Somebody give a dame a challenge. Legendary British actress Maggie Smith, star of Downton Abbey and Harry Potter, says she "didn't really feel I was acting in those things." Smith took home three Emmys, a Golden Globe, and a Screen Actors Guild award for her role as Downton Abbey's Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham, but tells ES Magazine that the role didn't quite quench her thirst. "I am deeply grateful for the work in Potter and indeed, Downton, but it wasn't what you'd call satisfying," she says, per the Guardian. But don't think her arrogant. Smith contrasted the roles to her new one as Joseph Goebbels' secretary in the one-woman play A German Life, Smith's first play since 2007.
"I wanted to get back to the stage so much because theater is basically my favorite medium, and I think I felt as though I'd left it all unfinished," says the 84-year-old alumna of the Oxford University Dramatic Society. She adds she suffered "doubt" but found it was easier to memorize her lines for the play than for Downton Abbey "because it wasn't fragmented. I wasn't just ordering tea or something." Still, "when you haven't done a show for a long time, there's something pretty dumb about doing it totally on your own." Luckily, she's doing just fine. Her return to the stage is a "triumph," according to Michael Billington at the Guardian. At the Telegraph, Dominic Cavendish calls it "an acting master-class like no other." (Read more Maggie Smith stories.)