Deadline reported further casting in the upcoming Netflix adaptation of Persuasion. Henry Golding, one of the leads of the delightful Crazy Rich Asians, will play Mr. Elliot. (Much of Janeite Twitter rejoiced at first at the idea of him playing Captain Wentworth, but oh well. The article reports, “I hear what attracted Golding to the role was the opportunity to play against type; Mr. Elliot being the callous and classic Austen foil.”)
At first we were quite excited and instantly revised our previous mixed reaction to this adaptation. Then we read the accompanying article…
In the Ron Bass and Alice Victoria Winslow penned script, Anne Elliot is an unconforming woman with modern sensibilities, living with her snobby family who are on the brink of bankruptcy.
What? What? What are these people doing to Persuasion? Unconforming? Modern sensibilities? Are filmmakers congenitally incapable of creating a strong female character who isn’t “unconventional” too? All they had to do was, you know, copy Jane Austen, who did it several times! And what does that mean, anyway, “unconforming”?
And why in the name of Rupert Penry-Jones are they making what will clearly be a terrible adaptation of an Austen novel and casting a really hot actor in it? Why?
Also this news about Unconforming Anne Elliot makes us wonder once again if it’s a period-set or modern-set film. But our questions remain. Quiet, introspective, intelligent, strongly moral women with quiet senses of humor exist in 2021, too. But if it’s period-set, we suppose that means she will go out without a bonnet and her hair all ahoo, or refuse to wear her corset so tightly laced it causes her skin to bleed.