Persuasion Adaptation in Development at Netflix

Dakota Johnson
Pietro Luca Cassarino, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

We who love Persuasion are wallowing in adaptations these days! Variety reports that Dakota Johnson is set to star in an adaptation of Persuasion currently in development for Netflix. It is unclear if this is meant to be a period-set adaptation or a modern day-set adaptation, and in either event is a bit of overkill as we’ve already had a modern-set Persuasion adaptation earlier this year and there’s a period-set adaptation meant for theaters that, if not in production, appears to be very close to it.

We have been frequently known to cry the mantra She Wrote Five Other Novels when the Great Unwashed always assume Austen = Darcy, but now we’d like to add the corollary She Wrote Four Even Besides That One, Including A Couple That Could Use A Thoughtfully Done Adaptation. We sort of feel like Mama Bakshi trying to interest Mr. Kohli in Lalita and not sure we will succeed because let’s face it *whispers* she’s a little difficult.

“Mansfield Park? Mans-mansfi… P-park?”*

And we really don’t mean to be a buzzkill. We should feel happy that our favorite Austen novel is getting so much attention. Bring on all the adaptations, right? And so far we’ve been interested in those announced, but honestly, with this one we’ve hit the wall, like that point when you’re about two-thirds through your Chipotle and trying to decide if it’s worth wrapping the rest up and putting it in the fridge when you know you’re just going to rediscover it a few months later exceedingly worse for its sojourn there, or make yourself uncomfortably full by finishing it because you paid for it and why waste it. It’s just all too much.

Also, we just can’t escape the suspicion that so many adaptations increases the chances that one of them will not be good and in fact will be very bad indeed.

As we said in the review of Modern Persuasion linked above, Persuasion is our heart novel, and we are going to be especially picky about any adaptation. Our head very sensibly tells us that the 1995 adaptation is not perfect, but our heart says it’s as close to perfect as it needs to be. Yes, the cast is fantastic, the costumes are great, the sets are lovely, but it’s really just the feeling we get that the people who made it have great love for the novel. If not, they faked it extremely well. And when it comes down to it, that’s what we love in an Austen adaptation. Let’s just hope that this latest crop has that quality as well.

*If you don’t know what this is from, go rent Bride and Prejudice this instant. NOW!

4 thoughts on “Persuasion Adaptation in Development at Netflix

  1. A. Marie

    True confessions time here: I quit watching any JA adaptations several years ago. JA herself is going to have to come down from Literary Valhalla and kiss the producer and director to make me watch another one. (And I’m an equal opportunity boycotter: I didn’t watch the 2011 Jane Eyre, either. Happy 205th birthday to CB, BTW.)

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