'Downton Abbey' Star Elizabeth McGovern's New 'War of The Worlds' Series Is 'Horrifyingly Chilling' (Exclusive)

Downton Abbey star Elizabeth McGovern's next project will take her from the glamorous sets of early 20th Century Britain to a world torn apart by an alien invasion. After starring in the Downton Abbey movie, McGovern plays a major role in a "horrifyingly chilling" new mini-series based on H.G. Welles' War of the Worlds. Between those two projects, McGovern is also working on her latest music efforts.

"Our version of War of the Words is almost a completely new creation," McGovern told PopCulture.com. "We’ve borrowed the title and the idea. That’s it. Our version uses the alien invasion to explore where we are right now. What would happen if aliens invaded? What would we discover about ourselves? We don’t even see a lot of aliens in the show, which, to me, makes it horrifically chilling."

The new War of the Worlds reimagines the science fiction classic, setting it in contemporary Europe. It was written by Howard Overman (Dirk Gently, Merlin), and also stars Gabriel Byrne, Lea Drucker, Natasha Little, Adel Bencherif and Daisy Edgar-Jones.

The new series hails from Canal Plus, Dox Networks Group Europe & Africa and AGC Television. The eight-episode series has yet to find a home in the U.S. though.

Coincidentally, another version of War of the World is in the works. The BBC's take is set in Edwardian England, proving that Wells' story can be moved to any time period.

While we wait to check out McGovern's version of the story, the Oscar-nominated actress is also working on new music. She is now working on a new record with Ted Mason, who leads the group Modern English. The two form a duo called McGovern & Mason. McGovern said she is "really excited" about the new work.

"We will be mixing North African Rai music, Indian, Classical elements and Folk music," McGovern said of the McGovern & Mason venture. "I can’t talk too much about it except to say it’s sounding incredibly cool."

McGovern's most recent album is The Truth, which she recorded with her group Sadie and the Hot Heads and was produced by Grammy winner Kipper.


McGovern has been a household name since she made her film debut in 1980's Ordinary People and has racked up countless unforgettable roles. Today, she is best known for playing Cora Crawley on Downton Abbey, and she reprised the role in the Downton Abbey movie earlier this year. McGovern said coming back was "hilariously easy" and confirmed there were some "availability checks from production" about a possible sequel.

Photo credit: Nick Agro/E! Entertainment/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images