Paul Giamatti is joining the cast of Downton Abbey! For the love of…!!! Once I got over my initial shock, I guess it sort of makes sense. They’re not just going to bizarrely introduce an American character with no connection to anyone – Paul Giamatti is going to be playing Cora’s brother, an American “maverick” and “playboy” who I assume has come to visit. OMG, think about Paul Giamatti opposite Violet (Maggie Smith). Those scenes will be… interesting.
Downton Abbey is bracing for another American invasion. TVLine has learned exclusively that Paul Giamatti (Sideways, Cinderella Man) is joining the PBS phenom’s Season 4 cast as Harold Levinson, the maverick, playboy brother of Cora (Elizabeth McGovern) and uncle to Mary (Michelle Dockery) and Edith (Laura Carmichael).
Giamatti, who earned an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his title role in HBO’s miniseries John Adams, is set to appear in the Season 4 finale alongside returning guest star Shirley MacLaine (as Cora and Harold’s mother, Martha).
Exec producer and Carnival Films Managing Director Gareth Neame describes Harold as “free-spirited” and promises that both Giamatti and MacLaine will “upset the Grantham’s apple cart” in the finale.
Giamatti joins fellow Season 4 newbies Dame Harriet Walters (as an old friend of Maggie Smith’s Dowager), Nigel Harman (as a visiting valet named Green), and Tom Cullen (as a new love interest for Mary).
Abbey‘s fourth season will premiere stateside on PBS on Jan. 5, 2014.
Yes, I was going to mention John Adams! Giamatti was incredible in that HBO miniseries, and that means he’s no stranger to costume dramas. But the world of Downton is so, so soapy and melodramatic, it’s hard to think Giamatti’s talent should be wasted this way.
You guys, I think we need to prepare ourselves for Season 4. I think it’s going to full-on weirdness and soap opera drama, even more so than the bizarre storylines from season 2. Granted, at this point I’m not coming into Downton thinking that it’s going to be high-quality television or that it’s anything other than a soap opera with costume p0rn and location p0rn. But Julian Fellowes is literally throwing everything but the kitchen sink into this next season. We’re going to have the “first black character”. That black widow Lady Mary is getting a new boyfriend just months after Cousin Matthew died. And we still have to deal with that annoying flapper chick Rose. Season 4 is going to be rough.
Photos of Giamatti on the set of the Spider-Man sequel, courtesy of WENN.