Paul Giamatti joins ‘Downton Abbey’ season four

By Daniel S Levine,

Paul Giamatti will star in Downton Abbey, making him the latest Hollywood star to join the acclaimed British series.

The BBC reports that Giamatti has been cast as Lady Grantham’s “maverick, playboy,” Harold. He’ll appear in the season four finale, which airs on Christmas Day in the U.K.

“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," Carnival Films’ Gareth Neame said in a statement. “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 Christmas Day episode.”

Giamatti is the latest star to join season four. Shirley MacLaine is coming back, along with newcomers Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Tom Cullen and Nigel Harman. Gary Carr and Joanna David are also joining, notes The Hollywood Reporter.

Giamatti won a Golden Globe and an Emmy for starring in HBO’s John Adams mini-series, playing the title character. He also recently starred in The Hangover Part III and will appear in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 as Rhino. That film hits theaters in May 2014.

American audiences will get to see Downton Abbey’s fourth season starting on Jan. 5, 2014 on PBS.

image: Wikimedia Commons/Karon Liu

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