Maggie Smith got an American producer of ‘Downton Abbey’ fired, just because

“Bitch, did I stutter?” – Dame Maggie Smith to the world.

I managed to get CB into Downton Abbey last year, I think. I believe CB was one of the few people who enjoyed the second season more than the first. The first season was definitely more BBC “classic” programming – elegant costumes, upstairs-downstairs drama and stiff upper lips. During the second season, it did become much more of a soap opera, for better and for worse. Like, I enjoyed the way Lady Edith and Lady Mary were developed, and Matthew (and his “tingling” lower half) is always a pleasure because Dan Stevens is just so pretty. But there were some really screwed up plotlines and the whole thing with Mr. Bates was just ridiculous there at the end. Throughout it all, only one thing remained solid throughout two seasons: Dame Maggie Smith, playing the Dowager Countess of Grantham, BROUGHT IT HARD. The Dowager Countess is AMAZING. Her plotting, her deviousness, her self-righteousness and humor are always welcome. And the writers always give her the best lines too.

Anyway, in case you had any doubts as to what Dame Maggie brings to the character, I wanted to share this interesting little story. Apparently, one of the producers of Downton Abbey referred to Maggie as “difficult” in an interview. So Maggie Smith HAD THE BITCH FIRED.

She’s a favourite character on Downton Abbey for her sharp wit and not-to-be-messed-with attitude. And it appears that Dame Maggie Smith shares some of the Dowager Countess’s ruthlessness.

The actress, 77, is said to have demanded that US producer Rebecca Eaton be axed from the show. Maggie was reportedly angered when Rebecca called Maggie ‘difficult’.

According to the Mirror, Eaton said in April: ‘Maggie Smith is a handful. She’s very difficult.’

Smith was said to be so riled by the accusation that she is apparently unable to work with Eaton in the future. This has naturally caused something of a panic, since Maggie is one of the show’s greatest appeals.

A source told the paper: ‘Maggie made it clear that she no longer wanted to work with her. As a result, Eaton has been asked to stand down from the third series, and her name will be taken off the credits.’

However there appears to have been something of a crossed wires, as a show spokesperson gave a different account,

They said: ‘The credits for series three aren’t finished yet, but it is highly likely that Rebecca Eaton’s name will appear.’

[From The Mail]

Yes, it totally sounds like Maggie pulled rank and had that bloody Yank sent packing. BUGGER OFF YANKS.

The Mail also says that Downtown is due back on air in the UK in the fall, which means America probably won’t get it until the winter, or maybe even early 2013. BOO! I have high hopes for Season 3. I think the producers heard some of the complaints about the too-soapy drama and are hopefully re-jiggering the show. Shirley Maclaine is coming aboard as Cora’s mother, and mother-in-law to the Earl of Grantham. And SPOILER – I know for sure (sort of) that Lady Mary is definitely marrying Cousin Matthew. I saw photos of the actors filming the wedding scene. GAH!! I can’t wait. You know Downton will probably show the wedding night too. It should be epic considering Lady Mary is a wanton slut who boned a dead foreigner, thus ruining her wedding night consummation (and her reputation)!! Of course, Cousin Matthew already knows that. I wonder if he’ll still feel tingly down there when it comes time to make a little Crawley heir?

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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63 Responses to “Maggie Smith got an American producer of ‘Downton Abbey’ fired, just because”

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  1. Mel says:

    I actually thought it was Lady Edith’s wedding they were filming? But perhaps I missed photos of Lady Mary’s wedding!
    I normally hate bitchy actresses being bitches, but in Dame Maggie’s case? All is immediately forgiven. If it means she stays at Downton let her start bitchslapping cameramen and gaffers 🙂
    (and yes, I am joking about the bitchslapping!)

    • kiyoshigirl says:

      I thought the same. I think Edith might pull a fast one and get married BEFORE Mary!! I’ve been playing it out in my head (yes, I’m that big of a fan and I should send them my scripts) but I’m not sure Mary and Matthew will make it to the altar. I’m an Edith fan. I like her in the sisterly wars and I think she’s going to be wildly happy with that old coot she’s latching on to.

      I may be in the minority, but I didn’t think season two was too soapy. If you watch Masterpiece Theater, with any regularity, you’ll know that they LOVE series that have over the top theatrics. I think it’s a British thing. Any who, I’m just fine with it.

  2. flan says:

    The dowager countess is by far my favorite.

    And if it’s true that she’s a bit difficult, she can bring some thorniness to Game of Thrones and play the Queen of Thornes there next season.

    I think it might also be a bit of a culture/generational clash.

    • GoodCapon says:

      Very good suggestion 😀 The Queen of Thorns is such a bad ass.

      • flan says:

        Yeah. Am glad it is confirmed because there were rumors they were going to skip that character (perhaps just started by guys who can’t imagine an old badass female character).

      • GoodCapon says:

        I was equally worried when the Reeds and Reek didn’t make an appearance this season. But I’m glad that they’ve made casting calls for them as well as for Edmure and the Blackfish (another bad ass).

      • keats says:

        Not to spoiler too hard, but isn’t Reek um…already cast?

      • GoodCapon says:

        I don’t think so, I think they’ve only announced casting calls for Season 3 which includes Reek.

    • original almond says:

      I know everyone is dying to see her as the Queen of Thorns and she would, undoubtedly, be excellent. But I’d love to see Eileen Atkins in the role. She’s not as well known by the general public but she is just as talented and capable as Smith. I think she would be spot on.

      • flan says:

        That would work too. Luckily England has quite a few older actresses who can playing cunning very well.

      • original almond says:

        Yes, I think it was on pajiba that they said England is no shortage of elderly talented ac tresses who could nail this part.

  3. Stephanie says:

    Thank you for the morning laugh, Kaiser. I will have to check this show out. =)

  4. cupidtyrox says:

    I wouldn’t want to get on her bad side that’s for sure!

  5. samira677 says:

    Sounds like Maggie hates the producer not Americans.

  6. Bad Fairy says:

    I hate it when actresses pull stuff like this. And yet what the hell was she doing talking publicly about a woman she worked with? And in the press? That’s pretty stupid.

  7. flourpot says:

    Maggie’s been in the business forever and a day. She’s anal when it comes to making sure her lines are right, her cues are perfect and she completely understands the scene. This flows over to others in the cast and I can imagine that some may chafe against the unwanted suggestions.

    But, hey. It’s Maggie Smith. Suck it up.

    This is what Rebecca was quoted as saying: “She knows her worth, and she’s tricky on the set, but she delivers when the time comes.”

    That’s just insulting. Where’s your professionalism, Rebecca?

    I wouldn’t want to work with her, either.

    • lunabell says:

      Exactly! And what does that quote even mean? It sounded more like a passive aggressive swipe than anything else.

    • RocketMerry says:

      Absolutely co-sign.
      Maggie Smith is one of the best actresses alive AND one of the greatest actresses ever.
      Who would talk like that about a legend in their field of work, just because said legend wanted everything and everyone to be prepared to perfection? That producer sounds very unprofessional.

    • Jane says:

      The producer was dumb and very rude to complain about one of the stars of the show. It doesn’t matter whether her opinion is accurate or not, to trash someone in the media that you have to work with and is such an important part of the series is incredibly stupid.

      I don’t blame Maggie for not wanting to work with her.

      That old saying, “Don’t s*** where you eat” would apply.

    • Peach says:

      Absolutely, yes. Agree with everything you wrote.

      Maybe I’m just reading sanitized versions, but I have never heard a fellow cast member of any of her productions slam Maggie Smith or her being “difficult.” In fact, I’ve heard nothing but praise from her fellow actors and crew about how professional she is and what a delight she is to work with.

      Besides, what does being “difficult” mean? She’s someone who has been around for a long, long time. She is used to things being done a certain way and the professional way it was taught to her when she came up as a young actress.

      This producer had no business trashing her like this. When you call someone “difficult” in Hollywood, you’re basically calling them unprofessional, which is NOT Maggie Smith.

  8. Launicaangelina says:

    I finally caught season 1 on Netflix a few weeks ago and loved it. I have to wait to catch season 2 and will hopefully will be on track for season 3 when it comes back on.

  9. Shane says:

    Queen of thorns

  10. Cel says:

    Team Maggie! The Dame is an amazing actress (I have been lucky enough to see her in the West End many times). If Rebecca found her difficult, she should have kept her opinion to herself until the show had finished. Her comments are contrary to everything I have read about Maggie on set.

  11. GoodCapon says:

    Season 1 was oh so good. Season 2 was a HOT MESS.

    Anyway, I don’t know whether to believe this rumor or not. Should old, veteran actresses be excused for their diva-like behavior because of their age?

    • Jackie says:

      good question.

      i find that does tend to happen. older individuals can sometimes get away with inappropriate behaviours, remarks, etc. due to their age.

    • lunabell says:

      Eh. I agree that older people get more of a pass for being jerks. I’ve seen older people be complete jerks to random strangers in public in a way that expects the other person will just concede to them because of their age.

      However, I think it’s different at work, especially if the “diva” attitude is related to how that work is done. If a veteran is specific as to how they want certain things, I’d give them the benefit of the doubt that their concern is about the quality of the production and that their experience and knowledge could add value. I think if Maggie Smith was just plain mean and rude to people that would be the story, not just a blanket statement on how she’s “difficult”.

      As was pointed out below in DT’s thread, if Maggie Smith was a veteran actOR, would this producer have called her “difficult” or just a “perfectionist” and “artiste”? It was insulting and if I were in her position, I wouldn’t want to work with this producer either.

  12. Murphy says:

    Dame Maggie can do whatever she wishes.

  13. original almond says:

    The producer was incredibly unprofessional. You do not badmouth the people you work with, especially not in the press. What a dimwit.

    • Eleonor says:

      Agree, especially if the actor you are badmouthing is one who makes the show great.

  14. DT says:

    For years producers have been labeling any actress who stood up for herself “difficult.” It’s a great insult to a sterling old pro. Shame on this producer, a woman no less, for throwing out this old canard about exacting females being “difficult.” If Maggie Smith is so “difficult” how has she managed a decades long career in English movies/television and theatre? Hogwash.

    • flan says:

      Good point. If a man is the same, he’s a ‘perfectionist’ or ‘an incredible artist’

      I think in England it has been a very long time since Maggie Smith has had to deal with that crap, so that’s why she immediately put her foot down.

    • The Other Katherine says:

      Exactly. Team Maggie.

    • Lindy says:

      This. This is totally true. (And I think it’s often true in other professions as well).

  15. EmmaStoneWannabe says:

    The most upsetting thing about this show is that America has to wait MONTHS to view it after it’s released to UK. That sucks! UK will see it in September, and (according to previous seasons start dates) we have to wait until JAN/FEB for PBS to pick it up. What is the damn wait all about?! /rant

    Anyway, where are those wedding shots, Kaiser?? We want link!

  16. Lisa says:

    Well, who knows what difficult means? Though the firing doesn’t make Maggie look like the pro she supposedly is. A little more grace wouldn’t have hurt.

    • Zvonk says:

      I’m sorry, but I wouldn’t want to work with someone who talked about me like that in the press. Team Maggie all the way on this.

      And I object the the way it’s suggested that the producer’s nationality was in some way a factor to Maggie’s refusal to work with her. It has nothing to do with nationality, but her professionalism.

      • bluhare says:

        While I agree with you about not wanting to work with someone who badmouthed me (without an apology from the bad mouther), I do think Maggie’s playing to the woman’s point by having her fired.

      • gigi says:

        Agree. I can’t imagine having to come in to work everyday and make nice with someone who just told the world I was difficult. And although getting her fired does prove the producer’s point somewhat, it’s all still the producer’s fault. What did she think was going to happen after she blabbed to the press?

  17. sup says:

    this hbic is the only non-annoying character on the show and she’s maggie fucking smith so she can do whatever she wants. i heard she won’t be there in the 3rd season, not sure if i’ll continue watching then

    • Onyx XV says:

      I read that it’s AFTER the third season that she won’t be back. Either way, that sucks – she IS the best thing on the show!

      • sup says:

        yeah completely agree. i’ll give season 3 a shot then. and if the writing doesn’t get better i’m not sure if i’ll bother in the seasons of her absence.

  18. Liv says:

    No way McGonagall fired that producer! 😉 Turn her into a weasel, Minerva!

  19. This is by far the best series on TV. I told agree about Season 2 being too soapy and hope to God you’re right about them re-jiggering the series to give it more stiff upper lip. Lady Edith completely reminds me of my sister, I’m sad to say, so I am looking forward to seeing what happens to her.

  20. Jen34 says:

    That producer should have kept her mouth shut. She wasn’t very smart to criticize the amazing Maggie Smith.

    I love the Mary/Matthew storyline, but I assume you are being facetious about Mary being wanton. That Turk pretty muched forced himself on her, IIRC.

  21. TG says:

    Love Maggie. The Dowager Countess and Lady Mary are the best on the show. Love them both. Hope the annoying Bates with the Jesus Complex gets executed in prison so poor Anna can move on to a more swoon-worthy guy. I always loved reading the stories about Jesus while growing up, but after seeing Bates, I would be trying to kill him too after a few weeks in his company.

  22. Pose83 says:

    Downton isn’t actually made by the BBC. It’s an ITV programme.

  23. nan says:

    “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie”….she ruled that movie. “Little Girls…..” lol

  24. Bobby the K says:

    She’s trying to play the religion/family card to rinse her past and be accepted by the masses, even if they are hypocrites, don’t matter.

    You can’t blame her, it works for a lot of other celebrities, optics are pleasant, reality is nastiness.
    But with her it’s transparent and needy. She doesn’t realize how few people are buying it anymore.

    • Poppy says:

      Are you still talking about Maggie Smith?!

      I’ve met her several times, and she is completely lovely and unassuming.

  25. LondonLady says:

    You’re a producer and you bitch out your biggest name in the media? Doesn’t sound like she’s got much of a future in the business.

  26. Margot says:

    The BBC doesn’t produce Downton Abbey. ITV does. Common misconception considering that the BBC has sort of a monopoly on British television/radio programmes.

  27. Seagulls says:

    Ooh, is this why she hadn’t signed to season 3 yet (as of a while ago)? I wondered what her holdup was. I imagine there was a lot more behind the scenes with Smith and Eaton, so I say – go Dame Maggie!

    • ol cranky says:

      she’s in the upcoming series but the rumor is they’re killing the character off this year (at Smith’s request)

  28. Barbara Lifton says:

    Since Maggie Smith is the most enjoyable character in the Downton series, she should be indulged! SHe is certainly more fun than her rather stupid daughter-in-law, Cora!
    As far as Matthew’s “tingles” are concerned, I think Mary’s prior experience will make their wedding night even more enjoyable, I’m sure! Good luck to them. And I don’t care how “beautiful” Dan Stevens is: I’ll look at him forever!

  29. vibius says:

    Wait, so she just proved that lady right?

  30. Ranga says:

    I love watching her. I hope this is true, hahaha!

  31. MaiGirl says:

    I agree. While the producer probably would have been classier to keep her mouth shut, she has a right to her opinion. If anything, Maggie just confirmed that she’s difficult!

  32. Bored suburbanhousewife says:

    I don’t know how true rumor is but it doesn’t surprise me. Rebecca Eaton has been getting all sorts of profiles & attention and I thought before it seemed to be going to her head. However significant her role, she is NOT “the talent”. The Dame may have given her a well deserved slap upside the head.

    P.s. was v worried re Matthews broken penis. Glad apparently working. Dan S v cute but has bad profile with thick neck receded chin… Wait … Perfect casting as an aristocrat!

  33. Pat Dorty says:

    She sounds like a real C@@t to me. She sounds like she thinks she’s royalty.

  34. MB says:

    Hmm… Seem to be a lot of people around here condoning this sort of behaviour. Ok, so the producer shouldnt have publically said that Maggie is difficult on set. Even if its true (likely) its still very tacky and unprofessional. BUT having someone fired for it seems pretty bitter and does nothing to dispell the story.

    If this stunt was pulled by anyone else (a Kardashian, Goop, Angelina, anyone!) the “who does she think she is” criticisms would be flying thick and fast. And lets not say that Maggie gets a free pass because of her talent. Talent is purely subjective and not justification for behaviour that should be, by anyones measure, beneath her.