Well, that didn’t take very long! Shooting has already begun on Whit Stillman’s Love and Friendship, and the paparazzi have obliged with photos from the set. We are perfectly delighted with the ladies’ hats shown in this article. We are also charmed by Ms. Beckinsale toting about a hot water bottle as shown at left–must be chilly in Dublin! Her outfit looks quite proper for Lady Susan Vernon, who has only been four months a widow and is still in mourning–though she appears to be wearing gray, or half-mourning, underneath. There are lots more photos in this article, including photos of Chloe Sevigny as Mrs. Johnson, Stephen Fry as Mr. Johnson, and Xavier Samuel as Reginald DeCourcy (and the sort-of hero has an article of his own as well). We know there is always a great deal of interest in the hero, so we’ve included a photo in this post as well.
As a general FYI, the article states the film is set in the 1790s. According to notes in the Oxford Illustrated edition of the Minor Works, R.W. Chapman thought Lady Susan was written around 1795 and Brian Southam thought it more properly belonged to 1793-1794.
There has been some confusion expressed over the title of this movie, and whether Austen’s hilarious juvenile story Love and Freindship (and for those who don’t know, that’s not a typo) will be part of the film, in some sort of mashup. We stress that we have no way of knowing for sure, but we’re happy to speculate. We doubt that Austen’s L&F is included in this production in any way. It is a completely different feel from Lady Susan–it’s very broad in its humor, and is a parody of the novels of sentiment of the time. Lady Susan is not at all a parody. From what we’ve seen, the casting of this movie has only included characters from Lady Susan, so it’s safe to assume that the only story will be Lady Susan. (Unless Stillman borrows from Patricia Rozema and has Frederica Vernon writing silly juvenile stories such as L&F? We hope not.) So why the change of title? Because when you think about it, the phrase “Love and Friendship” related to Lady Susan is kind of brilliant. There is so much manipulation and deception in LS masquerading as–love and friendship.
Also, Lady Susan is not well-known to the non-Janeite general public. A character called “Lady Susan,” to the Muggles, denotes a proper, upright woman of fine character–in other words, not Susan Vernon. Love and Friendship, as a title, will be easier to market–even more so as it will inevitably be Jane Austen’s Love and Friendship. That should bring ’em in in droves!
We have some more thoughts about Lady Susan that we will be posting later this week.