New Austenland Photo

EW has this in their first look section

Yes, those are cell phones at a croquet game. Premiering at Sundance in January, Austenland follows modern-day Jane Hayes (Keri Russell) to a theme resort in search of love. Director Jerusha Hess (who co-wrote Napoleon Dynamite) says Russell’s character ”doesn’t know what’s real.” She adds that Jennifer Coolidge and Bret McKenzie costar, and that Jane Seymour’s character, Mrs. Wattlesbrook, ”holds the comedy in her clutches and is the evil mastermind behind this crazy resort.’

The film will make its debut at Sundance and according to EW Keri Russell will be there.

Austenland is the very first film being produced by Stephenie Meyer’s production company Fickle Fish Films.

Austenland To Make Its Debut at Sundance

Stephenie Meyer’s Fickle Fish Films Production Company’s first film, Austenland, will be making its debut at Sundance in the US Dramatic category. You can find it listed here on the Sundance site. The festival this year is notable because, according to the AP:

The Sundance Film Festival has an apparent record lineup of female directors competing for its top honor this January.

Half the entries _ eight of the 16 films _ announced Wednesday in the festival’s U.S. dramatic competition were directed by women for the next installment of Robert Redford’s independent-cinema showcase, which runs Jan. 17-27 in Park City, Utah.

Going back to 1992, the best showing previously for female filmmakers was in 2000, when six of the 16 U.S. dramatic contenders were directed by women.

Sundance organizers were still trolling back to the early years of the festival’s 33-year history, but this January’s eight competition films appears to be most ever from women and the first time the entries have been evenly split between female and male directors.

The film was shot back in the summer of 2011 and is based on the Shannon Hale novel of the same name.

Ricky Whittle Talks Austenland With Artist Direct

Last Summer, Stephenie Meyer’s production company filmed Austenland, based on the novel by Shannon Hale. UK actor Ricky Whittle is one of the stars playing Captain George East. No word yet on when the film will be released, but this is what he had to say about the experience.

In Austenland, what resonated with you about Captain George East?

He’s hilarious! He hits a little too close to home [Laughs]. The premise of the movie is a Jane Austen-themed resort, which Keri Russell goes to along with Jennifer Coolidge. The staff are all male actors who are basically hired to romance the women in old regency attire and speak in old English like in the Pride and Prejudice days. George is a former soap opera star who’s obsessed with his body and is a ladies man. Even though it’s not me, there were a lot of similarities. I work out and like to keep in shape. I’ve done a bit of soap in my time, and I definitely like the ladies. I thought, “Wow, this is perfect!” [Laughs] I tried to make him endearing. I gave him a childlike quality where he’s very vain, but he’s not aware of it. He’s obsessed with his body but in a curious manner. He’ll be checking out his bicep and trying to get a look at it because he’s genuinely excited he has a new muscle. He’s a very funny character. I did some of my best acting in the movie. It wasn’t because of my craft, it was because I was trying to keep a straight face opposite Jennifer Coolidge. That woman is a comedy genius! It was my first step into comedy, and I learned a lot. Hopefully, I can talk that on to following projects.

It sounds hilarious.

It was crazy! Jerusha Hess really is an actor’s director. She’d approach us and say, “You know your lines. You know the direction of the script and what’s meant to happen. Go and play!” She worked with improvisation. She’d tell us, “Go too far, and then we’ll bring it down.” It was nice to have that freedom and trust from a director.

Check out more on Artist Direct

Jane Seymour Talks Austenland and Stephenie Meyer

Known for her roles in such films as Somewhere in Time and James Bond as well as being Dr. Quinn, Jane Seymour is now taking on the role of Mrs. Wattelsbrook in Austenland. The films is an adaptation of Shannon Hale’s novel and is produced by Stephenie Meyer’s new film company.

“I play the awful woman who runs the place,” Seymour says, “and I’m completely wrong about everything… this absurd concept, this whole thing, It’s quite funny.”

If you have read the book and it’s sequel then you know that Mrs. Watttelsbrook is one of the only characters to appear in both books.  There is no word on whether the sequel will be filmed, but Seymour had this to say about Stephenie Meyer:

“She’s unbelievable.  She was very hands on. In fact, so were all of the women in that movie. Shannon Hale wrote it. Jerusha Hess directed. It was actually nothing but women.”

Read the whole article at the Hollywood Reporter.

Behind the Scenes Video of Austenland

Stephenie Meyer’s Production Company shot Austenland in the UK last summer. Author Shannon Hale just blogged about a behind the scenes video peek.

I don’t have any Austenland: The Movie news, but here’s a short video that shows the set and interviews with Bret McKenzie, JJ Feild (who, I just read, is expecting a baby with girlfriend Neve Campbell!), Ricky Whittle, and Georgia King. I don’t even know who did this video. Also, Stephenie Meyer put an update about the movie on her website. I think I tweeted both these things but never blogged them.

Congratulations to Bret McKenzie for OSCAR win

Bret McKenzie won an OSCAR for Best Original Song for “Man or Muppet” from The Muppets. What people may not realize it that Brett is also a talented actor who stars in the upcoming Austenland (the inaugural film of Stephenie Meyer’s production company, Fickle Fish Films). Bret is pictured in the photo on set with an extra.

Jerusha Hess Talks Working With Stephenie Meyer on Austenland

Last summer, Stephenie Meyer’s production company filmed the Shannon Hale novel Austenland. The director was Jerusha Hess(pictured far right with film stars Jennifer Coolidge and Keri Russell) of Napoleon Dynamite fame. Hess Talks with Collider about what the experience was like.

What was it about that story that attracted you?

JERUSHA: The story is very simple and sweet, but I thought there was room for a lot of crazy quirkiness in it. That’s what I think I brought to it.

How did you end up teaming up with Stephenie Meyer, as a producer?

JERUSHA: It was great. She knew the author as well, and she just wanted to be a part of it. She was heavily involved. She’s great. She was really lovely and it was really fun. When I was directing the movie, she was so supportive and just enjoyed the comedy of it. She enjoyed being on a set that was laid back and didn’t have paparazzi circling it. It was a good change of pace. She was like, “Oh, this is how movies are made? I didn’t know.”

See more on Collider

Jane Seymour Talks About Stephenie Meyer’s Austenland Project

This past summer, Stephenie Meyer’s production company, Fickle Fish Films,did its inaugural project: Austenland. It’s an adaptation of the Shannon Hale novel by the same name. Jane Seymour talked about it on the radio.

Stephenie Meyer talked about the project on the Breaking Dawn red carpet.

Here are several photos tweeted out by cast members Jen Coolidge, Ricky Whittle this past summer. The film also stars Keri Russel and is directed by Jerusha Hess of Napoleon Dynamite fame.

Shannon Hale Talks Filming “Austenland” and Working With Stephenie Meyer

Deseret News has an interview with Shannon Hale about the process of watching her book “Austenland” be transforms into a film.  Shannon is a long time friend of Stephenie Meyer and interviewed Stephenie for a segment in The Official Guide to the Twilight Saga.  In this new interview, Shannon mentions how her relationship with Stephenie led into the filming of “Austenland.”

Hale remembers talking with friend and fellow author Stephenie Meyer a few years ago while she was involved with the filming of the first “Twilight” movie.

“I could hear it in her voice that she was really enjoying it (the process),” Hale said. So Hale suggested Meyer look into producing movies. Meyer responded that if she were to go into the business, “Austenland” would be the first movie she’d do.

Hale said they laughed about it, remarking at that time “of course it’ll never happen.”

But Hale just spent much of her summer in England.

“It was a crazy series of events as it always is for anything like this to happen,” Hale said.

Hale just happened to have a copy of her book with her one day, “and I never carry my books around with me,” she interjected, when she met up with Jerusha Hess, who’s co-written movies with her husband, Jared Hess of the “Napoleon Dynamite” fame.

Jerusha Hess emailed Hale shortly after reading the book and told her she wanted to make a movie out of it — this being her directorial debut. Meyer called Hale the very next day to tell her she wanted to produce “Austenland.”

With that serendipitous take off, the trio embarked on an adventure Hale lovingly referred to as “three chicks making a movie.”

The article goes on to describe what it was like for Shannon on set as well as her future plans.  You can read the full story here.

Shannon’s next book “Midnight in Austenland” is a sequel to “Austenland” with a new main character and a darker feel to the story.  As fans of Shannon’s and of Jane Austen, we are very excited for this film and for the new book.  We will be interviewing Shannon very soon and are interested to know any questions you might have for her!  If you have a great question for Shannon, leave us a comment and we might use it in our interview!


Jennifer Coolidge Tweets About Her Austenland Experience So Far

Jennifer Coolidge, who most people will probably best remember from her performances in Legally Blonde, American Pie, and Nip Tuck has Tweeted from the Austenland set. As we have been telling you, Austenland is from the novel of the same name by Shannon Hale, and is being produced by Stephenie Meyer’s brand new production company! Here’s what Jen had to say so far:

“Hi everybody! Early morning here in London…was very excited to meet Keri Russel yesterday….she’s gorgeous!
Shooting starts soon, sorry I haven’t been tweeting too much…

I’ll try and send some pictures of the gorgeous costumes I’ve been trying on for Austenland…but maybe I’ll just let you be surprised!

Early start today…hair tests, all the fun stuff that goes along with this…England is so beautiful!”

Jennifer plays Miss Charming, a character who, in the novel, is a long-time Austenland visitor with a wonderful, some times slightly bawdy, charm.

Follow Jennifer Coolidge on Twitter!/JENCOOLIDGE and on facebook

You can discuss Austenland on out forums in our newly created Austenland the movie section, or here on the blog

You can buy the book On Amazon, currently on sale for $7.98