Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend the last screening of Austenland at the Sundace Festival. Austenland was submitted for the U.S. Dramatic competition and even though it didn’t win in its category, the film was picked up by Sony Entertainment for worldwide distribution after its premiere. Knowing that it in advance, I was expecting a great show. Having had read the book when it first came out in 2008, some of the details were a little blurry in my mind; but as I watched the film I was glad for it, because I couldn’t remember how it was supposed to end, which just added extra excitement to the plot. I am one that is hard to please when it comes to casting. But the cast couldn’t have been better. Director Jerusha Hess (Napoleon Dynamite) said that when Kerry Rusell was tied to the film, she immediately knew she had to be Jane, the main character. Hess was a big fan of Rusell back in the Mickey Mouse days and of course, the TV show Felicity. With household names like Jane Seymour, Jennifer Coolidge, etc. The film was highly anticipated and nobody disappoint. Since I had read the book I knew that this would be a romantic comedy but I’m not sure if other people in attendance knew what was coming. Everyone in the theater was double over with laughter almost the entire time. Every single character took their role to the next level and delivered funny line after funny line flawlessly. I was utterly impressed by their ability to film their scenes with a straight face. However, I predict a lot of out-takes and reel bloopers when the DVD comes out. Shannon Hale, author of Austenland was also in attendance and along with Jerusha Hess, they both answered a few questions after the film. Shannon talked about writing the screenplay along with Hess and how after that, Hess took it all from there. They talked about the chemistry among the cast members and some of the difficulties of filming abroad in 39 days. Overall, it is my impression that the small budget film will surprise moviegoers this summer. It will definitely delight Austen (and Hale) fans, and it is definitely the perfect debut for Stephenie Meyer’s Fickle Fish Production company.
Sundance Report on Austenland from Lexicon Member
January 31, 2013 Leave a Comment