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.