What if Downton Abbey Was Made In The US? (Recasting The Characters)

How different would Downton Abbey look if it was made in America? Here is a possible recasting of characters for the English show.

How different would Downton Abbey look if it was made in America? How different would the humor be or the personal dynamics for that matter? The successful British show is hailed as one of the most successful period outings ever, and for good reason. The show has proved that in spite of being a period drama, it’s quite timeless and can be watched over and over again.

But if a Downton reboot was being developed for the American audiences what would the cast look like? Who would play the icy Lady Mary, Blake Lively, or maybe another one of her Gossip Girl co-stars? Would some Hollywood A-listers be interested in the project as well? Let’s do a quick exploration

9Dowager Countess: Jessica Walter

Ideally, Betty White or Meryl Streep should probably be considered to play the role of the Dowager Countess Violet Crawley, but the snobbish, high-nosed, classist countess could perhaps only be played by Archer star Jessica Walter who has quite a lot of experience playing the wealthy, imposing matriarch, be it in Arrested Development or in Archer. Maggie Smith totally made the role her own, however, in the American version there would, of course, be some necessary modification and Walter’s impeccable range could really come in handy.

8Lady Mary: Leighton Meester

There are some aspects to Mary’s character that are very similar to Meester’s Blair Waldorf, they both come off as cold and mean, however, they are quite complex and are simply trying to find their way in the world.

Meester has come a long way since her Gossip Girl days and playing Lady Mary would simply see her graduate to more serious, nuanced roles which are not as straightforward. It’s also important to note that Meester has a really wide range in acting, and anyone who has seen The Roommate will testify to that.

7Cora Crawley: Julianne Moore

Okay, so this is a wishlist and obviously getting Julianne Moore to agree to this would be very hard. But if she does agree to pursue prestige television at this point, Moore would be a perfect fit to play Cora who stood out for her kindness and polished civility. Fans have often talked about Cora’s character being explored in a different way, to bring out some more dimensions so it makes for a better personal arc for the character. But Moore could add the element of intrigue to the role.

6Robert Crawley: Jeff Daniels

If Downton Abbey is ever remade for American audiences, The Newsroom star Jeff Daniels would definitely be the ideal pick to be the Earl of Grantham. Robert took immense pride in his ancestry and was a bit of a traditionalist, but he was also progressive.

So the show showed him struggling quite a bit with the cultural changes which seem to be sweeping England in the early 1900s. There’s a pain in Robert’s character since his world seems to be changing really fast, and only Daniels can channel personal drama so effortlessly.

5Mr. Carson: Thomas Lennon

Yes, this may sound totally wild, but if the American version for the show is ever made, it’s obvious that the butler or the superbly loyal domestic help would be handled comically. The original Mr. Carson also showcased some stylish comic tropes but the American version would need something a little more obvious and maybe a bit cerebral. There can be no better choice than the Reno 911! star to portray the role of Carson; the butler had a deep love for the Crawleys and was kind of a father to his staff as well, so it would be interesting to see Thomas Lennon showcase those aspects of the character.

4Lady Rose: Dove Cameron

Rose was a huge fan favorite and fans even think she has a better personal trajectory on the show than Mary. Rose was a rule-breaker but unlike Mary, she wasn’t distant or icy. However, he was one of the kindest people on the show. Dove Cameron could the Gen-Z icon to take on that role, especially since a character like this would really let her explore her acting chops.

Rose was also not conventionally English, in fact, she had a free spirit that was quite unlike any other members of her family and it also made her a better person. Cameron could easily add some more dimensions to her character.

3Matthew Crawley: Adam Driver

This may sound unconventional but there are plenty of reasons why The Girls star should return to his television roots with an American Downton reboot if that ever happens. Matthew’s character had a little edge about him because he was very conscious of the class difference that exists between him and the Downton family and wanted to etch out his own identity. This also made him somewhat of a social rebel, because he refused to let others dictate how to feel about his own status. Driver has a history of playing tumultuous, rebellious roles however the tonality of Matthew’s character is somewhat muted as he’s logical and quite wise for his age, and Driver’s fandom would love to see him play something this refreshing.

2Richard Carlisle: Jeremy Strong

The power-obsessed Richard Carlisle was one of Mary’s many suitors. The newspaper tycoon was not just an obsessive and jealous admirer but also had rage issues, and had even tried to blackmail Mary. In American television, the character, of course, would be given some interesting shades and no one plays nuance like Succession star Jeremy Strong. The actor has garnered an incredible reputation for playing roles that are unlikeable yet intriguing and he would be a great fit to play Carlisle.

1Henry Talbot: Penn Badgley

Henry’s character was received very well by audiences especially since he made for a really charming and supportive partner for Mary, who had lost a husband in the past. Henry was a banker who loved race cars and eventually goes on to marry Mary, and despite not having great prospects the Crawleys come to love Henry for who he is. He was worldly, transparent, kind, and quite smitten with Mary. Gossip Girl star Penn Badgley could be a great pick to play Henry since he has proven he can play level-headed characters who also happen to be in love with women out of his league.

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