‘Downton Abbey’ Production Designer Featured in Hollywood Reporter’s ‘Behind the Screen’ Podcast

Emmy-winning production designer Donal Woods, who returned to Downton Abbey for its jump from series to motion picture, is featured in a new episode of The Hollywood Reporter’s Behind the Screen.

When the series Downton Abbey aired from 2010-2015, its rich period look was Emmy nominated for production design for each of its six seasons, and won the Emmy in 2016.

This work was led by its production designer Donal Woods, also nominated for three BAFTAs and three Art Directors Guild awards for the series. Woods — who has earned a total of eight Emmy nominations and one win — has a list of credits that also includes Cranford, My Week with Marilyn and Homeland.

In this new podcast, he talks about his work on Downton Abbey, the series as well as the upcoming movie, which Focus Features releases on Sept. 20.

Set in 1927, the new film is directed by Michael Engler from a script by series creator Julian Fellowes and stars many of the original series cast members including Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery and Maggie Smith. The production involved lavish sets as well location work around the U.K. — including Highclere Castle near Newbury, U.K., which provides the exterior of the fictional title estate.

Woods also talks about being reunited with cast and crew, including “tour de force” Maggie Smith who gets “the best lines.”

Hosted by THR tech editor Carolyn Giardina, Behind the Screen features interviews with directors, cinematographers, editors, production designers and other artists behind the making of motion pictures and episodic series.



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“Ne Zha,” a computer-animated feature of bright hues, hectic action

“Ne Zha,” a computer-animated feature of bright hues, hectic action and only occasional charm, has already been a huge hit in China, where the title character is a familiar figure from mythology, literature, television and other films. The movie (directed by Jiao Zi), which assumes a passing acquaintance with that history — and has been trumpeted in its home country for its elaborate effects — offers an origin story for the boy hero.

I enjoyed the jolt of strangeness delivered by this world of demons stalking the Earth. But the action is hit-and-miss. There’s an exceptionally good scene as Ne Zha fights off a sea monster that turns its enemies into stone. (The antidote involves a yucky, slimy bodily fluid.) If only the rest of the action sequences had the same energy and lightness of touch.



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A nostalgic scene that turns into a nightmarish It 2

A nostalgic scene that turns into a nightmarish vision and takes place in a local Chinese restaurant, each of its members is forced to return, alone, to a place and moment in the past, which for some is traumatic. Everyone, except Mike, repressed the events and horrors of that struggle that their girls waged against “this,” but their present lives are still affected – even without being aware of it. “This: Part 2″ is, in other words, a movie about trying to break free from old trauma that haunts each of its heroes.


The only woman in the group, we learn, had to deal with her abusive father and mother who had committed suicide, while among the screenwriter, the guilt of his younger brother who was then slaughtered by Pennywise is rising. In King’s books, parents are often the real monsters (by “Carrie,” “The Spark,” and “Cemetery Live”), which makes the presence of the Satanic Clown a representation of existential evil. To bed only to find out later that he is right next to us









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Toronto: Saban Films Nabs Aaron Eckhart’s Action-Thriller ‘Line of Duty’

The indie, directed by Steven C. Miller, was written by Jeremy Drysdale and also stars Courtney Eaton, Dina Meyer, Giancarlo Esposito and Ben McKenzie (Gotham). The film follows a disgraced cop (Eckhart) who finds himself in a race against time to find a kidnap victim whose abductor he accidentally killed.

With the young woman having only 80 minutes to live and a crazed killer after him, the cop has to team with an online reporter (Eaton) who wants to broadcast the chase live.

Line of Duty was produced by The Solution Entertainment Group’s Myles Nestel and Craig Chapman; Skip Williamson; Scott LaStaiti; Martin Sprock; Tiffany Stone; Renee Tab; and Christopher Tuffin.

“This fast-paced thriller is action-packed and bound to captivate audiences and keep them on their toes. It’s a testament to Steven’s skills as a filmmaker and the cast, led by Aaron, give stunning performances,” Saban Films’ Bill Bromiley said Thursday in a statement.



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