‘Downton Abbey’ season 3 spoilers: Shirley MacLaine speaks!

Before we get to the season 3 premiere of “Downton Abbey” in the United Kingdom Sunday evening (or afternoon, here in the United States), we have some more words from someone who is going to be in many ways the new breaking out star of the series: legendary actress Shirley MacLaine, who was willing to step into the role of Cora’s mother Martha to go toe-to-toe against Maggie Smith’s Dorager Countess.

So what does MacLaine have to say about these two characters? In speaking out to promote the upcoming episodes, here is what the actress had to say:

“She is extremely outspoken. Martha’s basic role in these episodes is to plead with the Dowager Countess to wrest herself, if possible, away from tradition … Because that’s what caused the war in the first place. And to become more flexible in relating to change.”

While we have seen a number of sly comments exchanged between the Countess and Martha in some early previews for the show, do not expect things to escalate to a higher level between the two right away:

“The gunfight at the OK Corral does not happen between Maggie and me. We do a little sparring, we have our moments but it’s more sophisticated than that. Martha is not just a crass, cranky American coming in there to call a spade a spade … She’s very smart and to a large extent sensitive as to what’s going on with all her daughter’s children. And Maggie’s character is so well established but you have to look beyond what is her expected reaction to Martha.”

Season 2 of “Downton Abbey” may have been in some ways polarizing, but it was still among the finest work ever put on the small screen in series form. Want evidence? Let’s hope the countless Emmy nominations for the show and its cast serve as enough evidence for you.

Are you excited for MacLaine’s debut? If you want to check out some more scoop from the show courtesy of Hugh Bonneville, be sure to head on over to the link here.

Photo: ITV

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