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.

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.”

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…

Fun in OC: My new 1880 gown

A new gown! Or is it? Actually, it’s a new variation on an old theme of mine: Winona Ryder’s Newport archery ensemble from Martin Scorsese’s 1993 Age of Innocence adaptation.

Ensemble from the film.

The ensemble is fiercely cute, with little faux pannier-looking things radiating out over the hips from a shirred panel on the skirtfront and layers of eyelet ruffles cascading down the skirt.  It’s a little reminiscent of the gown on the left in this French fashion plate from the early 1880s:

Early 1880s natural form gowns.

My friend Tracie Arnold of Past & Present Creations made the fresh iteration of my original, beloved version of this gorgeous natural-form era ivy dress.  The first dress – constructed by Victoria Riddenour, hand-embroidered by me, and photographed beautifully by Lani Teshima – had become too small to even THINK about wearing.

I wore the new ensemble to San Juan Capistrano on Halloween weekend, where my pal Cindy and I had tea and generally caroused around the old town area.  Cindy wore a beautiful, embroidered black velvet ball gown that she’d made for Bat’s Day.

Kali in 1880s natural form eyelet ensemble, photographed by Cindy.
Kali and Cindy in old San Juan Capistrano.

Outfit notes: The straw skimmer is a Victoria Riddenour original.  My corset is Denise Nadine‘s late Victorian “Nettie” style.  I made the combination undergarment (which you can’t see) from Truly Victorian’s 1876 combination pattern (TV105).  My garnet earrings are from Lacis.

More general goo…

The big news of the moment:  I’m writing an article on fashion in the Northanger Abbey adaptations for my friend Laurel Ann’s “Go Gothic” festival at Austenprose Blog. It’s set to publish on October 15. If you’re a fan of Jane Austen, you’ll really enjoy her blog!

Now for the boring stuff:

Kali enjoys simplifying her internet life.  Kali also has trouble letting go of past projects that have outstripped their usefulness.  This means that Kali has trouble making decisions as to what to update and what to delete.

I’m in the process of redesigning and otherwise generally cleaning up Better Haunts & Graveyards.  The current design is something like six years old, and it looks it.  Once that’s out of the way, Halloween-tree.com and Livadia.org are going to have their days of reckoning.

Right now, I’m thinking I’ll just merge the Halloween site with Better Haunts; there isn’t enough left to justify its continued independent existence.  As for the Romanov site, I’m torn.  On one hand, it looks old and we just don’t have the time or interest to update it anymore.  Further, all it seems to do in its current limbo state is invite image-ganking bandwidth thieves and freaky Russian spam.  On the other hand, it would sincerely suck to see all of our hard work on the scrapbooks and such go down the crapper.  As usual, I’m the queen of indecision.

In other news, Strawberry Canyon and Desire are closing up shop.  The current plan per Marsha and myself is to open up a new, joint writing workshop with no sim and a broader focus.  I think most of us were bored with the figure skating premise.

When will it debut? Not a clue. Probably sometime before Christmas.