Whit Stillman’s “Love and Friendship” to start filming this month

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Chloe Sevigny and Kate BeckinsaleWe are delighted to pass on the news that Whit Stillman’s film Love and Friendship (which seems to actually be an adaptation of Lady Susan–yes, we know, but Whit Stillman) will begin filming this month in Ireland, according to Variety. Kate Beckinsale will take the role of Lady Susan Vernon (replacing Sienna Miller, who was attached to the role last year when this film was first discussed) and Chloe Sevigny will still be playing “her friend and confidante,” we suppose meaning Mrs. Johnson. The two actors co-starred in Stillman’s film The Last Days of Disco, and of course Janeites know Kate Beckinsale as Emma Woodhouse in the 1997 A&E/BBC television adaptation of Emma.

In the film set in the 1790s, Beckinsale will portray the widow Lady Susan Vernon, who has come to the estate of her in-laws to wait out the rumors about her dalliances that are circulating through polite society. She decides to secure a husband for herself and her rather reluctant debutante daughter.

The cast includes Xavier Samuel as the object of Lady Susan’s affections, and Stephen Fry, who’ll play the long-suffering husband to Lady Susan’s friend and confidante portrayed by Sevigny.

STEPHEN FRY! WHIT STILLMAN! We shall run distracted!

The Playlist has yet more cast members:

The cast also includes Xavier Samuel (“Adore,” “Fury,” “The Twilight Saga”) as the object of Lady Susan’s affections, Stephen Fry as Mr. Johnson, the long-suffering husband to Lady Susan’s friend and confidante Alicia (Sevigny), as well as Emma Greenwell, Morfydd Clark, Jemma Redgrave, James Fleet, Tom Bennett and Justin Edwards.

Mrs. Johnson’s first name is Alicia, so that confirms Chloe Sevigny’s role.

Xavier SamuelOhai, Reginald DeCourcy. (Commence swooning!)

We have high hopes for this production. If you haven’t seen Mr. Stillman’s delightful Metropolitan, which is not an adaptation of Mansfield Park precisely but certainly has echoes of it, try to track down the DVD. It’s unfortunately no longer available on Netflix streaming, but the DVD can be rented, and it’s available as a digital rental (and very inexpensive purchase) from Amazon in the U.S. If anyone can produce an Austen adaptation that doesn’t insult our intelligence, it is Whit Stillman. Fingers crossed!

Thanks to Alert Janeite Cinthia for sending us the good news!

Assumptions are stupid things made by stupid people

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Ask me how I know!

How do you know, Mags?

Here’s how. When I was putting together the movie tie-in section for Jane Austen Cover to Cover, I really really really wanted to include a movie tie-in edition for my very favorite Jane Austen adaptation, the 1995 adaptation of Persuasion starring Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds. I had managed to find editions for pretty much every major adaptation of Jane Austen novels, but I could not locate any tie-in edition for P95, or even some kind of visual proof that such an edition existed but could not be purchased or borrowed. I asked around among some of my Janeite friends, but no one owned or knew of such an edition.

If it were any other adaptation, I would have let it go at that, and not mentioned it at all. However, it had become clear that the movie tie-in editions would be a big piece of the book, and the lack of a P95 tie-in made me sad. That is my favorite adaptation, and I really wanted to include it. And I had a book with a cover from the film–the published script of the film. It’s a lovely image of a candlelit Amanda Root as Anne Elliot. I decided to include that cover in place of an actual novel that I could not find, and I not only stupidly assumed that no movie tie-in edition existed, I actually wrote that in the book. What could possibly go wrong? Continue reading

The Adventures of Jane and Thorin, Part the Third

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Jane Austen Finger Puppet: Hey, baby.

Thorin: …are you speaking to me, madam?

Finger Puppet: You so fine, baby.

Thorin: I beg your pardon?

Jane: Oh, dear. Your majesty, I apologize most profusely for my cousin’s bad manners.

Thorin: Oh, this is your cousin! I see the family resemblance.

Jane: …do you really?

Thorin: No, not really.

Jane: Oh, good.

Finger Puppet: Hey baby, let’s go there and back again.

Jane: Oh, will you hush!

Thorin: Pray do not regard it, Miss Austen.

Finger Puppet: Hey king baby, what do you say we make that big Elven sword go SCHWING!

Thorin: *chuckles*

Jane: *blushes*

Thorin: Truly, Miss Austen, I am not taking this seriously. You need not be embarrassed. I dare say we all have a relative or two that will put us to the blush.

Jane: I dare say yours won’t show up here and speak to me in such a disgusting manner.

Thorin: Probably for the best you haven’t met Fili and Kili, then.

Jane: Who?

Thorin: It doesn’t matter.

Finger Puppet: Is it warm in here or are you just smokin’?

Thorin: I–I didn’t bring my pipe, madam.

Jane: That’s not what she meant, your majesty. (To Finger Puppet) You revolting creature! Stop with such talk! Can’t you see Thorin is not a…not a… HOLLABACK KING?

Thorin: Miss Austen, that is quite the nicest thing you have ever said to me.

Jane: Well, if the simple creature doesn’t have the wit to figure that out for herself…

Finger Puppet: Hey king baby, did you bring your Horn of Gondor? Cause I know just how to blow it.

Thorin: I think, madam, you have perhaps confused me with Boromir.

Jane: *clutches head in hands* I am humiliated!

Thorin: Now, madam Finger Puppet, you see you have distressed your cousin. Off with you! Go torture some other Dwarf. I can probably find a few who are not as nice as I.

Jane: Come to think of it, she thinks Fanny Price should have married Henry Crawford.

Thorin: Well, that just shows you that her taste was wrongly formed.

Finger Puppet: Your loss, baby. *wanders off muttering “REDRUM! REDRUM!”*

Jane: Thank you, your majesty. Thank you for your kindness.

Thorin: My pleasure, Miss Austen. To serve you is…always my pleasure.

Jane: Careful, sir.

Thorin: Yes, madam.

Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!

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Jane Austen by Cassandra Chouinard

Jane Austen by Cassandra Chouinard

“By-the-bye, as I must leave off being young, I find many douceurs in being a sort of chaperon, for I am put on the sofa near the fire, and can drink as much wine as I like.” – Letter from Jane Austen to Cassandra, November 6, 1813

Dearest Jane, may you be enjoying a warm fire, good wine, and the collective love of your readers worldwide on this day.

There’s lots of cool stuff going on all over the Internets today to celebrate Herself’s birthday. We’ve been retweeting like crazy!

The Jane Austen Centre in Bath has declared December 16 Jane Austen Day. (Every day around AustenBlog World Headquarters is Jane Austen Day, but it’s nice to make it official.) They are also offering a discount today in the gift shop.

The Jane Austen Society of North America has published the latest edition of Persuasions On-line, as it does every December 16.

In celebration of the 200th anniversary of Mansfield Park, Sarah Emsley has been hosting a year-long series of posts about the novel written by Janeite scholars, authors, bloggers, and fans on her blog, and this week she’s putting up a new post each day.

Austen in Boston has collected Herself’s birthday greetings and fun from around Facebook.

Quirk Books is hosting a big giveaway in honor of Jane Austen’s Day–win a copy Jane Austen Cover to Cover, The Jane Austen Handbook, and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters! C’mon, you can’t beat that combination.

There’s still time to get in on the giveaway of two copies of JAC2C on Robin Kall’s site (and check out the podcast interview with the Editrix!)

And we think we overhear Thorin and Jane having a little convo… ;-) Happy Jane Austen Day, Gentle Readers!

Jane Austen Centre at Bath Unveils Wax Figure of Jane Austen

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It’s probably safe to say that all Janeites have had at least one moment of curiosity about what Jane Austen looked like. We don’t have much to go on–a dashed-off, incomplete, badly faded watercolor by Cassandra Austen is the only authenticated image of Jane Austen’s face, which has both frustrated Austen fans as well as inspiring them to create something better.

Today, the Jane Austen Centre at Bath unveiled a wax figure of Jane Austen, created by sculptor Mark Richards (the BBC has a shorter piece with a video interview of the sculptor), inspired by Melissa Dring’s forensic painting of Austen, done several years ago also for the Jane Austen Centre. The painting has received a mixed reception from Janeites, and we are not terribly fond of it, but we like this wax figure rather better. In fact, we like it quite a bit. Continue reading

The Adventures of Jane and Thorin, Part the Second

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Jane, Thorin and the Good Luck Troll Thorin: Miss Austen!

Jane: Yes, your majesty?

Thorin: Perhaps it has escaped your notice, madam, but you are at present under threat of a troll attack.

Troll: HELLO! I AM TROLL!

Jane: Oh…yes, I see.

Thorin: It would be my honour to defend you against this abominable creature, madam.

Jane: I hardly think that necessary, your majesty. He’s just a Good Luck Troll.

Troll: I BRING LUCK! GOOD GOOD LUCK!

Thorin: Back, foul beast! Touch one hair…er…one piece of plastic on this fair maiden and I will smite you!

Troll: WILL YOU BE MY FRIEND?

Jane: Oh, you are a poppet! *strokes his hair*

Thorin: Miss Austen, you are in imminent danger! I do request that you step back and let me send him back to the hell from which he sprung!

Jane: Someplace dark, and far underground, I suppose.

Thorin: Yes! ….wait a minute…

Jane: One should never judge by first impressions, your majesty.

Thorin. No, madam.

Jane: Now why don’t you put away your large Elven sword, and step back?

Thorin: Yes, madam. *mutters* damn damn damn damn…

Jane: I beg your pardon?

Thorin: Nothing, madam.

Casting News for Love and Friendship Movie

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Sienna Miller

Sienna Miller

Exciting news! Apparently things are forward enough with Whit Stillman’s adaptation of Lady Susan (weirdly called Jane Austen’s Love and Friendship, but in Whit we trust) that Sienna Miller has been cast as Lady Susan Vernon.

Chloe Sevigny has also been cast as “her close friend,” we suppose meaning Mrs. Johnson.

Stillman told Screen: “The other two early novels Jane Austen wrote became Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility ­ the story of the brilliant Lady Susan Vernon’s struggles with the wealthy, smug De Courcy clan is perhaps her most sparkling comedy.

“In our search for the right Susan Sienna Miller showed how the role might be infused with freshness and verve. She is a wonderful talent who will lead a brilliant ensemble cast.”

“Whit’s delicious screenplay revolving around the fantastically selfish Lady Susan is filled with the pleasurable comedy and pithy social insights for which both Stillman and Austen are renowned,” said Protagonist CEO Mike Goodridge.

We are actually kind of excited about this.

P.S. Does anyone else remember Keen Eddie?