Julian Fellowes

Creator / Writer / Executive Producer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his hour-and-a-half Archive interview, Julian Fellowes talks about his early life and discovering his interest in performing. He recalls his first experiences as an actor and making the decision early on to be a film or television actor rather than a stage performer. He recounts appearing in several BBC series and the feature films "Full Circle" and "Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend." He discusses looking for acting work in Los Angeles and almost being cast as Hervé Villechaize's replacement on Fantasy Island. Fellowes then outlines his transition to becoming a a writer, shares how he was tapped to write the feature film "Gosford Park" for director Robert Altman, and explains how the project eventually led to Gareth Neame approaching him to write what became Downton Abbey. Fellowes details the creation and writing of Downton Abbey, finding the right location to shoot it, and dealing with departing cast members. He comments on Downton Abbey's popularity, and talks of how audiences have reacted to the program's controversial storylines. Amy Harrington conducted the interview on May 4, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. 

"The skeleton of 'Downton Abbey' was, in fact, American. It was much more like 'West Wing' and 'ER' and these very pacey, multi-narrative stories. We consciously were making them to this modern energy, to this thing where you can't miss it. You pick up the phone - 'No, no, I'm watching 'Downton Abbey' - because you know if you miss more than a minute you've lost part of one of the stories. It was right for the zeitgeist."  

Highlights
Julian Fellowes on writing the feature film "Gosford Park" for director Robert Altman
07:52
Julian Fellowes on how he came to write Downton Abbey
08:23
Julian Fellowes on the structure of Downton Abbey
03:59
Julian Fellowes on his life as an actor in Los Angeles, leaving the city, and almost being cast on Fantasy Island
02:47
Julian Fellowes on his favorite storylines from Downton Abbey
06:40
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on his early interest in performing and entertainment
11:28
On his first roles in television as an actor and learning how to act in front of the camera; on his first feature film as an actor, "Full Circle"; on moving to Los Angeles
13:10
On appearing in the feature film "Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend"; on making the transition from acting to writing
11:38
On writing the feature film "Gosford Park" for director Robert Altman; on acting on Monarch of the Glen  and various other British series 
13:51
On how he came to write Downton Abbey
08:23

Chapter 2

On the structure of Downton Abbey; on initial public reaction to the program and to particular storylines
08:26
On the rape storyline on Downton Abbey; on plotting out Downton Abbey; on his writing process
07:55
On his favorite storylines on Downton Abbey; on the legacy of Downton Abbey; on advice to those starting out in the television business
13:54
Shows

Downton Abbey

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Julian Fellowes on how he came to write Downton Abbey
08:23
Julian Fellowes on the structure of Downton Abbey
03:59
Julian Fellowes on initial public reaction to Downton Abbey
03:11
Julian Fellowes on viewer reaction to the storylines on Downton Abbey
01:16
Julian Fellowes on the rape storyline on Downton Abbey
03:35
Julian Fellowes on plotting out Downton Abbey and his writing process
04:20
Julian Fellowes on his favorite storylines from Downton Abbey
06:39
Julian Fellowes on the legacy of Downton Abbey
03:59

Fantasy Island

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Julian Fellowes on his life as an actor in Los Angeles, leaving the city, and almost being cast on Fantasy Island
02:47
Topics

Advice

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Julian Fellowes on advice to those starting out in the television business 
02:57

Diversity in Television

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Julian Fellowes on the rape storyline on Downton Abbey
03:34

First Big Break

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Julian Fellowes on writing the feature film "Gosford Park" for director Robert Altman
07:52

Historic Events and Social Change

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Julian Fellowes on the rape storyline on Downton Abbey
03:34

Pivotal Career Moments

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Julian Fellowes on writing the feature film "Gosford Park" for director Robert Altman
07:52

Television Industry

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Julian Fellowes on advice to those starting out in the television business 
02:57

Women

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Julian Fellowes on the rape storyline on Downton Abbey
03:34
Professions

Show Creators

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Julian Fellowes on the structure of Downton Abbey
03:59
Julian Fellowes on plotting out Downton Abbey  and his writing process
04:20
Julian Fellowes on advice to those starting out in the television business 
02:57
Genres

Daytime/Primetime Serials

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Julian Fellowes on how he came to write Downton Abbey
08:23
Julian Fellowes on writing Downton Abbey  (Part 2) 
26:59
People

Robert Altman

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Julian Fellowes on writing the feature film "Gosford Park" for director Robert Altman
07:52

Gareth Neame

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Julian Fellowes on how he came to write Downton Abbey
08:23

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