“Spider-Man 2” Actor Paul Giamatti Joins PBS Drama DOWNTON ABBEY

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The highly acclaimed and hit PBS drama “Downton Abbey” will add the talented and versatile actor Paul Giamatti (“Man in the Moon,” “American Splendor”) to their cast.  The actor, who is currently filming Marc Webb’s “The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ as the heavy hitting Russian villain known as The Rhino, will join the show during its season four finale.

Giamatti has a solid resume and is usually cast as bumbling and self-doubting characters. He won an Emmy, a Golden Globe and a SAG award for his portrayal of the second president of the United States in the HBO mini-series, “John Adams.” According to PBS, he will play against type as Cora Crawley’s “maverick, playboy brother Harold.”

Giamatti will star alongside cast members, which include Shirley MacLaine, Michelle Dockery, Tom Cullen, Joanna David and Gary Carr. Co-producer of the series and managing director of Carnival Films Gareth Neame had this to say.

“We’re excited that Paul Giamatti will be joining us on Downton to play Cora’s brother Harold, the rather free-spirited uncle to Mary and Edith.”

Neame went on to tease.

“We can’t wait to see him work alongside Shirley MacLaine, who are both sure to upset the Grantham’s apple cart in this year’s finale.”

PBS’s “Downton Abbey” will have its fourth season premiere on Jan. 5, 2014.

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For those of you unfamiliar with the show, here is a brief history of the series.

The series is set in the fictional Yorkshire country house known as Downton Abbey, the seat of the Earl (played by Hugh Bonneville) and Countess of Grantham (actress Elizabeth McGovern,) and follows the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants during the reign of King George V (May 1910 – January 1936.) The first series spanned the two years before World War I beginning with the news of the sinking of the HMS Titanic in 1912, which set the story in motion.  The second series covered the years 1916 – 1919, and the 2011 Christmas Special covered the 1919 Christmas period, ending in early 1920.  The third series picks up soon thereafter, covering the year 1920 through the autumn of 1921.

Sources: THR, britroyals, wikipedia, IMDb