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Jane Austen News – Issue 166

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 


  The Best of Dame Emma Thompson

Emma Thompson with Anthony Hopkins in The Remains of the Day

In issue 163 of the Jane Austen News we looked at a list of the top Dame Judi Dench films. Well this week we were once again intrigued by a list ranking the best films by one of our favourite actresses – Dame Emma Thompson.

Andrew Pulver’s list of the top ten Thompson films was as follows:

10. Love Actually (2003) 

We loved this film. Emma Thompson’s character is utterly relatable and entirely endearing. But unlike in Sense and Sensibility (which we’ll come to later), Alan Rickman who stars opposite her isn’t the honest Colonel Brandon who Emma’s Elinor Dashwood sees her as the knight in shining armour for her sister Marianne, but rather plays Emma’s husband with a wandering eye and the ability to break her heart. If you haven’t seen it before, definitely watch this film and be prepared to cry buckets when that necklace-CD mix up takes place.

9. Junior (1994) 

We had completely forgotten about this one! Arnold Schwarzenegger isn’t who we’d typically pair with Emma Thompson, but it did seem to work…

8. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban/Order of the Phoenix/Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2004/2007/2011) 

In the Harry Potter series we see Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman on set together again (it’s surprising how many films they both star in). This time we see Emma playing the wonderfully weird Professor Sybil Trelawney with style and some of the most gawky Coke-bottle glasses we’ve ever seen.

7. In the Name of the Father (1993)

“Emma Thompson shows inner steel playing the radical lawyer Gareth Peirce.” We can’t add much to this assessment as we’ve not seen it ourselves.

6. The Children Act (2017)

Emma Thompson plays a judge in this adaptation of Ian McEwan’s recently recently novel of the same name. She’s the ideal combination of incredibly intelligent and emotionally susceptible.

5. The Tall Guy (1989) 

Apparently this has a classic “furniture-smashing, milk-carton-rolling sex scene” in it. Again, we wouldn’t know, as we haven’t seen it.

4. The Legend of Barney Thomson (2015)

“Thompson is totally unrecognisable and completely fantastic as Barney’s mum: a cigarette-chugging chip hooverer, swathed in fake fur and prosthetic jowls. Worth seeking out for her alone.”

3. The Remains of the Day (1993)

Thompson plays Miss Kenton, the slightly less repressed of the two head servants in a pre-war English mansion. Her Miss Kenton to Anthony Hopkins’ Stevens is a sight to behold.

2. Howards End (1992)

This film saw Emma Thompson win her first Oscar for her portrayal of Margaret Schlegel. When it comes to Period Dramas, Emma is truly a master.

1. Sense and Sensibility (1995)

Well this had to be at number one didn’t it? As well as starring in the film as Elinor Dashwood, Emma wrote the script for the film (and some highly entertaining diaries documenting the filming process). In the eyes of the Jane Austen News, she will always be one of the great champions of Jane Austen’s works.

Also, if you haven’t seen the acceptance speech which she made when collecting her Golden Globe for her screenplay for Sense and Sensibility, it’s a delight:

 

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Jane Austen News – Issue 142

The Jane Austen News looks at The Watsons

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 


Willoughby on Sense and Sensibility

In an article published in The Telegraph, this week we were surprised to find out that in his youth, Greg Wise (aka John Willoughby from the 1995 film of Sense and Sensibility) came close to giving up acting, which would have meant that he would never have met the love of his life, Dame Emma Thompson (who played Elinor Dashwood in the 1995 film, as well as writing the screenplay for it)!

The work I’m paid to do as an actor is really play. An awful lot of people who work in any form of arts have to have a childlike quality. A lot of us are quite childish as well.  

 

My parents wanted me to get a degree, so I studied architecture in Edinburgh for three years first. Although I never really wanted to be an architect, I’m thrilled I did it. I think everyone should do a year of architecture; it opens your eyes up to what is mainly really shoddy design.

 

Early in my final year I auditioned for drama school and ended up moving to Glasgow. I didn’t start earning until I was 25 – then after 18 months I decided to retire from acting. My closest friend, Simon, had drowned. I remember sitting opposite my agent, who was in tears, as I said I was giving up. I took myself off to Australia for six months and got my head together. I came back and I’ve loved working since.

 

I’ve never worked a great deal. It’s not been a career so much as a series of choices that you make for the best reasons at the time. Although if I don’t say Sense and Sensibility [written by and starring Emma Thompson, Wise’s wife] stands out in my career, I’ll get divorced. That was an amazing piece of work and I met the love of my life. I wasn’t paid very much, though.

We enjoyed reading a little bit more about Greg Wise and his changing relationship with acting, so we hope you did too.

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Jane Austen News – Issue 129

The Jane Austen News looks forward to a new dramatisation

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 


Emma Starring Emma

A new Audible Original dramatisation of one of Jane Austen’s novels is due out in September. The Jane Austen News looks forward to a new dramatisation

In 2017 Audible released a dramatised production of Jane’s Northanger Abbey featuring, among others, Emma Thompson (Elinor Dashwood and scriptwriter of the 1995 Sense and Sensibility film adaptation) and Eleanor Tomlinson (Demelza in the BBC’s Poldark series) as two of the narrators.

To follow on from this hugely popular release, Audible have once more enlisted Emma Thompson to be the narrator of their new Austen adaptation – that of Emma.

Other cast members include Joanne Froggatt (Anna in Downton Abbey), Morgana Robinson (Pippa Middleton in The Windsors), and Aisling Loftus (Sonya Rostova in War & Peace).

The new Audible production of Emma is due for release on September 4th, and at the Jane Austen News the date is firmly marked on our calendar!

Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 129

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Jane Austen News – Issue 123

Jane Austen News

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 


Audiobooks More Engaging Than Films Says Study

A UCL (University College London) study, backed by Audible, has found that the unconscious responses we have to scenes from books are strongest when we listen to the book in the auditory format as opposed to that of television or film.

UCL researchers measured the physical reactions of 102 participants aged between 18 and 67 to audio and video depictions of scenes from books. The scenes were chosen based on their “emotional intensity”, and for having minimal differences between the audio and video adaptations. Among the scenes chosen were Clarice’s interview with Dr Hannibal Lecter in Thomas Harris’s The Silence of the Lambs, Mr Darcy’s successful proposal to Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, and in The Hound of the Baskervilles, they heard and saw the first description of the beast.

As the participants watched or listened, the academics measured their heart rate and electrodermal activity. The participants were also asked questions about their experiences after listening to/viewing the scenes, and although the participants said they felt that the videos were “more engaging” than the audiobooks by an average of 15%, their physiological responses disagreed with this. The participant’s heart rates were higher by an average of two beats a minute, and body temperatures raised by approximately two degrees when listening to the audiobooks.

Little wonder then that spending on audiobooks has more than doubled since 2013, leaping from £12m to £31m in 2017, according to figures from the Publishers Association!

Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 123

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Jane Austen Adaptations: Behind the Scenes

When the final credits roll on an Austen film, whether you’ve loved it or not, it’s often fun to find out more. What were relationships like on and off the set? Where did they film these great houses? Who designed the costumes? Was the final product true to the script? Were there any extra scenes that were cut?

Fortunately for us, many of the movies do have additional information available.

Pride and Prejudice (1995) boasts a “Making Of” feature on the newest DVD version and the book The Making of Pride and Prejudice by Sue Birtwistle and Susie Conklin answers just about any question interested fans might have.

Sense and Sensibility won Emma Thompson an Oscar for best screenplay when it was released in 1995. During the filming of the movie, Thompson kept a detailed diary of life on and off the set. Both the script and the diary are available in individual and combined formats.

Also produced in 1995, Persuasion’s script by Nick Dear was printed in book format and is occasionally available from used book sellers. That year’s other Austen offering, Clueless, is an updated version of Emma, set in California. The special edition DVD boasts cast interviews and “making of” information.

Scripts were also published of both Douglas McGrath’s 1996 script for the Gwyneth Patrow version of Emma , and for Andrew Davies’s version for TV. That script, along with cast and behind the scenes information was published as The Making of Jane Austen’s Emma by Sue Birtwistle and Susie Conklin. Though out of print, it can occasionally be found in used book stores and on Ebay.

newtvloclgjpgv1417010708.jpegThe 1999 big screen version of Mansfield Park, written and directed by Patricia Rozema, garnered as much negative as positive publicity. Supposedly based on Austen’s early writings and diaries as well as the source novel, it has certainly provoked ample discussion. A script was issued for this production also, and should still be obtainable.

Lastly, if you feel like visiting some of the locations from these various productions, the TV and Film Locations Guide is your essential handbook!

The Making of Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen’s TV and Film Locations Guide and a variety of DVDs and soundtracks are currently available from the Jane Austen Giftshop.

Laura Boyle is a collector of Jane Austen films and film memorabilia. She also runs Austentation, a company that specializes in custom made Regency Accessories.

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Film Scripts for the Austen Movies

When the final credits roll on an Austen film, whether you’ve loved it or not, it’s often fun to find out more. What were relationships like on and off the set? Where did they film these great houses? Who designed the costumes? Was the final product true to the script? Were there any extra scenes that were cut?

Fortunately for us, many of the movies do have additional information available.

Pride and Prejudice (1995) boasts a “Making Of” feature on their newest DVD version and the book The Making of Pride and Prejudice by Sue Birtwistle and Susie Conklin answers just about any question interested fans might have. As if that weren’t enough, a packet of interviews from the cast is available for a minimal purchase price.

Sense and Sensibility won star Emma Thompson an Oscar for best screenplay when it was released in 1995. During the filming of the movie, Thompson kept a detailed diary of life on and off the set. Both the script and the diary are available in individual and combined formats. You can also download the script here.

Also produced in 1995, Persuasion’s script by Nick Dear was printed in book format and is occasionally available from used book sellers. That year’s other Austen offering, Clueless, is an updated version of Emma, set in California. At least a portion of that script is available for download here. The special edition DVD, set for release later this summer promises all new cast interviews and “making of” information.

Scripts for both versions of Emma are also available. Douglas McGrath’s 1996 script for the Hollywood/Gwyneth Patrow version is available for download here. Andrew Davies, mastermind behind the previous year’s Pride and Prejudice also wrote a version of Emma which was produced by the BBC. That script, along with cast and behind the scenes information is available in The Making of Jane Austen’s Emma by Sue Birtwistle and Susie Conklin. Though out of print, it can occasionally be found in used book stores and on Ebay. Davies also wrote a script for Northanger Abbey, which, unfortunately, has not been produced yet. It is occasionally available for perusal, but not general dissemination.

The latest big screen offering, 1999’s Mansfield Park, written and directed by Patricia Rozema garnered as much negative as positive publicity. Supposedly based on Austen’s early writings, diaries and Mansfield Park, it has certainly provoked ample discussion.

With a new version of Pride and Prejudice due out in theaters this fall, fans can look forward to an all new round of interviews, gossip, and if we are lucky, books to own and enjoy again and again.


Laura Boyle is a collector of Jane Austen Films and film memorabilia. She also runs Austentation, a company that specializes in custom made Regency Accessories.

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Sense and Sensibility: 1995

Sense and Sensibility In 1995, Sense and Sensibility became the second Jane Austen adaptation to be written for the silver screen. Until that point all versions since the original Pride and Prejudice (1940) had been produced for television. (Persuasion had been shown in theaters two months earlier, but was originally written for television.) The film was written and starred in by Emma Thompson, who has quite a family connection with Austen films! Her sister, Sophie Thompson, played Mary Musgrove, Persuasion 1995, and Miss Bates, Emma 1996; mother Phyllida Law, played Mrs. Bates, Emma1996; brother-in-law Richard Lumsden, now married to Sophie Thompson, played Robert Ferrars in this S&S and companion Greg Wise starred as John Willoughby.Emma Thompson as Elinor Dashwood; Hugh Grant as Edward Ferrars In The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries(her first book….an appropriate way to commemorate her first film) Emma Thompson gives a very up close and personal look at what went in to making this film, from start to finish. We are shown the difficulties of writing a script (S&S took five years!), casting a film, shooting a film, starring in a costume drama and all the little twists and turns of being so intimately acquainted with Jane Austen. Unlike any other book available on the making of any of Jane Austen’s films, this one gives you the entire picture from the point of view of both a starring actress and screenwriter. Also included is the complete script used in the film, which features a few scenes that were later cut. Continue reading Sense and Sensibility: 1995

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