Thomas smokes in a very dastardly way. Is that how you normally smoke?
I don’t smoke! My smoking was terrible in the first year, but by season two I was getting better. There was a scene where I took it so deep, I said five lines and smoke was still coming out my mouth.
Tom and O’Brien always smoke while they scheme.
Yeah, smokers always bond outside. You can’t smoke indoors. But I’m not advocating smoking. “Build bonds through smoking, it will enhance your life.” I’m not fucking saying that.
Joanne Froggatt says that the upstairs actors play Wink Murder during their downtime. What do the downstairs actors do?
We’re far crazier. We have break-dance and body-popping competitions on the big servants’ table. Jim Carter, he’s an amazing breaker. We’re like, “Go, Carson. Go, Carson.” —D.M.
You just visited New York. What did you do?
We went to a Knicks game in Madison Square Garden. It was just ace, like how you imagine America to be. Like, cheerleaders and basketball. Candy floss.
You’d never seen a basketball game before?
No, and I’d never met a basketball player. They were so tall, and we’re just these little people from England.
Are you much like Daisy?
Well, we have the same face and the same voice.
What’s it like to see yourself onscreen playing a less attractive person?
I am totally over it now. I think it is better to be the dowdy one. I’d hate to be the one that’s really beautiful, and then people would be like, Oh, she’s actually not that hot in real life. —K.V.S.
Shirley MacLaine plays your mother. Was it nice to have another American on set?
As a matter of fact, yes. In spite of the fact that I’ve been living in Britain for twenty years, it’s still a foreign country. I love it, and it would be hard for me not to live there now. But there’s just nothing like home and my people.
Cora’s fortune is pretty much squandered in season three, and yet she’s remarkably calm about it.
That was very, very difficult for me. I really thought it was not humanly possible for her to react the way she does. And I had to be convinced.
What were those conversations like?
My reaction was, “It’s just not reasonable.” And they said, “Well, do it anyway.” [Laughs.] It was kind of like that. —A.D.