Michelle Dockery to take over Kate Winslet's role in a movie with a too long name

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Downton Abbey star Michelle Dockery is in negotiations to play the lead in the movie adaptation of best-selling novel The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society, set during and after World War II.

Michelle has been offered the role, but there’s no deal in place yet. But various parties involved hope the actress will be available to start preparing for filming after shooting ends on the fourth series of ITV’s Downton in August.

The movie, based on Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows’s tale of a magazine writer who uncovers the story of a book society, established on Nazi-occupied Guernsey in order to fool curfew patrols, is being directed by Simon Curtis. Mr Curtis happens to be married to Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle’s Downton screen mother. Curtis took over as director from Kenneth Branagh, who had planned to make the picture with Kate Winslet. But for reasons too complex to go into here, that potato got mashed.

Downton creator Julian Fellowes has made Michelle’s Lady Mary the character the entire series revolves around, now that she’s a widow with an heir, and there are two ardent suitors — played by Julian Ovenden and Tom Cullen — wooing her.

Curtis, meanwhile, directed Michelle Williams to within spitting distance of a best actress Oscar with her brilliant portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in the film My Week With Marilyn.

Michelle (Dockery, that is) will be seen on big screens in the autumn in Non-Stop, a thriller also starring Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore.