Downton Abbey star Dame Maggie Smith will swap her finery for rags to play a homeless woman in the movie adaptation of Alan Bennett's play The Lady In The Van. Smith will reprise the role of eccentric Miss Shepherd, which she originated onstage in 1999, for the movie. Bennett, who turned 80 on Friday (09May14), wrote the play from his memoirs, which chronicled his odd relationship with a homeless lady who lived in a battered car in the driveway outside his London home for 15 years until she died in 1989. Sir Nicholas Hytner, who directed Smith in The Lady in the Van onstage in London, will also take charge of the film adaptation. This will be his third collaboration with playwright Bennett - he transformed both The History Boys and The Madness of King George III from the theatre stage to the cinema screen.