I am very excited to dedicate this blog to the amazing 2018 calendar created by Janet Taylor of JT Originals. This year, as in the previous handful of years, Janet has designed a fabulous product that any fan of Jane Austen fan-fiction and period romances MUST have. For 2018, the theme is “Besotted: Embracing Love in Film with Austen, Gaskell, and Graham.” Every month the feature photograph is a different cinematic adaptation (big screen and television). See the lovely front cover image below. Strewn amongst the calendar days are miniature images of Austenesque novels (and a few other novels inspired by classic literature) with quotes from the texts, and the front and back pages are filled with graphic advertisements from a host of excellent authors. In fact, several Austen Authors contributed to this calendar, including Regina Jeffers, Don Jacobson, Elaine Owen, P. O. Dixon, and me!
The calendar can be purchased for $10 via the link embedded into each image above, OR just click HERE to reach the order page on the JT Originals website. Hurry over and snag your copy! Trust me, you WANT THIS CALENDAR! It is amazing, and I don’t say that just because my ad for The Darcy Saga is included. I made my own graphic (right) and so did the other 30 authors, all of them fantastic. A true collector’s item for lovers of fan-fiction.
So, for today’s blog post, I am not just sharing the calendar with purchasing links. I decided to have some fun with it! Below are the movies Janet Taylor chose to highlight each month with a bit of trivia AND a couple of quiz-type questions for each. Test your movie knowledge by answering the questions in the comment section (if you wish). The correct answers are hidden at the end of the blog, so this is a stress-free quiz. To add to the fun, I am giving away THREE copies of the calendar to THREE winners, names selected randomly from those who add a comment. Winners will be announced this Saturday so be sure to check back. Now, on to the trivia and questions!
January – Emma (2009)
The off-white striped dress worn by one of Mrs. Goddard’s students when Emma first notices Harriet Smith is the same costume Keira Knightley (Elizabeth Bennet) wears to Pemberley in Pride & Prejudice (2005). In fact, this is only one of nearly fifty wardrobe shares from other Austen adaptations and period dramas. Check out the list on IMDB: http://imdb.to/2Dwg3lW
Q: Mr. Knightley, the hero of Emma, is played by the fabulous Jonny Lee Miller. What other Austen hero did Mr. Miller play? And, for an extra challenge, which famous non-Austen literary hero does he currently bring to life on television?
February – Persuasion (2007)
The green velvet Spencer vest Sally Hawkins (Anne Elliot) wears to the concert at the Bath Assembly Rooms is the same one Kate Winslet (Marianne Dashwood) wears walking in the rain at Cleveland in Sense and Sensibility (1995). As with the 2009 Emma, there are a ton of wardrobe swaps going on. Quite a frugal early 19th-century thing to do, actually! For more, head over to IMDB again: http://imdb.to/2Dw46wo
Q: Joseph Mawle (Harry Harville) and Tobias Menzies (William Elliot) would later go on to play pivotal roles in a highly-rated series on HBO. Can you name the series? Extra brownie points if you know their characters’ names.
March – Mansfield Park (2008)
Jemma Redgrave (Lady Bertram) was only listed in the opening credits and was not included in the cast/character list in the closing credits. Additionally, while the costume trading was not as plenteous as in the above adaptations, there were quite a few shares. For the list, here is the link to IMDB: http://imdb.to/2DsRUwk
Q: Blake Ritson (Edmund Bertram) would later play a less-than-beloved character in another Austen adaptation. Can you name the mini-series and character? As is common with British actors, Ritson acted in several other period dramas as, 1) a famous Regency Era poet in The Romantics, 2) a 1930s Duke in Upstairs, Downstairs, and 3) as the English king during the Hundred Years’ War with France in World Without End. Major kudos to anyone who can name even one of those roles, let alone all three!
April – Pride and Prejudice (2005)
The scene where Bingley rehearses proposing to Jane was supposed to be shorter, but Simon Woods improvised so well that the scene was lengthened. Only two members of the cast were not British: Jena Malone (Lydia) is American, and Donald Sutherland (Mr. Bennet) is Canadian.
Q: Can you name another movie series Jena Malone and Donald Sutherland acted in together? With repeat co-starring in mind, what movie did Kiera Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen appear in as siblings? For a bonus pat on the back, name the director of that second pairing (HINT: He also directed this version of Pride and Prejudice.) Kiera Knightley also acted alongside another Pride and Prejudice actor in Pirates of the Caribbean. Who was it?
May and September – Sense and Sensibility (1995)
Ang Lee originally wanted Kate Winslet only for the smaller part of Lucy Steele. Winslet really wanted to play Marianne, so when she arrived at her audition she pretended that her agent had sent her to read for Marianne. Obviously, she read the part so well that he gave her the role.
According to the autobiography by Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie was Emma Thompson’s first choice for the role of Col. Brandon (Can you imagine?!) before being cast as Mr. Palmer. Hugh Grant, on the other hand, was always the first choice for Edward Ferrars (Thompson wrote the part with him in mind), however, the UK Jane Austen Society disagreed. Reportedly, they placed a call to co-producer James Schamus complaining that he was too good-looking for Edward!
Q: Five actors went on to play major parts in the Harry Potter movies. Can you name them all?
June – North and South (2004)
The BBC had low expectations for the series and didn’t publicize to a wider audience. They were surprised when only hours after the airing of the first episode the message board on BBC crashed and had to be shut down because of the large number of visitors. Due to the unexpected success, the DVD was released swiftly, in April of 2005, less than six months after airing.
Q: Richard Armitage later starred in a UK TV series that had previously included Matthew Macfadyen (Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, 2005) and Rupert Penry-Jones (Frederick Wentworth in Persuasion, 2007). What was the name of the series? A bonus for the title of the series when released in the US.
July – Northanger Abbey (2007)
The green coat and buff breeches JJ Feild wears as Henry Tilney is the same costume Colin Firth wears as Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice (1995). Here again, there are a number of costumes reused. See the list on IMDB: http://imdb.to/2DvCB6c
In an interview, screenwriter Andrew Davies admitted with pride that the scenes of Catherine Morland’s steamy Gothic fantasies were deliberate excuses to “get characters out of their clothes” and add eroticism, just as he had done with Mr. Darcy in the 1995 Pride and Prejudice.
Q: Carey Mulligan (Isabella Thorpe) was cast in her first major acting role in another Austen adaptation. Can you name the film and the role she played?
August – Poldark (2015 onward)
Series producer Damien Timmer is reported to have asked, “Do you think women will find Aidan attractive?” when reviewing the early rushes for Poldark. I think we can all agree this was a ridiculous question, even before the first shirtless scene aired and definitely decided the matter!
Q: Aidan Turner (Ross Poldark) and Richard Armitage (John Thornton in North and South) were cast as companions in a recent series of movies. Can you name the movie series AND the characters they played?
October – Persuasion (1995)
Amanda Root was wanted by Ang Lee and Emma Thompson for the role of Marianne Dashwood in their 1995 adaptation of Sense and Sensibility. Root read for the role using an early draft of the script but before a decision was made on Marianne, she was cast for Anne Elliot in Persuasion.
Made for British television and originally screened by the BBC in April 1995 as an installment of the Screen Two series, the film was released theatrically as a feature film around the rest of the world. The budget was meager, so one money-saving measure was to reuse clips from The Bounty (1984) for shots of Captain Wentworth’s ship.
Q: Ironically, Ciarán Hinds later played a major role in the same HBO drama series as the two actors from Persuasion 2007 (see the February section above). Can you name the series AND the character Hinds played? Noting a trend here, can you also name the character Hinds played in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows?
November – Emma (1996)
Mrs. Bates and Miss Bates, mother and daughter in the film, are played by real-life mother and daughter Phyllida Law and Sophie Thompson (who are also real-life mother and sister to Academy-Award-winning actress and screenwriter Emma Thompson).
Despite the English setting and characters, Jeremy Northam (Mr. Knightley) and Sophie Thompson (Miss Bates) are the only English-born leading actors. Gwyneth Paltrow (Emma Woodhouse) is American, Denys Hawthorne (Mr. Woodhouse) was Irish, Ewan McGregor (Frank Churchill), James Cosmo (Mr. Weston), Phyllida Law (Mrs. Bates), and Alan Cumming (Mr. Elton) are Scottish, Greta Scacchi (Mrs. Weston) is Italian, and Toni Collette (Harriet Smith) is Australian.
Q: Can you name the two Emma actresses who later played Cassandra Austen and Mrs. Austen in the movie Miss Austen Regrets?
December – Pride and Prejudice (1995)
The scene showing Colin Firth in a wet shirt has been recognized as one of the most unforgettable moments in British TV history. Andrew Davies, who is known for “sexing up” his period adaptations (see the trivia hidden below due to an R-rated word) actually did not intend this scene as a sexual connection. Rather, he wanted to create “an amusing moment in which Darcy tries to maintain his dignity while improperly dressed and sopping wet.”
Q: Can you name the movie franchise where Colin Firth revisited the role of Mr. Darcy (more or less) in a contemporary setting? What was his character’s full name? In 2010 Jennifer Ehle (Elizabeth Bennet) acted alongside Colin Firth for the second time in a movie which won him the Academy Award for Best Actor. Can you name that movie?
Answers to the Monthly Movie Questions ~
Now, comment in the section below to be entered into the giveaway drawing.
Let me know how you did on the “quiz” and/or any other thoughts on the movies listed.
Check back on Saturday for the winners!