Emma 4 begins next week!

Here’s some random coverage:

Also, a short blurb about the music and choreography in Ayesha:

Choreographer Terrence Lewis says, “I had a great time working on songs of Ayesha and the opening song ‘Girl Power’ showcases three girls having good time. Sonam along with her friend (Ira Dubey) grooms their small town friend (Amrita Puri) to match up the standards of big city.

How was it to choreograph Sonam and her girls gang? “Not just in the song but in real too it was all girl gang around while shooting. I was surrounded by pretty women, as apart from Sonam, Ira and Amrita, the seat of the director was also donned by a beautiful lady Rajshree Ojha who is making her debut with this film. As far as the song is concerned the mood is very light and cool as it’s a situational song so the dance is that of freestyle.”

And, a piece about Olivia Williams, Emma 3’s Jane Fairfax.

Emma 3 Music Notes…

Katherine of November’s Autumn recently sent me the following information regarding Jane Fairfax’s “Italian Melody” (by Rossini) in Emma 3 (1996 Meridian/ITV/A&E television adaptation starring Kate Beckinsale):

I was browsing through the music page of your Emma adaptations site and noticed that the song Jane Fairfax sings in Emma 3 is marked as an Italian melody. I recently learned it’s called “Mi lagnerò tacendo” The lyrics are:

Mi lagnerò tacendo della mia sorte amara, ah! Ma ch’io non t’ami, o cara, non lo sperar da me. Crudel, farmi penar così, crudel! Ah! Mi lagnerò tacendo della mia sorte amara, Ma ch’io non t’ami, o cara, non lo sperar da me, crudel!

Cecilia Bartoli sings it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hen9Gyc6ovs The part Jane sings is at 3:15. It sounds different since Jane’s version is far less operatic.

THANK YOU, Katherine, for providing this info!

Austen Pilgrimage to England, 1997

Emma News Roundup

To recap…

It appears that rumors about a new BBC version of Emma are true. In November, 2008, it was thought that BBC might have greenlighted a new, four-part Emma adaptation written by Sandy Welch. According to the rumors, it would air in 2009. The screenplay has apparently been on hold since the mid-1990s:

TV drama kings fall out over Jane Austen

The London Independent
Jul 14, 1996
By Clare Garner

 

It’s a saga that surpasses any literary classic: the rivalry of two television drama kings. And the prize is the latest Jane Austen TV spectacular.The winner – this time – is Nick Elliot, head of drama at the ITV network, who has just succeeded in the race to bring Austen’s Emma to the small screen. Not only that: he has lured away the whole production team responsible for the BBC’s world-beating version last year of Pride and Prejudice.The screenwriter Andrew Davies, the producer Sue Birtwistle and their back-up staff are taking their skills to the commercial channel and its story of Emma Woodhouse’s misplaced matchmaking. They were the team who brought to life on the BBC those perfect Georgian country house settings, lush costumes and formal dances that thrilled audiences around the world as they witnessed the wooing of the fiery Lizzie Bennet by the arrogant Mr Darcy.The loser is Michael Wearing, BBC head of drama serials,one of the corporation’s most talented executives and the man responsible for Pride and Prejudice.

He might have had the Davies-Birtwistle Emma as a world-beating sequel – indeed he was offered it – but he had already promised the adaptation to someone else. “It was a very, very difficult situation,” he said yesterday. “I had already commissioned Sandy Welch, one of our BBC writers, to do Emma. We really were in a fix.” He felt bound to honour his word.

When the P&P team offered the project to Elliot at ITV he grabbed it, and the TV world is aware of the piquancy of his triumph. Wearing and Elliot are two of the most bitter personal rivals in television. Two years ago Wearing lost half his BBC job as head of drama series and serials.

To head drama series, and to sharpen BBC popular drama, John Birt, the director-general, brought in the managing director of London Weekend Television, who had overseen London’s Burning and The Knock. His name was Nick Elliot.

Wearing resigned at once. But 150 staff in the drama department, including leading producers, signed a petition in protest and he was persuaded to stay. And it was Elliot who ended up leaving last year, after only nine months, amid rumours that he was less than happy with the Birt regime.

Wearing complains that Elliot was the man who approved BBC programmes dreamt up before his arrival, only to defect back to ITV. “I feel that quite a lot of what’s been on the screen this year is actually the product of the time before he came.

“That was the great joke in the drama department. He comes for nine months and walks off knowing the entire BBC development scheme. We’d put Emma into motion almost a year before it became clear than Andrew Davies was doing his version for Elliot.”

Elliot is unrepentant. “I couldn’t believe it,” he said yesterday. “At the height of its success with P&P the BBC was turning away their star producer and their star writer.”

The single-episode, pounds 2.5m film of Emma, the highlight of ITV’s autumn schedule, is being shot at the moment. It stars Kate Beckinsale as the headstrong heroine, plus Mark Strong (Tosker Cox in Our Friends in the North), Samantha Morton (Tracy in Band of Gold) and the character players Prunella Scales and Bernard Hepton.

But the drama between the rival executives is just as fascinating for those who know them.

A senior drama producer who saw them at the BBC said: “They are like chalk and cheese. There was Elliot in his suit, looking as if he could be selling widgets. He would call departmental briefings with slides and market research and tell us that BCs don’t like Cracker. By contrast, Wearing has never been known to hold a meeting with more than two people. He doesn’t look like an executive. He thinks of himself as a maverick, an artist fighting for quality drama with a political edge.”

Andrew Davies, Wearing’s friend and BBC protege for 20 years, is suffering mild culture shock from his defection. At just two hours, which with advertisements comes to 103 minutes, his adaptation has to be very tight. “I wish the actresses could have worn the ads on their dresses like footballers do, so we didn’t have to have commercial breaks,” he said yesterday.

 

Expenses are tighter at ITV too. “We don’t get chauffeur-driven cars – we have to ride bikes. It’s fish paste sandwiches. There’s no margin for excess. We have to buy our own champagne. We’re really suffering.”

There’s also a “Bollywood” Emma in the works.  According to BollySpice.com: “Anil Kapoor has announced that he will be producing a version of Jane Austen’s ‘Emma’ for [daughter Sonam] to star in…” Sonam Kapoor herself has publicly mentioned her desire to star in an Emma adaptation on at least one occasion. The Kapoors confirmed the film – titled “Ayesha” after its Emmalike heroine – in February, 2009. More details here and here.