months before William and Kate did the same in real life. And having heard that the royal couple are big fans of the hit ITV show, Michelle revealed she was pleased as punch.
“It was quite amazing that day, when the royals named their baby George,” she laughed. “They’re fans of the show, apparently, so who knows!”
Michelle revealed that in the upcoming fourth series of the drama, fans will see Lady Mary struggling to bond with her baby, following husband Matthew’s death in a car crash.
“She is quite detached,” said the actress. “She finds it difficult to bond with the baby at first, because he reminds her of Matthew, but I don’t think Mary was ever going to be a cooey mother. I think she’ll be a good parent, but she won’t be an incredibly maternal one.”
But Michelle, 31, said Mary is still in a far more privileged position than her peers.
“Because of the position she’s in within the aristocracy, she wouldn’t have spent that much time with her children. You have a nanny and governess to take care of everything, so she’s not exactly a struggling single mother,” she said.
The new series will see some new potential suitors for Lady Mary. They will include an old chum – Lord Gillingham – played by Tom Cullen, jazz singer Jack Ross from Chicago, played by Gary Carr, and the belligerent Charles Blake, played by Julian Ovenden.
“Mary’s coming out of her grief slowly and, of course, there are new suitors invited to the house,” said Michelle. “Inevitably, she needs to move on at some point, because of her position, and because she now has the heir to Downton.”
Michelle Dockery Plays Lady Mary
The last series of Downton Abbey began with Lady Mary in a wedding dress. This series begins with her in widow’s weeds. It’s six months after Matthew’s death and she’s still in full mourning.
“Normally three months after someone’s passed away the women would start to change into lilacs and greys and purples but Mary is refusing, even after six months, to change out of anything but black. Everyone around her is trying to bring her out of this dark spell that she’s under. In the first episode there’s an almost fairytale-like quality to things… like a sort of spell that’s been cast over Downton. It’s even shot in that way, very grey and bleak. And it only really begins to thaw when she comes out of mourning.”
The family and staff are all concerned. Several of them try to lift her out of her grief, through parties and trying to get her to meet new people.
“But she can’t move on and I don’t think Mary will for a long time. Matthew’s still very much in her thoughts.”
This stands in stark contrast to Mary’s prevailing mood throughout series three. She was settled and happy and she had a future ahead of her, until her world was turned on its head. But Dockery says that the death of Matthew has opened up new opportunities for her character.
“Initially, when we read the storyline with Matthew’s death we all thought, ‘What will happen now?’ But it has taken things down a completely different avenue. Series four is a complete contrast to series three. And I’m still discovering so many sides to her character. I like how in the first few episodes of series four Mary is retreating to being quite cold again like she was in series one. In a slightly more grown up way and for very different reasons, she was quite a superficial, spoilt brat in the first series but now she’s changed. It’s through the grief really.”
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