If you tend to be a close-talker, here’s a word of advice: Be careful whose private space you invade. Delightfully feisty Downton Abbey‘s Dame Maggie Smith banishes people with her cane — or, rather, the cane used by her Dowager Countess character. Apparently, since Smith had to tote the cane around on the set of the Downton Abbey film, she decided to employ it for arguably more practical purposes as well.
This comical revelation about Smith effectively weaponizing her character’s cane came during Friday’s episode of Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen. During the segment, Downton Abbey‘s Elizabeth McGovern (“Cora Crawley”) and Allen Leech (“Tom Branson”) spilled a little intel on their esteemed co-star-slash-national-treasure. When asked by a caller how to know if Smith was in a bad mood, McGovern and Leech revealed that Smith made it abundantly clear when she didn’t like someone on set.
“She always has the cane, and obviously it’s for the character. But there was one first A.D. [assistant director]…” Leech started, with McGovern interjecting, “whom she hated!” As Leech and McGovern explained, the A.D. was an extremely close talker. “Literally, she would have the cane there and, as she would see him coming, she would go, ‘Here he fucking comes,'” Leech shared. Then, before the poor guy could get too close, Smith would thrust the cane out to form a physical barrier, saying, “That’s far enough, that’s far enough!”
Is it really any wonder — with a fierce broad like that on board — that the Downton Abbey film cut down any competition at the box office this weekend? The film brought in an impressive $31 million, beating out Brad Pitt’s new space thriller Ad Astra ($19.2 million), Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo: Last Blood ($19 million), and well-performing holdovers from weeks prior, such as It Chapter Two and Hustlers (with $17.2 million and $17 million, respectively). In fact, it was the biggest opening of all time for Focus Features.
Between the movie and the tale of Smith’s saucy cane-wielding, you’re probably ready to live your best Dowager Countess life. Our recommendation? Book yourself a stay at the real-life Downtown Abbey, Highclere Castle, or stock up on World Market’s new Downtown Abbey collection of jams, teas, wine and more.