Kim Hjelmgaard USA TODAY Published 4:52 AM EST Feb 7, 2019 MIDDLETON, England – It’s a rousing tale about a lavish, sprawling English estate on the verge of disappearing forever. There are scandals and setbacks and heartbreak. A distinguished cast provides glamour, passion, wit. And Hopwood DePree stars as the stoic, unflappable Lord Crawley; well, no, he stars as himself. Americans fell in love with British TV period dramas such as “Downton Abbey,” the fictional series (2010-2015) and an upcoming September movie that follows the lives of the Crawley family and their servants in an Edwardian mansion in Yorkshire, England. Michigan-born actor, screenwriter and producer DePree, who has a Hollywood resume, deep tan and the kind of blond highlights rarely seen in these rural parts, is one of them. DePree has spent a lot of time at his own version of Highclere Castle of late. Sort of. A year ago, DePree swapped glitzy Los Angeles for a countryside setting just outside Manchester, about 166 miles northwest of London, to rescue his family’s 600-year-old ancestral home. Hopwood Hall is 50,000 square feet and 60-plus rooms of charming but dilapidated stately pile. It’s a far cry from the world DePree came to know well, and more umbrellas and drafty hallways than Tinseltown, sunglasses and the beach. Hall history: Lord Byron stayed there in 1811 DePree’s movie credits include… Read full this story
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