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'Downton Abbey' Season 3: Shirley MacLaine Talks Playing Martha Levinson

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Shirley MacLaine reveals
Shirley MacLaine reveals "Downton Abbey" details.

"Downton Abbey" is getting a dose of Long Island when Shirley MacLaine crosses the pond for Season 3 of the hit period drama. In a new interview with TV Guide Magazine, MacLaine revealed she'll be in the first two episodes and her character Martha Levinson, Lady Cora's (Elizabeth McGovern) mother, comes to Downton from Long Island.

Expect Martha to not mesh very well with the division of class at Downton. "I do my best to be kind to tradition, but frankly think it should shift," she said. Does that have anything to do with her interactions with the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith)?

"Our characters' relationship is probably not what you'd think," MacLaine said. "Maggie and I are both so old, we have a lot of time on us to discuss."

Masterpiece's Rebecca Eaton, an executive producer on "Downton Abbey" said the two characters do have quite the interaction. "There are some wonderful scenes between Maggie and Shirley MacLaine -- Shirley MacLaine being as ditsy as ever," Eaton said.

"I adore Maggie Smith," MacLaine told Alex Simon, a blogger for The Huffington Post. "The comedy of class, played so straight, is a wonderful thing for an actor to sink their teeth into."

Look for MacLaine's character to also share scenes with Carson. "She fell in love with Carson -- Jim Carter, who plays Carson the butler," Penelope Wilton, or Cousin Isobel to "Downton Abbey" viewers, said. "She thought he was heaven. How could you not?"

"Downton Abbey" Season 3 is slated to premiere in the US in early 2013.

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