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The Jane Austen Book Club in our magazines

THE MOVIE: The Jane Austen Book Club

Amy Brenneman • Maria Bello • Hugh Dancy • Kathy Baker • Maggie Grace, • Emily Blunt
DIRECTOR: Robin Swicord

Kathy Baker as Bernadette, Amy Brenneman as Sylvia, Hugh Dancy as Grigg, Maria Bello as Jocelyn, Maggie Grace as Allegra and Emily Blunt as Prudie THE CONCEPT:
Six people (Bello, Brennenman, Backer, Grace, Blunt and Dancy) living in Sacramento, California, start a book club to discuss Jane Austen’s novels, and find that her narratives mirror their lives…

U.S. RELEASE: September 21 2007, Limited
• Rated: PG-13


Director Robin Swicord“Fortunately I wasn’t adapting Jane Austen, because the eyes of the Jane-ites would be trained upon me. I was adapting Karen Joy Fowler’s lovely novel, which people who love Jane Austen I think do tend to love as well. So all I had to do was try to make something that was respectful of the novel, and just to try and muse and create that sense of recognition that we all have when we read Austen’s characters.”

“I’ve never been a part of a book club, and this has changed me into a book club fan. What I do understand was that Jane Austen could articulate these things that we mere mortals cannot. But if you fall in love with the art of somebody, the other people that love it too are going to be your brethren. I think that’s what Robin captures in such a beautiful way.”

“My theatre experience really helped in this situation because we had six, ten minute, book club scenes that were six pages to twelve pages long each, basically sitting. I think for the people who have done theatre, to be able to [talk] back and forth knowing the little asides that are happening between the characters, it was a big advantage.”

“We were shooting with three cameras most of the time, so I was really capturing authentic performances as they happened, and then we would move the cameras and they would run the scene from the top again. Everybody got coverage but there weren’t that many takes.”

“The movie solely isn’t about Jane Austen, and you don’t have to have a great appreciation or knowledge of Austen to appreciate what’s going on with these characters and their lives. But I think it’s not totally irrelevant that they’re into Austen, because the situations they’re facing in their lives are the situations of her novels and that’s why people, such as these characters, are into Austen to such a degree, because her concerns are their concerns.”

“Maria Bello really does not like to read Jane Austen . We had a book club meeting as part of our ensemble building, and she said, ‘I’m only going to read one Austen book and since I have to read Emma for my character, let’s do Emma,’ and then she didn’t read it. She downloaded the notes from the internet. In fact the only person who really came prepared for the book club meeting was Maggie Grace, who had read everything by Austen.”

“I think it says a lot about a person by what their favorite Jane Austen character is, especially with her heroines; there’s a great disparity between Fanny Price versus Lucy Bennett.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Images above © Sony Pictures Classics
Feature © 2007 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #688, October 2007 cover

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