Shirley MacLaine, Downton Abbey

Flynet UK/FameFlynet Pictures

If you spend most of your days scouring the interwebs for scoop on Downton Abbey—no judgment—you might have heard a little something about Shirley MacLaine's trip across the pond to play Lady Grantham's (Elizabeth McGovern) mother. And of course give our favorite quick-witted Dowager Countess (Dame Maggie Smith) a run for her money.

We caught up with the Downton mother-daughter duo for the dish on the hit's third season. What drama will Shirley MacLaine bring to Downton? Find out now:

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"She's just a gas. So much fun," McGovern dishes on her TV mother, but if you think the Downton crew went easy on the newcomer, think again. "We just threw [Shirley] in, right into the fire. She did what we call an excruciating dinner scene," McGovern explains. "Which, as you know, there are quite a lot of them and they take forever to shoot. We threw her into the deep end."

Excruciating (and hilarious) dinner scenes are our absolute favorites. Plus, they are the perfect opportunity for some verbal sparring between the Dowager Countess and Martha Levinson. McGovern promises that we "will see a little of that."

"I love Maggie, I've known her for 40 years. We did many scenes together," MacLaine says, and the matriarchs do clash, "but more on an intellectual level." The Dowager might have finally met her match with this American.

MacLaine also learned about the British class system, and confesses that working on Downton was "fabulous," but the corsets were terrible. "I know why there was the class system," she jokes. "You needed one or two people to get you dressed every day."

It's not just verbal spats we have to look forward to. McGovern explains that with the arrival of Cora's mother we'll learn more about the lady of the house. "She tells the whole story just by being there. You'll find out a lot more about [Cora] when she enters."

We just need the new season of Downton Abbey now. Please.

Are you ready to meet Cora's mother? Think Martha Levinson will be a match for Violet Crawley? Counting down the months, weeks and days until season three? Sound off in the comments!

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