Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

'Downton' Author Brings a Favorite Novelist to TV

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

'Downton' Author Brings a Favorite Novelist to TV

Article excerpt

LOS ANGELES * Respect is due Julian Fellowes, who as a prolific writer has conquered TV with Emmy-winning "Downton Abbey," film with "Gosford Park," which earned him an Oscar, and theater with "School of Rock The Musical," a Tony Award nominee. So which author does he most admire?

Anthony Trollope, at least among the 19th century's array of superstar novelists that includes Jane Austen and Charles Dickens.

Fellowes has fulfilled his goal of adapting Trollope for the screen with "Doctor Thorne," a four-part series that arrived Friday on Amazon. The Weinstein Co. production stars the versatile and remarkable Tom Hollander ("The Night Manager," "Mission Impossible- Rogue Nation") in the title role, with Stefanie Martini as Mary, the physician's adored niece.

She lands in the crosshairs of Lady Arabella (Rebecca Front), who's determined to quash her son's love for the commoner and steer him toward an American heiress (Alison Brie, "Mad Men").

"Doctor Thorne" marks Fellowes' first TV series to air since a moment of silence, please the end of "Downton Abbey." He's also written an online serialized novel, "Belgravia," about class conflict in 1800s England, and is starting work on an as-yet- unscheduled NBC series set in 1800s America, "The Gilded Age."

In an interview from London with the Associated Press, Fellowes discusses how he sees the past, what he's working on for the future and, succinctly, competing at the June 12 Tony Awards with Broadway sensation "Hamilton" in the category of best book for a musical.

Q * Why is Trollope a favorite of yours?

A * There is something about Trollope's voice that I have always found very appealing. He has a kind of mercy, a sort of nonjudgmental quality which actually I find very modern. None of his characters are all bad or all good; they're somewhere in the middle. And even his heroines make mistakes, which in Dickens you never get. Trollope's women are real, and I find that very beguiling.

Q * How is "Gilded Age" coming along?

A * I'm trying to clear my decks of everything else, because when I start "Gilded Age" I don't want to be writing it with three other things going on at the same time. …

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