‘Downton Abbey’ season 4 Christmas special: Laura Carmichael chats about Paul Giamatti, tea

In just three days now, we will have had the opportunity to watch the “Downton Abbey” Christmas special, and figure out whether or not it was worth the sort of relentless hype that it gets every year. While details are still scarce, we at least know that overall, the feeling of it here is that we won’t see anything quite as heartbreaking as what we saw during the one last year. There are no major deaths, and therefore, there is no major reason to chew your fingernails off while watching it.

What you will have instead is more character-based drama, and also the arrival of some new faces. Paul Giamatti talked recently about playing the part of Harold, and now one of his co-stars during the special is also sharing some of her own thoughts about being around him on set. In a new chat with Grazia, Laure Carmichael (a.k.a. Lady Edith Crawley) reportedly had the following to say:

“Paul found filming Downton hilarious. He couldn’t get over the fact that in some of the scenes we just sit around drinking tea. He was like ‘This is great, but is this really it?’ I’d be like ‘Yes, but there is a subtext, you know, so we’ll do our looks and our eyebrows and then the butler pours the tea …there aren’t any car chases or anything.’ He found it very bizarre and English.”

In a sense, we also feel like he probably found it very refreshing and different to do a part in something that was not just a series of things exploding or some other special effects designed to keep your eyes glued to the screen. This is a character study first and foremost, and you really get a sense when watching the show that producers are committed to making every moment, even conversations over tea, matter. Now if Giamatti manages to give a performance here that is anywhere close to what he did during “Sideways,” we’re going to be in for quite the treat.

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