So we’ve got a sort of upstairs, downstairs situation. For those of you who don’t know what we’re talking about already, just move on to this story about brain food. For those of you who yelped in utter joy when you saw the photo above (and who sometimes speak in British accents on Sunday nights out of sheer excitement), you’ll appreciate what we’re about to tell you.
We photographed Downton Abbey’s Edith Crawley (aka Laura Carmichael) on gritty Sunset Boulevard during her last visit to L.A. If you’re a fan, you’re probably all “that is like, so downstairs of them.” We appreciate you giving us the response we were looking for. It was so downstairs. Seems safe to say downstairs really suits the beautiful Laura Carmichael. And while we tried not to be all “so, Michael Gregson…what’s going on there?” during our shoot, we did get lots of Downton details for you (among other things).
And P.S…stay tuned for the downstairs cast member we’re about to feature in an upstairs situation…as much as we wanted to photograph Thomas in a walk-in freezer.
From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?
Granola for breakfast – I know that sounds pretty dull but I can’t get enough granola in my life. Avocado and halloumi salad with chili dressing for lunch. For dinner, curry. I love Indian food. We have a great place near my home in London. I like it very spicy. It’s my favorite thing.
How would you describe your attitude going into this season of Downton Abbey?
I’m always excited to start the new season. I knew there were going to be some tough times for Edith. Her lover is missing, presumed dead; she’s hiding the fact that she’s had his baby but wants desperately to be part of her daughter’s life. I knew it would be a challenge but I think all actors relish that.
Were you looking forward to that sadder arc for Edith?
I don’t know that you ever look forward to those moments, but I love the fact that Julian [Fellowes] was exploring how she would have felt and how anyone might feel in that situation. That to me was very interesting, and I felt very lucky that I was getting a chance to do that.
What’s the most shocking discovery you’ve made about Edith in playing her thus far?
I guess how far she would go when crossed. In the first season, when she wrote to the Turkish Embassy, it showed the lengths she would go to get back at Mary.
What is your most memorable moment ever on the set of Downton Abbey?
My first day. The first scene I ever shot was with Hugh [Bonneville] we were in the library and Edith was crying over Patrick’s death. I was so nervous and Hugh was so kind and generous as he always is.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received from Julian Fellowes?
Every year he reminds us that nobody goes through life thinking they are the lead character’s best friend. It’s your story. Every character feels that way in every scene that they’re in.
Do you share similarities with your character?
I am the middle of three daughters but we couldn’t be closer! Nothing like Mary and Edith.
What are some of your pre and post shoot routines?
The girls have a long time in the chair in the mornings doing the wigs, so we play fun music you can sing along to, to wake us up. And at the end of the day, a long hot bath.
What’s lunch like on set?
The difficulty is resisting the desserts every day!
Is there anything surprising we’d find about your cast mates?
Yes; Hugh’s pockets are often filled with dog treats for Isis (the dog)!
Do you think there’s ever the possibility of a world where Mary and Edith are close?
…No. It would be great, but I think they are both too stubborn.
When you first started the show, did you expect it to become what it is today?
Not at all.
Who are your favorite people to follow on Twitter?
I’m a bit useless on twitter…but Allen Leech is very funny on there.
Do you personally like to cook? What’s a go-to recipe of yours?
Yes. A roast dinner (A British tradition for Sunday afternoons).
What are your favorite cities for food?
Florence, Barcelona, New York, London, and Los Angeles. In Florence and Barcelona there are so many and I can’t remember any names! Just wander around the side streets to find the amazing pasta and tapas. In London, Spring, Bob Bob Ricard, and Polpo. In New York, Emily (amazing pizza), and The Fat Radish. In L.A., Eveleigh, and Sushi Park.
Where do you love to travel?
What won’t you travel without?
Lots of shoes.
If you could host a dinner party, with any five people living or dead, who would be there? What would you cook?
My grandmothers, Coco Chanel and Patti Smith. That would be fun. I’d have to order in with a crowd that impressive!
*Laura Carmichael, photographed in Los Angeles, CA by Danielle Kosann. Laura wears a Moschino jacket, A.L.C. blouse, and Prada shoes.
Shop the perfect cups and saucers
Check out our interview with Laura’s costar on Downton – Joanne Froggatt (Anna).