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Jane Austen News – Issue 116 – Colin Firth

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? Colin Firth! 


Colin Firth Broods Again

Colin Firth as DarcyIf you’re reading this then in all likelihood the role that you most associate with Colin Firth is the brooding Mr Darcy from the BBC’s 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Well, good news, Firth-Darcy fans: Colin’s next big role is another classic brooding character.

Film companies StudioCanal and Heyday Films are currently working on a new film adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s beautiful novel, The Secret Garden. Colin Firth will play the mysterious and complex character of the bereaved Archibald Craven. Julie Walters is also set to star as strict head housekeeper Mrs Medlock. Filming begins this month but there’s no firm news on a release date as of yet.

However, just an aside, it’s not The Secret Garden you might recognise from the book or the 1993 feature film which featured Maggie Smith as Mrs Medlock. The book is set in the Edwardian era in which it was first published, but the new film will be start in 1947 as the partition of India began and Britain was in the post-war aftermath. As well as welcoming Colin Firth back to our screens, it will be interesting to see what the change of setting brings to the story!

Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 116 – Colin Firth

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Jane Austen News – Issue 85

The Jane Austen News is a festival report

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  

“As Spectacular As It Is Surreal”

We loved watching this report from Helen Coffey of The Independent newspaper.

Helen made the journey from London to Bath especially to take part in the first full day of the Jane Austen Festival on Saturday 9th. Though as you’ll see if you watch her video, her journey was nothing compared to the distances which some Jane fans had traveled!


Noteworthy News

One of the biggest Jane Austen stories this week has to be that, finally, the new Jane Austen £10 note has been released into general circulation. On September 14th a lucky few found themselves being given the new notes by banks, ATMs and as change. So, what have been the ‘noteworthy’ news stories surrounding the notes:

1. If you’re going to Scotland on holiday and hope to come away with a Jane Austen £10 note as a souvenir you might need to think again. While there may be some notes that make their way that far north, Scottish banks won’t be issuing them. That’s because Scotland differs from England and Wales in that it has three commercial banks that issue their own banknotes – rather than relying on the Bank of England.

2. BBC One Breakfast News presenter Charlie Stayt nearly got himself into trouble when he managed to fold and crease one of the notes that he and fellow newsreader Naga Munchetty had been granted special access to on the day of the official release. She was not impressed: “[They’re] also supposed to be crease-free – unless your name is Charlie Stayt.” (He had supposedly scrunched up one of the new notes during the BBC Breakfast show’s early morning run.)

3. As is the case with the £5 notes, some of the new £10 notes could be worth thousands thanks to their serial numbers. The £5 notes with low serial numbers beginning ‘AA’ were highly sought after. This is still the case with the £10 notes, but in addition to these some of the most valuable serial numbers include; 16 121775 – her birth date, 18 071817 – her death date, and 17 751817 – her birth and death year combined.

4. If you’re itching to get your hands on one of the new Jane Austen £10 notes then good Jane Austen news! We’ll soon have specially framed notes for sale via the Online Giftshop. So even if you aren’t coming to the UK in the near future, you’ll still be able to have an Austen note of your very own.


 Before He Was Darcy

The Internet has been all aflutter this week as images of Colin Firth in his first ever film have resurfaced and spread like wildfire. Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 85

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Jane Austen News – Issue 84

The Jane Austen News looks at the promenade

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  

A Wonderful Walk Was Had By All

On Saturday (the 9th) we saw the fourteenth Jane Austen Festival in Bath officially opened with the traditional Regency  promenade.

The parade began from the front of the Royal Crescent at 11am, and wound its way through the historic streets of Bath, finishing up at the beautiful Parade Gardens where a floral tribute to Jane Austen in this, her bicentenary year, has been on display throughout summer (you can read more about it in previous editions of the Jane Austen News here and here).

The promenade was a big success; the sun was shining and the weather was just ideal! Around 550 people took part in this year’s promenade and, in case you couldn’t be with us, here’s a quick edit of the event.


 

A New Pride and Prejudice Pilot Is On The Way

Curtis Sittenfeld’s Pride and Prejudice adaptation Eligible is getting a pilot.

Sittenfeld published her book back in 2016 as part of the Harper Collins ‘Austen Project’, which sees six famous authors re-writing Jane’s classic novels in a modern setting. Val McDermid rewrote Northanger Abbey, Joanna Trollope did Sense and Sensibility, Alexander McCall Smith took on Emma, and as for Persuasion and Mansfield Park, these are both still yet to be released and the names of the authors taking them on have not yet been announced.

The project has been a real success overall; especially Sittenfeld’s book. Eligible was on the New York Times Bestseller List for many weeks and was hailed as “book of the summer” by the Times. Now it appears that it may also be turned into a new TV series.

Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 84

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Jane Austen News – Issue 36

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 

Jane Austen’s Daily Quote App

Jane-Austen-app1Good news! The android version of the Jane Austen quote app has been updated!

As with the older version of the app it is still free and provides a new Jane Austen quote straight to your phone at a time to suit you every day. However, it now loads much faster, with quicker quote loading and a smoother user experience all round. Plus the app is still loaded with lots of other Austen goodies; free articles from the Jane Austen Centre online magazine and easy access to the Online Giftshop and Centre news.

To get the update users with the old version will have to uninstall their version and install the new one. On the other hand if you don’t have the app yet but would like to download it, you can get the Jane Austen Daily Quote app for Apple and Android devices from iTunes or Google Play.


Jane Austen – Master Beer Brewer   

spruce2This week the Jane Austen News has come across a lovely little blog post which talks about Jane’s penchant for brewing beer – perhaps not the first thing to come to mind when you think of Jane.

Here are a few great facts from Nick Hines’ post on VinePair:

  • Beer was safer than water and was considered a daily necessity just like food.
  • It was the woman’s role to provide the beer.
  • Jane’s beer of choice was spruce beer; a beer brewed using the buds of a spruce tree, which give off citrus and pine flavours.

A timeless author and a master brewster?! (As the female brewers of the age were called.) Jane really was one talented lady.


Six Ways Jane Austen Has Shaped My Relationships    

What's the Jane Austen News this week asks EmmaJane Austen has sometimes been accused of giving people unrealistic expectations when it comes to relationships. After all, not everyone can be so devoted as Colonel Brandon, or as (eventually) eloquent in their devotion as Mr Darcy, but one post on Bustle caught the eye of the Jane Austen News because it was extolling Jane’s novels as being a help, not a hinderance, when it comes to forming good relationships. And how?

  1. They make you more forgiving of your family’s quirks (e.g. “thank goodness my mother is not Mrs Bennet”).
  2. They prove that character is more important than charm.
  3. They make you more understanding of your friend’s choices (Lizzy on Charlotte’s marriage anyone?).
  4. Look after your siblings.
  5. Appreciate second chances.
  6. Patience is a virtue.

We’re know there are more reasons why reading Austen is helpful for relationships, but this is certainly a good starter list!


Bridget Jones Needs A Man Like…   

first-photos-from-the-new-bridget-jones-s-baby-movie-rumor-has-it-she-doesn-t-know-who-763555…Always? That’s the conclusion of some disheartened Bridget Jones fans this week having seen the new film.

In the most recent Bridget Jones film, Bridget is pregnant and unsure who the father is. Bridget is a strong, modern woman, and yet she spends the film trying to choose which of the two potentials she needs to have as the father of her baby. The implication being that she is unable to cope alone.

When Jane Austen wrote Pride and Prejudice (which was the inspiration for Bridget Jones) the sad fact was that unless Lizzy wanted to become a poor spinster then she did need a man so Austen can’t be criticised for her fixation on marriage. Things have changed a lot in 200 years though, and so it’s a shame that despite major advances in gender equality (female suffrage anyone?) it would seem that the mainstream message for women is still the same: you need a man. At least this is the conclusion of quite a few disappointed Jones fans. Thoughts?


Colin Firth Too Ginger?!   
colin-firth-pride-and-prejudice-darcy-colin-firth-16177744-700-771Fans of the 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice have this week been shocked to discover that Colin Firth was nearly dismissed for the part because he was too ginger! Scriptwriter Andrew Davies said, “I was a bit doubtful about Colin at the time because of his colouring…He didn’t have those dark curls back then.”

Luckily producer Sue Birtwhistle was a very vocal supporter of Firth and was “absolutely convinced that he would be wonderful”. She persuaded Davies and the team agreed that Colin would have to dye his hair for the part. “He did go dark and he stayed dark ever since,” Davies said.


Poldark Vs. Darcy     

ross_poldark_had_a_mr_darcy_moment_in_series_2_episode_4___but_who_wore_the_white_shirt_best_Poldark took a leaf out of Mr Darcy’s book this weekend as in episode 4 of series 2 he went rushing into the water at Nampara Cove to aid Demelza; while wearing a white shirt that very much echoed the one Colin Firth was wearing when leapt into that lake in Pride and Prejudice.

Now the Radio Times are asking who wore it best? Colin or Aidan? (Though there are surely a few people asking whether we have to choose between them. Let’s have both!)


Jane Austen Day with Charlotte

Jane Austen News is our weekly compilation of stories about or related to Jane Austen. Here we will feature a variety of items, including craft tutorials, reviews, news stories, articles and photos from around the world. If you’d like to include your story, please contact us with a press release or summary, along with a link. You can also submit unique articles for publication in our Jane Austen Online Magazine.

Don’t miss our latest news – become a Jane Austen Member and receive a digest of stories, articles and news every week. You will also be able to access our online Magazine with over 1000 articles, test your knowledge with our weekly quiz and get offers on our Online Giftshop. Plus new members get an exclusive 10% off voucher to use in the Online Giftshop.

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Jane Austen News – Issue 35

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 

Pride and Prejudice At The Ballet      

screen-shot-2016-09-18-at-17-11-13

Stage adaptations of Jane Austen have become increasingly popular in recent years (we look at one such adaptation later on in this week’s Jane Austen News). We’ve had one-woman shows, Jane Austen musicals, Jane Austen improv, but one we personally haven’t come across before is one of Jane Austen’s novels staged as a ballet. However Ballet Fantastique will be doing just that. Their first show of the 2016-17 season is bringing back a 2012 premiere, Pride and Prejudice: A Parisian Jazz Ballet.

“We’re taking the classic Jane Austen novel and remixing it with 1920s Paris,” said their marketing director Katey Finley in a recent interview. “A live band will be wearing snazzy suits and playing live period jazz along with great choreography, like doing The Charleston en pointe.”

How fantastic is that?!


A Book Of One’s Own

mrs-norris-1983-anna-massey

Orion recently bought the novel Perception by Terri Fletcher, which will chronicle the life of Mary Bennet, the third Bennet sister, after Jane, Elizabeth and Lydia leave Longbourne. In the past all of the Bennet sisters have at one time or another seen the spotlight and had new adventures written about them, but a recent blog post by Alicia Kort has got us thinking on the subject of literary women whose stories deserve further exploration. What other strong female characters in literature deserve their own novels but as of yet haven’t been given one?

Alicia suggests; Hermione Granger (The Harry Potter series), Dasiy Buchanan (The Great Gatsby), Teresa Agnes (The Maze Runner), and Sam Dutton (The Perks of Being a Wallflower). These are all great suggestions, but at the Jane Austen News we can think of more than just the Bennet sisters who could fill a book of their own. The tale of Mrs Norris’s first love anyone?


Sense and Sensibility Too Sensible?    
wk-stage0916-3The New York theatre company Bedlam is staging a new adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, but rather than focusing primarily on the romance of the story, director and co-founder Eric Tucker wants to bring out the comedy within the novel that he feels is all too often overlooked.

To do this Tucker is making the play more minimalist and modern. He’s getting rid of detailed backdrops and putting wheels on all of the furniture so it can be easily moved, and used; when a young woman is fleeing social judgment she scoots away on a chair, only to be pursued by the gossips on their own mobile seating. Tucker uses physical theatre and a brisk pace to bring out the wit that he feels can be lost in a lot of adaptations.

A lot of the movie versions of Austen tamp down the comedy and make the stories period-piece melodrama. I didn’t want that. I wanted it to be raw and modern. One of the reviews said our ‘Sense and Sensibility’ was Dickensian. I liked that. Our production in New York was very bawdy, and it surprised people who thought they didn’t like Austen. But she was pretty wicked in her letters — very gossipy, saying the most awful things about people.

Eric Tucker

At the Jane Austen News we wish them the best of luck with their new production. Jane had so much wit and so many comedic moments in her novels and this is not always remembered; we think she’d approve.


What Made Colin Firth Reject Mark Darcy    

bridget-jones-3-trailer2
With the recent UK release of Bridget Jones’s Baby, Colin Firth has been giving quite a few interviews to help promote the film, and, of course, in a fair few of them the subject of Mr Darcy comes up. One that caught our eye was an interview he gave to Eric Eisenberg for CinemaBlend.com. In the interview Firth talks about how, even following such amazing success with the 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice where he played a modern traditional Darcy, he originally turned down the role of Mark Darcy who he plays in the Bridget Jones films.

I started off thinking there was no way in with that character. I originally turned it down, because I didn’t think… how do you play this guy who doesn’t do anything really? He just sort of stands around and scowls and looks imperious. And I thought, ‘Well, sure, I can do that, but will anyone give a damn? It’s not appealing!

Happily he kept the role in mind and eventually came round to the idea thinking:

‘Well, maybe there’s something fun in that. You don’t have to be charming. You just have to be incredibly distant and dislikable.’ And I thought, ‘That’s pretty liberating!’ So that was an incentive.

We didn’t know he’d turned the role down at first, but we’re glad he changed his mind! It’s hard to imagine the Bridget Jones films or the 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice being such a success without him.


Unleashing Mr Darcy   
90And from one Mr Darcy to another.

Another modern film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice has been made and just released by Hallmark.

In this version of Pride & Prejudice, Elizabeth Scott (Cindy Busby) decides to show her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in a dog show in New York, but she clashes with the arrogant judge Donovan Darcy (Ryan Paevey). In true Jane Austen fashion, Elizabeth learns that Mr. Darcy is far more kind and interesting than she ever imagined.

In this video Ryan Paevey talks about his views on Darcy, and just why his Darcy finds Lizzy so attractive and irritating. Some clips from the film and more details can be found here.


Love and Friendship   

loveetcThere’s less than a week to go before Whit Stillman’s film adaptation of Love and Friendship is released on DVD in the UK, and we can’t wait! It’s due out on Monday 26th September and we have the date marked on our calendar. Though if you’re a U.S. Jane Austen fan you don’t have to wait because the DVD came out in the U.S. on September 6th. We’re a little jealous…


Jane Austen Day with Charlotte

Jane Austen News is our weekly compilation of stories about or related to Jane Austen. Here we will feature a variety of items, including craft tutorials, reviews, news stories, articles and photos from around the world. If you’d like to include your story, please contact us with a press release or summary, along with a link. You can also submit unique articles for publication in our Jane Austen Online Magazine.

Don’t miss our latest news – become a Jane Austen Member and receive a digest of stories, articles and news every week. You will also be able to access our online Magazine with over 1000 articles, test your knowledge with our weekly quiz and get offers on our Online Giftshop. Plus new members get an exclusive 10% off voucher to use in the Online Giftshop.

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Jane Austen News – Issue 33

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?

 

Colin Firth Doesn’t Think Mr Darcy Is Attractive

mr-darcy-coverColin Firth has confessed that he doesn’t understand why Mr Darcy is so popular. In fact he said that he took the role not to be a heart-throb but because he “thought it would be quite fun and liberating to play someone who was completely and utterly dislikeable, unsympathetic, judgemental and snobbish.”

While speaking to the Daily Mail he also said;

I didn’t have to think about bringing charm to the role – the way I saw it, I just had to stand there and make everyone hate me … then this weird thing happened where people liked him, which wasn’t what I was expecting at all! We’re 20 years on and I still don’t understand it.

He may not understand how it happened, but he most definitely did make Mr Darcy a success.


And Adrain Lukis Doesn’t Think Mr Wickham Is That Bad     

1jarw.jpg.galleryFrom one actor with an unusual take on his character to another.

Many would consider Mr Wickham, with his attempted, and later successful, elopements and his constant lying, to be the villain of Pride and Prejudice. However, Adrian Lukis who played him in the 1995 BBC production doesn’t see him that way.

While speaking to reporter Flora Thompson he said

I do not see Wickham as an out-and-out villain. People are not meant to see him as that – he is an adventurer, he doesn’t have any money – we all know someone like that. He lives on his wits.

I went about preparing for the character by using how he is described by others in the book – he is seen as an amiable man who is economical with the truth. That’s how I chose to play him, not as an archetypal villain.


Ever Jane – Jane Austen as a Role Playing Game

i927zkeoe3ecgqmucfz8Following a successful Kickstarter campaign which was begun in 2013 and raised $US110,000, the new Jane Austen MMORG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game –  a type of game genre which allows thousands of gamers to play in the game’s evolving virtual world at the same time) called Ever Jane has reached its beta test stages.

The full game is set to be released next year and can involve quests such as delivering a handkerchief or wrangling a sheep, and character stats, including status, kindness, duty and reputation. One tester said of the game: “I encountered about a dozen characters total, all of whom remained dapper and spoke in proper English throughout my in-game travels, which at one point led me to an elegant ballroom.”

The lead developer of the game, Judy L. Tyrer, does make it clear that this is not your normal online game; “It’s not about kill or be killed, but invite or be invited. Instead of raids, we will have grand balls. Instead of dungeons, we will have dinner parties.”

At the Jane Austen News we’re most curious to see the finished result when it’s available next year!


Author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies to be Sued by Publisher  

Pride and Prejudice and ZombiesAlways a controversial subject among Austen fans is that of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Now its author Seth Grahame-Smith is in hot water again, only this time with his publisher.

In 2010, Grahame-Smith signed a $1 million deal for two books; one a follow-up to his book Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and the second a novel on a new topic to be delivered in 2013. Both, unlike Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, were meant to be entirely his own work and not a mash-up with another classic author’s work. Unfortunately after 34 months of delays, Grahame-Smith finally submitted a manuscript so disappointing that his publisher Hachette has filed a lawsuit against him for the money which they had advanced for the works.

Hachette’s legal complaint says that the new manuscript was meant to be “original with Author in all respects,” (Hachette describes the manuscript he submitted as “in large part an appropriation of a 120-year-old public-domain work”) and said that it “is not comparable in style and quality to Smith’s wholly original bestseller Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.”

Grahame-Smith is yet to make a statement commenting on the lawsuit.


If Zack Synder Did Sense and Sensibility…     

Zack Snyder – director of the films 300Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has a very distinct style. He goes for moody, dark, rain soaked, shots full of slow-motion effects in his films. This is great for thrillers and action films, but not an approach we at the Jane Austen News would naturally think of using for the retelling of a literary classic.

So with this juxtaposition in mind some of his fans have made a parody imaging what it might be like if he did. Sense and Sensibility Synder-style begins in the film below at 1:30.


National Treasures That Have Nearly Been Lost   

_90941634_coronet_2A sapphire and diamond coronet given to Queen Victoria by her beloved husband Albert has been placed under a temporary export bar, just like Jane Austen’s famous turquoise ring once was after Kelly Clarkson bought it at auction.  

A temporary export bar is something which the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest can place on an object deemed as a national treasure. This bar stops the object from leaving the country for a time in order that UK-based individuals or institutions can attempt to raise enough money to buy and keep it.

The asking price for the 11.5cm wide coronet, which is mounted with 11 sapphires all set in gold and diamonds set in silver, has an asking price of £5million. The Department for Culture Media and Sport said a final decision over the export licence on the coronet will be deferred until 27 December.

We’ll have to wait and see if, like with Jane’s ring, the bar is successful in saving the coronet from being sent overseas.


Jane Austen Day with Charlotte

Jane Austen News is our weekly compilation of stories about or related to Jane Austen. Here we will feature a variety of items, including craft tutorials, reviews, news stories, articles and photos from around the world. If you’d like to include your story, please contact us with a press release or summary, along with a link. You can also submit unique articles for publication in our Jane Austen Online Magazine.

Don’t miss our latest news – become a Jane Austen Member and receive a digest of stories, articles and news every week. You will also be able to access our online Magazine with over 1000 articles, test your knowledge with our weekly quiz and get offers on our Online Giftshop. Plus new members get an exclusive 10% off voucher to use in the Online Giftshop.

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Mr Darcy information from The Jane Austen Centre

Mr Darcy

Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice with DarcyMr Darcy,  Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy, is one of Jane Austen’s most beloved male heroes from her novel Pride and Prejudice. He has a large estate of Pemberley which sits in Derbyshire and he has claim to a fortune of ten thousand a year. The Pemberley estate is extremely large with many acres of land to its claim. “It was a large handsome, stone building, standing well on rising ground, and backed by a ridge of high woody hills (174).” He inherited it from his father, who has died five years before the book begins. He has in his care a younger sister by the name of Georgiana Darcy whom he has sent to be educated in London. Mr Darcy’s best friend is Charles Bingley whom he stays with for most of Pride and Prejudice at his estate of Netherfield. It is while he is at Netherfield that local rumours begin to circulate about his eligibility.  Mr Darcy holds particular hatred for a soldier named Mr. Wickham with whom Darcy grew up and attended school. Mr. Wickham was a favourite of Darcy’s father as a child but grew up to be an indulgent fellow with no principles and eventually betrayed his friendship.
Mr Darcy’s first description in Pride and Prejudice is when he walks into the room at the first dance of the novel, “he soon drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien.” However, he is soon found to be and extremely disagreeable, proud man with no consideration for anyone. As the novel progresses he becomes quite taken with Elizabeth Bennet, the second daughter of the Bennet family, a girl of twenty with no fortune. She has sworn to hate him. It is an attraction that tortures him throughout the novel as he weighs the evils he perceives in the connection against the strength of his passion.
Mr Darcy has been portrayed by Matthew MacFadyen, Colin Firth, David Rintoul, and Laurence Olivier. The most famous portrayal of Mr. Darcy was by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice in 1995. Modern twists of the story include Bridget Jones’s Diary in which the Mr. Darcy character is also played by Colin firth, the Bollywood film, Bride and Prejudice and the chaotic approach, Lost in Austen.

Brighten up your home with your very own Mr. Darcy portrait 

 

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