Hugh Bonneville insists Dame Maggie Smith has all the best lines in the 'Downton Abbey' movie.

Hugh Bonneville

Hugh Bonneville

The 55-year-old actor reprises his role as Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham, in the big screen adaptation of the television period drama and he has revealed that 84-year-old screen legend Maggie - who is back as Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham - steals nearly all of the scenes she is in.

Hugh has nothing but respect for Maggie for signing up for Julian Fellowes' project because she had been unwell ahead of shooting starting.

Speaking about Maggie's talents, he said: "If she hasn't [got the best lines], she makes them the best lines. She is a formidable actress. When you're in a room with her you think, 'This woman is in her eighties, is she OK?' Before we started filming, she'd been poorly. There is absolute steel in her."

Although 'Downton Abbey' made the jump from television to film, Hugh insists that everything felt the same on the project even down to the modest snacks the cast enjoyed at the first read-through at Shepperton Studios in Surrey, England.

In an interview with the new issue of Saga magazine, he spilled: "Just because it's a movie, nothing much changes. It was a bigger table, but with the same McVitie's biscuits and a bowl of fruit.

"I can remember vividly the first read-through and I naughtily took a picture of these people I didn't know. Here we all were eight years later. As we looked around the room there were grins of 'can you believe we're here again'!"

Other cast members who have reprised their roles for the big screen version include Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary Crawley), Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith Crawley), Elizabeth McGovern (Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham), Allen Leech (Tom Branson), Joanne Froggatt (Anna Bates), Brendan Coyle (Mr. Bates) and Matthew Goode (Henry Talbot).

And Hugh has reiterated his desire for there to be more 'Downton Abbey' movies now that everyone has enjoyed the filmmaking experience so much.

He said: "When we started filming, I thought this is going to be a nice full stop. But there is such an appetite for it, I can see it carrying on. I'd never say never!"

The 'Downton Abbey' movie hits cinemas on September 13.