Thursday, June 13, 2013

News Flash: Death Comes To Pemberley (2013)

I am not sure how I missed this news that was apparently released at the end of May. There is to be a new TV miniseries about Pride and Prejudice based on the book Death Comes To Pemberley by mystery writer P.D. James!

News of this miniseries came back in February when it was rumored that Dan Stevens (Matthew Crawley in Downton Abbey) was to play Mr. Darcy but thankfully those rumors seem to be false.

Crime Writer P.D. James
Book Blurb: In their six years of marriage, Elizabeth and Darcy have forged a peaceful, happy life for their family at Pemberley, Darcy’s impressive estate. Her father is a regular visitor; her sister Jane and her husband, Bingley, live nearby; the marriage prospects for Darcy’s sister, Georgiana, are favorable. And preparations for their annual autumn ball are proceeding apace. But on the eve of the ball, chaos descends. Lydia Wickham, Elizabeth’s disgraced sister who, with her husband, has been barred from the estate, arrives in a hysterical state—shrieking that Wickham has been murdered. Plunged into frightening mystery and a lurid murder trial, the lives of Pemberley’s owners and servants alike may never be the same. - from Amazon listing

Screenplay was written by Juliette Towhidi and it will be directed by Daniel Percival (I've enjoyed a couple of his mystery TV series). Filming starts in Yorkshire, England in June and the three-part miniseries is expected to air on BBC One in the UK around Christmas time.

The most exciting news is that three major cast members have been announced!

Cast Announced So Far:

Matthew Goode as Mr. Wickham
If you've seen He Knew He Was Right then you might remember Matthew as Mr. Brook Burgess (Aunt Stanbury's nephew who takes a liking to Dolly - my favorite story of that miniseries!). He's been in a few other period drama films (Confessions of An Ugly Stepsister, Brideshead Revisited 2008, Copying Beethoven, Marple: A Murder Is Announced) which I don't really recommend but at least we know he has some experience with the costume drama genre. I also really enjoy his witty, slightly cheeky character in the modern romantic comedy film Leap Year (Read My Review) and have been wanting to see him do more period dramas. Overall I think his charming dark looks and charisma will make an irresistible Mr. Wickham! 


Anna Maxwell Martin as Elizabeth (Bennet) Darcy
We love her as Esther Summerson in Bleak House, Bessy Higgins in North & South and we think that Cassandra Austen she was the best thing about Becoming Jane. I call her one of my favorite actresses of all time (read my post on Anna) and have been longing to see her play a Jane Austen character such as Anne Elliot in Persuasion. Choosing a very clever actress like Anna to play Lizzy is a great move towards getting this Janeite on board with the whole idea of a P&P sequel. Not sure Anna exactly looks the part of Elizabeth   but she should be able to capture much of the character's personality quite well.


 Matthew Rhys as Mr. Darcy
Who is going to play Mr. Darcy is of course the big buzz, it seems to be the focus of the various announcement articles I've been reading online. 
I've seen Welsh actor Matthew Rhys in The Abduction Club and The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Read My Review). He's also been in a couple other period dramas including a role as Lord Byron in a Regency Era miniseries about style icon of the day Beau Brummell (tried watching it once really don't recommend it) which means he's no stranger to Regency fashions. The characters he's played before seem to have a lot of depth to them so we can have hope that he will do the same for Mr. Darcy.  

Matthew Rhys said: “Exciting as it is, one of the challenges of a part such as Darcy are the comparisons that will be drawn to those who've institutionalised him in the past. The beauty of 'Pemberley' is that it is an entirely new and different Darcy 6 years on. (And also, I don't have to appear from a lake in a white shirt and breeches).”

So long as Mr. Darcy doesn't end up being the murderer and as dark as John Jasper in Edwin Drood then Matthew Rhys might be okay. 


Announcement Links:

Other Links:

It will be interesting to see what other actors are drawn to this production and cast in the other roles and what new characters might be added to the story. It seems that Darcy & Lizzy have two young sons in the book so it will be interesting to see how that plays out. I read excerpts from the book on Amazon and found it interesting reading but the Austenprose review doesn't give the book a very high rating.

As I love Jane Austen and murder mysteries this film might be right up my alley, hopefully it will have Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy as the detective figures. And Death Comes To Pemberley (2013) can be considered as separate from P&P because it is a sequel, unlike Lost In Austen (2008) that just messed with the original story so badly. And if there's several nods to Pride & Prejudice (1995) then I'd like it even more! :)

What are your thoughts on this news and the cast so far?

Have you ever read Death Comes To Pemberley?

Who would you cast in minor roles like Lydia, Georgiana, Colonel Fitzwilliam or Lady Catherine?


Melody said...

Okay, I can see him as Wickham. But Anna Maxwell Martin as Lizzy??? Nooo... I mean, I love that actress, but as Lizzy? o.O But is it certain, absolutely certain? And John Jasper as Mr. Darcy? *shudders* Hahaha. He doesn't look like Darcy, either, but probably more than Anna looks like Lizzy... I'm not sure I like the ide-er of "an entirely new and different Darcy," though. :P

It's funny how the IMDb page says "Elizabeth Bennet" when it should really be Elizabeth Darcy! ;)

I hope this will be watch-able, because it should be fun to see what they do... I still don't think I want to read the book, though. :P I haven't really heard very good things about it... maybe the movie will be better. And I'm glad at least that it is Wickham who is murdered and not somebody we like! :D

I'm so starved for a new JA movie that even this excites me... but I reeeally wish somebody would make a newwww adaptation, a real adaptation, of MP or Persuasion or NA.

Thank you for the update!! :)

Rissi said...

Cool! Glad you shared this, Laurie. I posted about it a while back also and am skeptical about it. Matthew doesn't seem to "fit" the character of Darcy but... I'm willing to keep an open mind.

Not sure how I feel about Anna as Lizzy either (physically) however I know she'll be awesome in the role because she is a great actress!

Still excited about this production!

Miss Elizabeth Bennet said...

Okay, good! Cousin Matthew isn't going to be Mr. Darcy! I like Dan Stevens and all, but he's just not Mr. Darcy...

(By the way, I've never read Death Comes to Pemberley, so I'm speculating from my experience with Pride and Prejudice with the actor choices)

I could see Matthew Goode as Wickham. All I've seen him in is He Knew He Was Right, but I think he can look like Wickham.

Anna Maxwell Martin looks too old to be Lizzy. If Lizzy is only supposed to be roughly 26 in Death Comes to Pemberley, she looks too old.

I don't know about Matthew Rhys... If Dan Stevens was one end of the spectrum, Matthew Rhys is the other end. He looks too dark and creepy to be Mr. Darcy... 'Course I could be saying that because I've only seen him in The Mystery of Edwin Drood...

Not sure if I'll end up watching the movie if it comes out, but I may follow production a little bit just to see who's getting cast.

Abilaine said...

I didn't really like the idea in the first place ... with respect to the author of course, I didn't even really take a liking to idea of the book's plot.

But who knows ... the series may turn out very neat after all my protests. :D

I hope!

Emma Jane said...

Oooh! This sounds really interesting! SO glad Dan Stevens isn't going to play Mr. just doesn't sound like it would work. Plus I'm not too happy with hims right now, having just finished the 3rd season of Downton Abbey....:(
Oooh, Matthew Rhys as Mr. Darcy!!! That ought to be very interesting! My sister and I just watched The Mystery of Edwin Drood and have concluded that he is a "thundering good actor". :) He has such a powerful baritone voice, he seems like he'd make a good Phantom of the Opera. :P
And I love Anna Maxwell Martin! She's one of my favourites as well. She doesn't really strike me as Lizzy, but we shall see!

~Emma Jane

Mrs. Thornton said...

Yes, I've read it. Well, first I need to say that I'm not a fan of fanfiction, and this book is a fanfiction that got lucky! Don't expect love story or romance!! No, no, Darcy and Elizabeth barely see each other! But it's worth reading, I won't deny it. If you like crime and suspense, in Victorian period, it's the right book for you!

Katelyn said...

I have listened to an audio version of the book from my local library and quite enjoyed it. A mini-series should be interesting to watch; my biggest problem will be getting used to different people playing the characters.

Hayden said...

Crazily enough, I actually got this book from the library and read it. I didn't care for it too much (asides from not being expertly Pride-and-Prejudice-ish, I found it rather boring) but it might make an interesting movie.

One thing I did like about the book was that other JA characters are mentioned- for example, apparently Wickham had been working for Sir Walter Elliot in between the ending of P&P and the beginning of Death Comes to Pemberley. If I remember correctly, he was fired ;)

I don't think Anna Maxwell Martin really looks like Elizabeth, but I really like her as an actress, so I'm definitely willing to give her a try. It will take a little getting used to to see "John Jasper" rather as Mr. Darcy...but again, willing to give it a shot:) And Wickham's casting sounds good- Dorothy and Brooke's story was my favorite storyline in He Knew He Was Right, as well :)

Laura Smith said...

Thanks for the heads up on this exciting new program. I say let's keep the North and South idea going and have Richard Armitage as Darcy. Oh but I guess he is a little busy at the moment being a dwarf.

Essy Romaine said...

Speaking as someone who read the book and loved it, I'm superbly excited to hear that it it being dramatized. Normally Anna Maxwell Martin wouldn't be my choice for Lizzie, but having just seen The Bletchley Circle I'd wager she's a pretty good choice for DCtP. I think I'd say the same for Matthew Rhys as well. He was delightful as John Jasper and I think he'll be a good Darcy for the tonally darker DCtP. As for Mr. Goode playing Wickham, I think he'll be perfect. Something about him just seems to suggest useless waster. All in all I think it should be quite good.

Hamlette said...

I read the novel when it first came out and was disappointed. The prologue is hilarious and totally worth reading and rereading, as it kind of encapsulates what happens in P&P and after the Darcys and Bingleys get married. Loved that. But the rest of the book lacked the same playful tone as the prologue, Darcy repeated his testimony three or four times too often, and overall, I just found it not up to P. D. James' usual standard. Dunno what went wrong. So maybe a filmed version will fix some of those problems and work better!

(My full review of the book is here.)

Hubers said...

I really think that they need to do the regular story of P&P first with the new characters so we can sort of slowly move in to the sequel. I so dislike when they change up actors for sequel(s). It kind of spoils the movie :/


Anonymous said...

Anna Maxwell Martin is too old and plain to be 26 year old Lizzie. She looks frumpy and unkept. I couldn't enjoy the drama because of this miscast!

Anonymous said...

Anna Maxwell Martin is too old and plain to be 26 year old Lizzie. She looks frumpy and unkept. I couldn't enjoy the drama because of this miscast!

Anonymous said...

I couldn't enjoy the show because Anna is so wrong for the part of Lizzy! She is too old and unattractive. Pemberley must have really taken its toll in 6 years. She is supposed to be super wealthy and yet her hair and dress were as dowdy as they come. She is not at all lively and witty. I can't imagine Darcy being attracted to her,yuk.

Opaldess said...

I must agree with those who are terribly disappointed with the choice of Anna for playing Lizzy. I was so turned off every time I saw her face on the first episode that I stopped watching the series altogether. Lizzy, with bags under her eyes, flaccid eyelids and a haggard face at the young age of 26? She looked more like a poor relation with her plain attire, unkept hair, and lack of overall elegance. How can she be only 26 years old and the sister of the much more beautiful actress who plays Lydia? Wasn't she supposed to be considered a beauty in Meryton? No offense, but I don't think Ms. Maxwell has ever been very physically attractive. No matter how good an actress she may be, it was very bad casting judgement. To me, it was almost sacrilegious. What a pity. It may only be aesthetics, but for Regency fans, the beauty and elegance of the period are important parts of our attraction.

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