Couched in another otherwise lovely article about Dame Maggie Smith's illustrious career on the London stage is a little gem about her new Downton Abbey co-star, Shirley MacLaine and how she regaled the cast with tales of UFO encounters.
Canada's The Star newspaper sat down with Smith prior to her appearance at the Toronto International Film Festival and of course they got around to discussing Downton. MacLaine has joined the cast in the upcoming season as Cora's mother visiting from America, who'll spar with Smith's character, the Dowager Countess, for the role of family matriarch. The reporter asked Smith how she and MacLaine got on:
We had great fun. She was a great shot in the arm for everybody. But when she talks about some of her stranger theories, you just listen. She told us in Sante Fe, there were UFOs up in the mountains and the bears were coming down to the local Starbucks as a result. I asked if they were all drinking green skinny lattes, but she never answered me.
Shirley MacLaine has talked nonsense like this before: she wrote about an alien encounter experienced by her friend Congressman Dennis Kucinich in her 2007 book, Sage-Ing While Age-Ing. (Yes, that's really what the book is called.)
[Kucinich] had a close sighting over my home in Graham, Washington, when I lived there … Dennis found his encounter extremely moving. The smell of roses drew him out to my balcony where, when he looked up, he saw a gigantic triangular craft, silent, and observing him … It hovered, soundless, for 10 minutes or so, and sped away with a speed he couldn’t comprehend. He said he felt a connection in his heart and heard directions in his mind.
Between the sitings in Washington state and Sante Fe, it seems UFOs follow MacLaine wherever she goes. I hope the Downton cast were spared?