Downton Abbey: Paul Giamatti joins cast as 'maverick playboy' uncle
The makers of Downton Abbey have announced a new character for series four – a 'playboy' uncle for Lady Mary played by award-winning actor Paul Giamatti.
By Hannah Furness - 3:37PM BST 24 Jun 2013
Paul Giamatti, who has previously appeared in Sideways, John Adams and Cinderella Man, will play Harold, the “maverick” brother of Cora, Countess of Grantham. He will appear alongside his on-screen mother, American actress Shirley MacLaine, in the Christmas special; the climax of series four. He will join a host of new cast members, including Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Tom Cullen, Julian Ovenden, Nigel Harman, Joanna David and Gary Carr.
Programme makers have hinted the “free-spirited” character, an uncle to Lady Mary and Lady Edith, is sure to “upset the Grantham's apple cart”. Last year’s Christmas special saw Matthew Crawley, played by actor Dan Stevens, killed off in a car accident just moments after the birth of his first child. The fourth series of the popular television show is expected to follow Lady Mary as she adjusts to life as a widow.
Gareth Neame, managing director of Carnival Films which makes the programme, said, “We're excited that Paul Giamatti will be joining us on Downton to play Cora's brother Harold, the rather free-spirited uncle to Mary and Edith. “We can't wait to see him work alongside Shirley Maclaine, who are both sure to upset the Grantham's apple cart in this year's Christmas Day episode.” Other new cast members expected on screen in the autumn include Tom Cullen and Julian Ovenden, who will play dashing young aristocrats.
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa will make her Downton debut with a cameo as an opera singer, while Joanna David plays an upper class family friend. Gary Carr will play a members of a jazz band, and former soap actor Nigel Harman joins the cast as a valet. Giamatti has previous won Golden Globe, Emmy and SAG awards for his appearances in shows including John Adams, Sideways, Barney’s Version and Cinderella Man. Downton Abbey, which has already won nine Emmys, two Golden Globes, and a Screen Actors Guild Award, will return to ITV in September.
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