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In 2021, on the heels of Bridgerton’s success, Netflix announced a new adaptation of Persuasion starring Dakota Johnson as 27-year-old Anne Elliot and Cosmo Jarvis as Captain Wentworth. Henry Golding, given the choice to play either the captain or William Elliot, interestingly chose the latter. Also on board are Richard E. Grant and Suki Waterhouse as, I suppose, Sir Walter Elliot and Elizabeth Elliot, for their roles have not been announced. The other cast members are described at IMBD Persuasion 2022.

Persuasion pulbicity-Netflixfilm

Let these exquisite photos of Dakota Johnson, Cosmo Jarvis (t), and Henry Golding (b) tide you over until PERSUASION, a most excitable new film adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel arrives on Netflix in 2022.- NetflixFilm twitter @NetflixFilm

Netflix is betting on a sure thing. In addition to Bridgerton, now in its second season, the powers that be at Netflix must also have noticed Emma 2020’s draw. Before theaters closed during the pandemic, this film drew huge audiences in its opening weeks and enjoyed a steady stream of online viewers during lock down.

Jane Austen’s final novel was published posthumously in 1818, and by many it is considered her finest. This new adaptation is described as a “modern, witty approach.” We’ll see how well this approach matches Austen’s nuanced novel. Carrie Cracknell, a theater director, directs this film. Like Autumn de Wilde (Emma. 2020), she is a first-time film director. The script was written by Ron Bass (Rain Man) and Alice Victoria Winslow (Hot Spot). 

Filming began in 2021, and a release date is anticipated this year. The film is now in post production. I’m curious to see how this Persuasion stacks up against two previous adaptations, one in 1995 starring Amanda Root, and in 2007 starring Sally Hawkins. Stay tuned for more news as it comes.

Behind the scenes photos-PhotoWorld Twitter

Behind the scenes photos from Twitter, Period Drama World @WorldPeriod

Review of Persuasion by Tony Grant of the theater production, 2022

“PERSUASION (an adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel by Jeff James and James Yeatman) at The Rose Theatre Kingston upon Thames.”

Marilyn and I went to see Persuasion performed at The Rose on Tuesday 8th March. It may be strange but  for somebody who professes to know a little bit about Jane Austen it is a long time since I had actually read the novel. I have delved deep into Austen’s novels over the years for quotes and to reference her possible thoughts  and ideas about life and love,  but I have failed to read the whole of the novels since I first read them all  years ago.  I have lost sight. I think of what Jane actually wrote. So I read Persuasion again and it wowed me. It is a novel that explores the shifting of society  in the early 19th century when much was changing, not just relationships, but class and the industrial world was taking off. It seems apposite that at the moment when the world order is actually changing that The Rose Theatre chose Persuasion to dramatize. 

I know that novels, good novels, that is, as you read them again over time and  as your own experience of life develops,  reveal  different levels of understanding. So what did I get from reading Austen’s Persuasion this time round before seeing the performance?  The word ,persuasion, is used at times during the novel, but not often. The actual consequences of being persuaded however are felt throughout and drive the novel itself. Anne Elliot was persuaded by not just her father to refuse a  marriage proposal to somebody she really loved  but Lady Russell, the family friend and Anne’s particular friend, was always the deciding factor in the process of persuading  Anne in her youth. Ann seems to have been persuaded into a lot of things in her early life up to the moment of the novel’s action including turning down that offer of marriage from Captain Wentworth eight years previously.   Ann is  annoyingly hyper neurotic. Is that because she has always been pressured by others? Does she feel  she has no control over her life?  

Things happen to Anne. She doesn’t make things happen for herself. She analyses every situation, almost every word and look to an intense degree. She  always comes out worst. In this novel and in the play she eventually learns to decide for herself. So a major theme has to be how we use people’s advice and how much we should be persuaded when making life decisions for ourselves.

Persuasion-program-Image@TonyGrant

Persuasion program. Image taken by Tony Grant. See more of his images in the link at the bottom of this post.

A novel written in the early 19th century  translated into  a play set in the 21st century, surely, it can’t be done. They are two worlds so far apart. How can they possibly come together and meet? There are the wise among us that say Austen is universal in her treatment of relationships. This is true when you drill down to what happens in a  relationship  but all those 18th century rules get in the way to a  translation across centuries, surely? Class status, wealth,  attitudes to money and  the patriarchy  and what seems to us blatant misogyny but wasn’t understood as such in the 18th century, how does it all get transferred to the 21st century? When I read Persuasion again finishing the day before we saw the stage adaptation, I couldn’t see any way that it was possible to achieve that transfer from the 18th century to the 21st century.

To finish the review, continue to read how this production achieved its 21st century point of view and how the comedy was resolved on London Calling, Tony’s blog. Note: Tony Grant is a frequent contributor to this blog. His site covers all things England, past and present.

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