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Downton Abbey film to start production in September - report

Dame Maggie Smith has previously made it clear she wasn't a fan of the show being turned into a movie.

Production on the long-rumoured Downton Abbey movie adaptation is set to begin in September (17), according to a new report.

Show creator Julian Fellowes has allegedly inked a deal to reunite with the period drama's producers at Carnival Films to move forward with the much-anticipated project, two years after the TV finale aired in the U.K. in late 2015.

"Film bosses have requested the services of crew members and accountants to work on the picture," a source tells The Sun.

"A budget has been set and now it's a case of getting everything in place to start shooting. It would take something big to stop the project from happening now."

Downton Abbey fans have been patiently waiting for cameras to start rolling on the movie version ever since Fellowes confirmed he had started work on a screenplay in January (17).

"I've done some work on it because I don't want to be caught out if they (producers) suddenly say yes and then it's all go," he divulged to the London Evening Standard.

"But there's a lot of things - can we round up all the cast? Can we get them? Also we just need the green light at the beginning. So I don't know any more than that at the moment to be honest."

Hopes for a Downton Abbey film were further fuelled weeks later after Jeremy Swift, who played Septimus Spratt on the show, claimed an early version of the script had been distributed to the cast members.

Speaking on British talk show Lorraine, he said, "It's supposed to be happening. Filming this year... but it hasn't been locked down yet. It's just getting everybody in that same space and time... I think there's a huge appetite for it."

It is not yet known if all of the main stars, including Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, and Joanne Froggatt will be returning to the franchise, but many have expressed their eagerness to reunite onscreen.

In March (17), Dockery, who portrayed Lady Mary Crawley, told E! News, "I don't know when (a film will happen), but I'm hopeful," adding, "I miss the show and my friends on the show.''

However, there is one key co-star who has yet to be won over by the idea of a Downton Abbey movie - Dame Maggie Smith, known for her role as the Dowager Countess of Grantham, previously joked screenwriters had been "squeezing the plot dry" for the six seasons of the popular drama.

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