Downton Abbey faces another American invasion as Sideways star Paul Giamatti to play Countess Cora's brother
Sideways star Paul Giamatti is set to join the cast of Downton Abbey in the fourth series from creator Julian Fellowes.
The American actor will play Harold Levinson, the maverick, playboy uncle of Mary and Edith Crawley, and brother of Countess Cora, in the next series of the ITV period drama which starts this Autumn.
He will also make an appearance in this year's Christmas special alongside returning American family-member Shirely MacLaine, who plays his mother Martha.
Giamatti, who earned an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his role in HBO’s John Adams, will join a number of new faces who have signed for the fourth series, including Tom Cullen, Nigel Harman, Julian Ovenden, Joanna David and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.
Gareth Neame, Downton Abbey executive producer, described Harold as a “free-spirited” character. He promised that both Giamatti and MacLaine will “upset the Granthams' apple cart”.
The casting of another American star is a tactical move from the show’s producers as the drama continues its successful run in the US on PBS.
It has become the highest-rated drama in the channel’s history, attracting 8 million viewers by the end of series three, and winning six Emmy awards.
Broadcaster unveils Christmas scheduleTV
Jeff Fletcher found fame in 1990s
'At times I thought he was me'film
Review: One Direction, Fourmusic
Review: The World of Ice and Firebooks
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Bill Cosby: Isn’t it obvious why his accusers have stayed silent up until now?
- 4 Halle Berry takes ex-boyfriend Gabriel Aubry to court for allegedly trying to make daughter look less African-American
- 5 Isis propaganda image showing 'abuse of Muslim woman by soldiers' is actually taken from Hungarian porn film
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Exclusive: UK approved £7m Israeli arms sales in six months before Gaza conflict