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'Downton Abbey': Penelope Wilton Says Shirley MacLaine Was 'Marvelous'

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"Downton Abbey" actress Penelope Wilton on Shirley MacLaine.

"Downton Abbey" star Penelope Wilton had kind words for her new co-star Shirley MacLaine. While speaking to Vulture, Wilton had nothing but praise for the Oscar winner, who guest stars on Season 3.

"Shirley was wonderful. She's so marvelous," Wilton said. "She's in the first two episodes, and we loved her."

MacLaine joins the Season 3 cast as Lady Cora's (Elizabeth McGovern) mother. Masterpiece's Rebecca Eaton, an executive producer on the series, said MacLaine's character tangles with Maggie Smith's Dowager Countess. "There are some wonderful scenes between Maggie and Shirley MacLaine -- Shirley MacLaine being as ditsy as ever," Eaton said.

According to Wilton -- or the Dowager Countess' first nemesis, Cousin Isobel, to "Downton" fans -- MacLaine fell for one particular actor on the series. "She fell in love with Carson -- Jim Carter, who plays Carson the butler. She thought he was heaven. How could you not?" Wilton said with a laugh. "It was such a thrill to work with her. We got her to do 'If They Could See Me Now' for us. Such good fun."

MacLaine told HuffPost blogger Alex Simon that working on the series was a treat as an actor. "I can't talk about the scripts and stuff, but you know the environment ... it seems like we sat around a big table for about two and half weeks and I was surrounded by these extraordinary actors," she said. "I adore Maggie Smith. The comedy of class, played so straight, is a wonderful thing for an actor to sink their teeth into."

In addition to MacLaine's presence, Season 3 of "Downton Abbey" will feature a birth, a wedding and a death. Could the Dowager Countess kick the bucket? Rumors swirled about Smith leaving the series, but Masterpiece told HuffPost TV that "Season 3 is currently filming with Maggie and the rest of the cast. We don't comment on future storylines, but there's no truth in the story that Maggie is leaving the show."

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