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June 14, 2004

Divining Jane Austen

This bit of entertainment news has been floating around for some time now:

King Arthur lass Keira Knightley suits up for another period piece. The English starlet has signed on for Universal's adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Knightley plays the eldest of five sisters living in 19th century England; their mother is determined they will marry wealthy suitors. Production begins in July. [E! Online]

Mr. Darcy has been cast as well, a Matthew Macfadyen.

Parlaying an Affinity for Austen Into an Unexpected Bestseller [Dinitia Smith, NYT, 6/14/04] - An interview with the author of The Jane Austen Book Club, something I very much wish to read.

Which reminds me. Over the weekend, while waiting for one of our movies to start, I overheard the people behind us talking. The man was telling his companion about Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility and how it was the basis for the movie, Bridget Jones's Diary, and that the name of the character, Mark Darcy, is exactly the name of the character from the book, Sense and Sensibility.

Scott had to restrain me from turning around. Let's just say the guy is fortunate to be walking around today.

Yours, &c., LC | 03:33 PM | Jane | Comments (12)


...isn't it these little bump-intos that make life so...doubtful. True for me. And I, too, can't help but ban this to bytes. Just to be sure I didn't dream it.

Posted by: mademoiselle a. at June 14, 2004 06:06 PM

King Arthur lass Keira Knightley suits up for another period piece. The English starlet has signed on for Universal's adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Knightley plays the eldest of five sisters living in 19th century England...

Um...I thought K.K. was playing Elizabeth! If that is so, the idiots at E! Online must not have read the book!

Posted by: Teresa at June 14, 2004 08:42 PM

Omg, I can't believe I missed that! Thanks for pointing that out.

Posted by: Lady Crumpet at June 15, 2004 10:23 AM

Alright, I seem to have a different opinion, but hear me out. I fail to understand why there have to be 50,000 film adaptations of the same novel, especially if one or more of them is quite good? Searching for "Pride and Prejudice" on gives 8 (!) matches. I personally feel that the 1995 UK (I think it was BBC) adaptation that aired on A&E is the best one we can have.

Posted by: alchymyst at June 15, 2004 11:06 AM

My lack of comment on the casting news is more a reflection of my general lack of enthusiasm. I agree, I think the BBC adaptation with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle is the best one to date. I don't see the need for revisiting the story so soon, and I'm rather dreading what they're going to do with this new one.

I wonder, though, if this will set the Jane Austen movie train going again. Maybe, just maybe, we'll get to see an adaptation of one of the other novels, like Northanger Abbey.

Posted by: Lady Crumpet at June 15, 2004 12:19 PM

I dunno. I don't think I want an NA that is flavor of the month casting, geared toward the ignorant teenybopper set (and those who think that Elizabeth is the eldest Bennet sister or that Mr. Darcy is the hero of S&S). So I'm an Austen snob, so sue me.

I confess that I find the casting of Matthew Macfadyen as Darcy quite interesting. Not sure that he'll smoulder but he does enigmatic pretty well.

I don't mind a million P&P adaptations, though I wonder why Working Title feels another is needed or welcome, but I do object to BAD adaptations, or the kind that pretend they are good but really aren't. *coughMP2cough*

Posted by: Mags at June 15, 2004 01:26 PM

P.S. Jane Austen Book Club--loved it!!!!! Will be reviewing in the next few days.

Posted by: Mags at June 15, 2004 01:28 PM

I apologize that I misconstrued the tone of the comments as excitement about the adaptation. I think what irks me the most is the making of another adaptation so SOON after a GOOD one.
I just looked up "The Jane Austen Book Club" at my local public library and discovered -- eek! -- 260 holds!

Posted by: Alchymyst at June 15, 2004 04:12 PM

No worries, Alchymyst.

260 holds?!? My goodness. I'm already inclined to, knowing that Mags thinks really highly of the book, but I think I'll just have to go and buy it, especially if I'm going to come across a similar situation in my own library!

Posted by: Lady Crumpet at June 15, 2004 05:11 PM

According to Publishers Weekly, it's number 8 in the nation on the bestsellers list.

LC, if you email me with your address you can have mine. Yes HAVE!!! I was not a fan of it; well, there's a surprise!

Speaking of P&P alternative fiction (I know we weren't, so sue me) I was in B&N about an hour ago and actually saw (with my own eyes) the abomination that is "Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife".

My main concern was that the editors would take out my favorite Colonel Fitzwilliam line: "You shall not take my leg; you shall not take my bloody leg!" I am happy to report that it is intact! (the line, not the leg, though, now that I think about it, the leg is intact as well)

One good thing about the book though, the art direction is lovely. People are going to buy it for that alone.

OK, back on subject: As far as adaptations, the previous P&P (previous to A&E P&P) was something like 1981 (or similar); so, this would make the latest movie right on schedule - and it actually has been over 10 years since the A&E version; they began filming it in 1993, I believe.

Posted by: Teresa at June 15, 2004 08:37 PM

Teresa, you are too kind! Look for for an email shortly!

Re: timing of new adaptations - Rats, I just can't come up with a solid reason for not looking forward to this new P&P. *grin* Oh well, I guess I should just own up to my obvious bias that the last P&P is my favorite.

Doesn't mean I'm not going to check out this new Darcy, though. I don't think that Colin Firth has to worry about losing his standing anytime soon. He'll probably be relieved, though, if women start swooning over the new guy instead of him.

Posted by: Lady Crumpet at June 16, 2004 09:04 AM

Colin lose his standing? Never happen (although, I must admit, I for one never saw the attraction in the first place) Well, of him as regular old 20th century Colin Firth - but as Mr. Darcy in that scene at Pemberley (NOT the pond scene!) but that scene where he was wearing those skin tight breeches...)

Matthew has his own brand of charm. He was hysterical as Sir Felix Carbury: leeching off his impoverished mother by telling her some sad story and then spending the evening gambling the money away! I think he would make a better Wickham, actually!! But that would be playing to type! ;-)

Posted by: Teresa at June 16, 2004 04:40 PM