Saturday, February 21, 2015

Newsflash: Love and Friendship

Attention all my Janeite friends! Another Jane Austen adaptation is in production!
Lady Susan is finally getting adapted for the big screen! I'm rather excited because I really enjoy this story written in letters, but a bit worried that they could take a bad spin on it and leave out the satire and wit that is Jane Austen's genius. I'm not familiar with the script writer or other production crew, but I know they are filming in Ireland now!

Story: Set in the 1790s, Love and Friendship centers on beautiful widow Lady Susan Vernon, who has come to the estate of her in-laws to wait out colorful rumors about her dalliances circulating through polite society. Whilst there, she decides to secure a husband for herself and her rather reluctant debutante daughter, Frederica.

Title: Instead of calling it Lady Susan this production is being called Love and Friendship. It is unclear why they have decided to use the title of one of Jane Austen's Juvenalia works, but it sort of makes sense since it like Lady Susan is written in letters and Love and Friendship is really what this story is all about. Mags at AustenBlog had some interesting thoughts on the title too.

Actors: Here are the actors listed on the IMDb page.

Kate Beckinsale as Lady Susan Vernon
She was Emma Woodhouse in Emma (1997) and is no stranger to period dramas. And now, at the age of 42, I am excited to see her portray Jane Austen's anti-heroine. She has the charm and the presence to capture Lady Susan to a tea!

Chloë Sevigny as Alicia Johnson
I am not familiar with this American actress but apparently she started out as a model/designer and this may be her first period drama. She looks good in the period costume below and I can see her being the gossipy best friend of Lady Susan. 

Xavier Samuel as Reginald De Courcy
This Australian actor's claim to fame is the Twightlist Saga but he has been in period dramas before and is the right age for Reginald. 

Stephen Fry as Mr. Johnson
I certainly never thought to see Mr. Fry in a Jane Austen adaptation but this story is different from Jane Austen's other novels and Mr. Johnson is similar to a Mr. Bennet character. 

Emma Greenwell as Catherine Vernon
I can't say I've ever seen her act but she has the right look for Catherine and funnily enough she is set to also play Caroline Bingley in Pride & Prejudice and Zombies. I hope they stay true to Jane Austen's character and make her the kind compassionate friend that Frederica needs.

Morfydd Clark as Frederica Vernon
This actress with the neat Welsh name is fairly new to the screen but she's not only lined up to play Frederica but also Georgiana Darcy in Pride & Prejudice and Zombies. I'm interested to see how they portray Frederica, hopefully as the sweet young lady that Jane Austen created.

I'm very pleased to see Mr. Fleet in yet a third Jane Austen related film (Sense & Sensibility 1995, Death Comes To Pemberley) and another period drama! I'm hopefully that he will play Sir Reginald De Courcy, father of Reginald and Catherine.

A wonderful actress, Jemma has portrayed Lady Bertram in Mansfield Park (2007) and has been in other period dramas. I'm thinking she will probably play Lady Catherine De Courcy mother of Reginald and Catherine, but there's a couple other roles she could play including Mrs. Manwaring whose husband Lady Susan entices.

I've really enjoyed him on a few British panel shows and I have to say that this guy is comic genius. I'm picturing him as Sir James Martin, the blundering gentleman who wants to marry Frederica, but he'd be equally as good playing Mr. Manwaring or even Charles Vernon.

He's been in a couple small period drama series but nothing major. Not sure what character he might play but it could be Charles Vernon or Sir James Martin, maybe Mr. Manwaring. 

Not sure who she is set to play but I'm picturing her as either Miss Maria Manwaring or Frederica's teacher Miss Summers. Doesn't look like she's been in any period dramas but her name appears on the IMDb page.

Ross Mac Mahon as Owen
Firstly I'm not sure who this Owen character is, unless he's a servant or a friend of Reginald's. He's not on this handy dandy list of Lady Susan characters.

Production Photos:
Photos of actors in their costumes are already popping up! Costumes seem to be from the late 1700's which perfectly suits the time that Jane Austen wrote Lady Susan. Photos come from three different interesting articles: one, two, three. The photos seem like they might be from a scene towards the end of the story.
Xavier Samuel as Reginald De Courcy

Stephen Fry as Mr. Johnson

Chloë Sevigny as Alicia Johnson

Chloë Sevigny as Alicia Johnson

Chloë Sevigny & Kate Beckinsale

Chloë Sevigny & Kate Beckinsale

Kate Beckinsale as Lady Susan

Kate Beckinsale & Chloë Sevigny

All in all the film is looking like it will be good!

I am currently rereading Love and Freindship to see if it has any similarities to Lady Susan but other than the letters there isn't. I will be rereading Lady Susan next because it's been a while and it is brilliant! :)

Have you read Lady Susan?
What do you think of this cast?

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Making Of A Lady (2012)

The Making Of A Lady (2012) is Victorian era mystery or thriller of sorts, based loosely on Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Making of a Marchioness. It re-aired on PBS last fall and I meant to watch it then, so when I saw it on Netflix I took my chance. It was quite disappointing and a rather scary but with a happy ending. I'm pretty sure it wasn't much like the book, but I haven't read it yet.

I dislike doing negative reviews so I'm trying to keep this one short. This film looks good at first but it turns ugly in the middle. I don't recommend it.

Story: Poor but intelligent Emily Fox Seton accepts a marriage proposal from the older Lord James Walderhurst, a widower pushed into providing an heir by his haughty aunt Maria, Emily's employer. It is an arrangement for them both - in James' case to stop the family home passing to James' cousin Alec Osborn and his Anglo-Indian wife Hester. However affection soon grows between them but James is posted to India with his regiment and the Osborns come to stay with Emily, telling her James sent them to look after her. But they have lied and Alec's alarming mood swings brought on by illness threatens Emily's pregnancy and drives the staff away. Soon Emily realizes that the couple mean to kill her and take the house for themselves. With only her loyal maid Jane for support how can she thwart their plan?

Characters & Actors:
  • Lydia Wilson as Emily Fox Seton - Main character, she is kind but clever and at the same time a little bit dumb to allow the evil characters to get close to her.  
  • Linus Roache as Lord James Walderhurst - He marries Emily, and it's hard to figure him out at first whether he's good or bad. It seems like he could have put more protection in place for his new wife, especially if he knew his relatives were capable of murder. 
  • Joanna Lumley as Lady Maria Byrne - Walderhurst's aunt who does not approve of his marriage to her companion who she treats poorly. I think eventually she sees how good Emily is for her nephew.
  • James D'Arcy as Captain Alec Osborn - Ugh! I usually really enjoy James D'Arcy in period drama roles but in this one he plays the crazed murdering villain and it's awful! :(  And I hate that this character's name is Alec because I rather like that name. 
  • Hasina Haque as Hester Osborn - She's Alec's wife and does exactly what he wants her to do. You kind of want to like her but she follows his murderous schemes so it's rather impossible. 
  • Sarah Ridgeway as Jane - Emily's friend who comes to work as her ladies maid and all seems well until even she is beguiled by Alec. 
  • Souad Faress as Ameerah - Hester's loyal servant who is also from India. Unfortunately she sides with Alec over Hester in the end and puts Emily's life in danger. She's one creepy person.
  • Malcolm Storry  as Mr. Litton - The loyal butler who unfortunately gets killed during the film. There seems like there was a lot more that he could have done to help protect Emily, even before he was found dead.
  • Claire Hackett as Mrs. Litton - The cook/housekeeper, again there seemed like she could have alerted the authorities to the murderous plot going on, even if she was afraid for her own life after the death of her husband.

The Long & The Short Of It: The movie starts out weird and turns scary, more of a Victorian era thriller similar to The Woman In White, The Moonstone and The Mystery Of Edwin Drood only slightly worse. It does have a happy ending but I'm not sure it's worth watching the creepiness of the rest of the film. It is a slightly racist story as it makes the Indian characters as the bad guys, giving a rather "they are from a different country so of course they are evil" attitude to the "good" characters. There seems like there could of been a less traumatic way to try and kill Emily at the end, she was in the priest's hole at one point so they could have just sealed up the air holes. Kind of weird that they missed out on that opportunity. I recommend you steer clear of this film at all costs!

Have you seen The Making Of A Lady (2012)?
Anybody know if the book is any good? I'm thinking about trying the audio book. 

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