Emma 4 News…

From the Telegraph:

Romola Garai to play Emma in BBC’s latest Jane Austen adaptation

For years she has languished in her friend Keira Knightley’s shadow, but actress Romola Garai has finally attained leading lady status with the starring role in the BBC’s latest Jane Austen adaptation, a production of Emma.

By Anita Singh, Showbusiness Editor
Last Updated: 1:32PM BST 04 Apr 2009

Romola Garai: BBC finds leading lady for final Jane Austen adaptation
British actress Romola Garai will play the heroine of Emma in a lavish BBC One costume drama to be screened in the autumn.

Garai will play the “handsome, clever and rich” heroine in a lavish BBC One costume drama to be screened in the autumn.

The 26-year-old was cast as Knightley’s younger sister in the Oscar-nominated film Atonement and the two actresses are firm friends. However, they have frequently found themselves in competition for the same roles. Knightley beat Garai to the part of Lara in ITV’s adaptation of Doctor Zhivago in 2002 and to Elizabeth Bennet in the 2005 film version of Pride and Prejudice.

Emma will be Garai’s highest profile role to date after appearances in several television dramas, including Dodie Smith’s I Capture The Castle and George Eliot’s Daniel Deronda.

The daughter of a banker, she was raised in Hong Kong and Singapore before attending a boarding school in England. She is currently combining her acting work with studying for an Open University degree.

“I’m incredibly excited and honoured to be taking on the role of Emma, who is arguably Jane Austen’s greatest heroine. I’ve loved the book for many years and she is a character very close to my heart – so it’s a great privilege to now be playing her,” she said.

The high calibre cast of Emma includes Sir Michael Gambon as the matchmaking heroine’s doting father and Jonny Lee Miller as her suitor, Mr Knightley. Filming begins next week at locations in Kent and Surrey.

The BBC promises a “fresh, witty and perceptive take on a timeless tale” last serialised by the corporation in 1972 and turned into a Hollywood film starring Gwyneth Paltrow in 1996. It will be shown in four hour-long episodes and will be the BBC’s last Austen adaptation for several years, after executives decided to replace ‘bonnet dramas’ with a focus on the 20th century.

Fortuosity, that’s me byword!

This weekend, I partook of two Disney classics from the 1960s: The Happiest Millionaire (1967) and Bon Voyage (1962). Both star Fred MacMurray.  The latter also stars the S.S. United States, upon which the fictional Willard family of Terre Haute travels to France! There’s a cute scene during which MacMurray’s character remarks about five carefree days at sea, which spurred this immediate response from me: “But she could do it in three-and-a-half!”

Speaking of the Big U, the SSUS Conservancy blog linked us for linking them.  😀

But I digress!

According to Disneyland lore, some of the stained glass from the “Let’s Have a Drink on It” set of Millionaire found its way into Cafe Orleans in New Orleans Square.  This makes sense, as the film and the cafe opened around the same time.  Further, the glass in situ at Cafe O appears to be a match!

For the sake of completeness, I should also mention that Mr. Drexel Biddle’s home phone booth – also featured in the film – is now located in Club 33.  If it’s not the original from the Millionaire set, then it’s a very good copy!

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.

Bollywood Emma

http://movies.iexplorehere.com/news/1488/Sonam-Kapoor-to-Play-the-Role-of-Emma.html

The project has started to take shape with Sonam Kapoor playing the lead alongside Abhay Deol and newcomer Arunoday Singh. The film will be directed by Rajshree Ojha.”

More on the “new” BBC Emma plus drama…

According to the following report, production will begin this spring.  No word on casting…

Here!

Also, Heartbreak Productions is presenting their dramatization of Emma throughout the UK  in February, March, and this summer…

Winter/Spring Dates

Waltz your way through picnics, parties and posh frocks in this classic Regency rom-com.

After a winter tour throughout UK theatres, this brilliantly conceived rom-com classic bursts vibrantly in to the open air. Dip into the gossip and squabbles, grapple with the riddles, blunders and misunderstandings and finally, revel in the glorious romance of this delightful and charming story from the masters of classic adaptations.

Famed for incisive wit and social commentary, Emma is also about the complexities of imagination versus reality and the overriding power of love and affection.

A clever, rich, bored and “slightly” spoiled young woman, Emma throws herself in to the perils of mis-matchmaking in this world-renowned and well-loved Regency rom-com. Emma is Jane Austen’s most realistic heroine trying to do her very best and, in true Austen fashion, getting it very wrong!

Live music, dance and audience interaction will abound as – from the engaging yet exasperating Emma to the sympathetic yet quintessential bore, Miss Bates – the multi-talented cast recreate the rich and varied personalities of some of the most vibrant characters from English literature and bring them vividly to life. “

More…

New Emma in 2009?

I heard it from Laurel Ann who heard it from Austenblog who heard it from several other people who heard it from someone else entirely (ha!) that there may be a new Emma adaptation in the works from the BBC.  Supposedly, screenwriter Sandy Welch is responsible for the four-part script.

More…

I am Marianne Dashwood!

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For Austenprose: Regency costuming in Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey adaptations

As part of her “Go Gothic!” tribute to Northanger Abbey, my friend Laurel Ann invited me to do a light look at the costuming in the 1986 and 2007 television adaptations of the novel.

Here it is!

Anyway, I hope people enjoy it.