Alice Eve Reveals What It’s Like Working with the Creator of ‘Downton Abbey’ (& Which ‘Cheer’ Star She Most Relates To)

It’s not every day that you get a call to play an integral part in the next new drama from Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes. So, you better believe actress Alice Eve was excited when she learned she’d be playing the role of Susan in Fellowes’s upcoming Epix series Belgravia.

Set in 1840s London, the six-part historical drama, based on Fellowes’s New York Times best-selling book of the same name, navigates high society as they try to set themselves apart at the dawn of the emerging industrial nouveau riche. Eve’s character draws that juxtaposition beautifully; she’s the ambitious daughter of a wealthy merchant who marries into a higher-born family for the purpose of social advancement.

As we prepare to settle down with some popcorn and enjoy the next greatest thing from the brilliant mind behind Downton Abbey, we chatted with Eve about her experience on the show, her keen sense of fashion and what she’s binge-ing right now.

1. Purewow: What’s It Like Being A Part Of A Series From The Creator Of ‘downton Abbey’? Were You A ‘downton’ Fan From The Start?

Eve: “I was a fan of Downton Abbey, just like the rest of the world. It’s a very soothing show. Belgravia moves at a faster pace and it’s a real cliffhanger...Working with Julian Fellowes has been the greatest takeaway from the experience. He sees everything and he doesn’t miss a thing. He has a complete overview of the characters and their motivations.”

2. How Long Did It Take You To Get Into Costume? Like The Ancestral Homes, Your Ensembles Were Quite Ornate.

“It was a long time actually. It was about an hour-and-a-half in makeup and an hour in costume, so two-and-a-half hours in total. I had to wear a corset, too, and once it was on it was on. You couldn’t really lay down and have a rest during breaks. You just had to power through.”

3. Speaking Of Fashion, You’re Known For Pushing The Boundaries Of Street Style And Your Gorgeous Maximalist Choices On The Red Carpet. What’s Your Style Mantra?

“I think I’m quite eccentric. That’s in my nature. I think as you get older, you’re able to embrace your true self. I certainly was an eccentric child. I would only wear pink. In my teenage years I was fully grunge. Then in that Paris Hilton world I was hyper feminine. But now there’s a freedom to be unique…For me at the moment, finding the joy in things is my goal. I think that I had some difficult times in the middle of the last decade and I’ve reemerged. I’m working with this stylist Rebecca Corbin Murray and she’s allowed a little lightness into what I bring to the red carpet and a little joy.”

4. What’s One Of Your Favorite Red-carpet Memories?

“They closed the carpet at the BAFTAs for Kate and Will [the royals], so me and Scarlett Johansson were just there waiting for ages. Then it finally opened and we were like, OK. Here we go.”

alice eve belgravia
Carnival Films

“I related most to Lexi. She captured my imagination. She’s obviously struggling with emotional things that are brutal, but there’s no fear in her—even though sometimes she sabotaged herself. If I was going to play one of them, I’d play her. And then there’s Jerry. Everyone loves Jerry.”

6. How Do You Plan To Watch ‘belgravia?’

“I don’t tend to watch myself because I like to live in a detached imaginative space and that brings me crashing down to reality.”

Regardless, Eve says she hopes the show offers “comfort and solace during this difficult time.”

Belgravia premieres at 9 p.m. on Sunday, April 12, on EPIX and Amazon Prime.


Cat mom, yogi, brunch enthusiast

Lex is an LA native who's deeply obsessed with picnics, Slim Aarons, rosé, Hollywood history and Joan Didion. She joined PureWow in early 2017.