Fan of Jane Austen? Mark your calendars! This Friday, the film adaptation of a fictional novel, Austenland by Shannon Hale, opens in limited release.
One of the perks of living in Utah is attending the Sundance Film Festival, where Austenland premiered earlier this year.
Keri Russell stars as the Jane Austen-obsessed woman who spends her life savings to head to the English countryside where she vacations at a Regency-period resort. Guests are guaranteed flirtations and a proposal by the end of their stay. Just like Disneyland for the Elizabeth Bennett wanttabees.
The film was picked up by Sony Picture Classics.
The mostly-female audience burst with laughter as the comedy unfolded. Like most, I could see my slightly-obsessed self in the main character, Jane Hayes. Jennifer Coolidge often stole the show with her "Tally-ho!" and affected British accent. Jane Seymour plays a perfect Austenland hostess, Mrs. Wattlesbrook, who attempts to expel Jane for smuggling in an "unmentionable" cell phone.
Following our screening, we had a chance to hear from the Director Jerusha Hess, Producer Stephanie Meyer, and members of the cast, Keri Russell and JJ Feild and more.
Jerusha Hess opened by saying, " What do you get when Napoleon Dynamite meets vampires?Austenland.
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When asked how long it took to make Austenland and how much it cost, Ms. Hess replied, "39 days and a little less than The Hobbit."
The cast laughed about stuffed cock slippage, Jennifer Coolidge's unscripted dialogue and Keri Russell's ever-enlarging bust line as she was pregnant during filming.
See the full Cast Q&A on Sundance.org.
The film is based on a book by the same name, written by author Shannon Hale, Newbery-Honor Winner for The Princess Academy, a New York Times Best-Seller. I was lucky enough to stand in the concessions line by her dad who was beaming with pride. He said Shannon had been writing stories since age 6. Despite having her peers in her college creative writing class criticize her writing, her professor told them all she would certainly become a published author. Shannon stood graciously on the stage and said she was beyond thrilled to have seen her novel come to life.
Grab your girlfriends and find a theater near you to see Austenland!
More things Austen
Jane Austen Masterpiece on PBS
Need a bag like Jane's? Shop the I love Darcy Collection