We 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.
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!