Official Press Release For Austenland Issued

There isn’t much here that we didn’t already know, but Moxie pictures ( which is one of the groups producing the film ) issued the following press release:

“Seven weeks of principal photography recently commenced on location in the UK on romantic comedy “AUSTENLAND,” the big screen adaptation of award-winning author SHANNON HALE’s novel about Jane Austen-obsessed contemporary heroine, “Jane,” played by Golden Globe award-winner KERI RUSSELL (“Felicity”, “Mission Impossible II”,”Waitress”). JJ FEILD (“Captain America: The First Avenger) and BRET MCKENZIE (the Emmy award-winning “Flight of the Conchords”) join Russell in the directorial debut of JERUSHA HESS (“Napoleon Dynamite”), who adapted “AUSTENLAND” for the screen with Shannon Hale. LA-based UTA will handle international sales.

JERUSHA HESS previously co-scripted the indie hit and Sundance favourite “Napoleon Dynamite” with her husband and writing/producing partner, director JARED HESS. She also co-wrote “Nacho Libre” and “Gentleman Broncos” and is executive producer on Fox’s animated TV series “Napoleon Dynamite”.

The colourful international supporting cast on “AUSTENLAND” includes US actress and comedienne JENNIFER COOLIDGE (“American Pie”, “Legally Blonde”), JANE SEYMOUR (“Wedding Crashers”), RUPERT VANSITTART (“Braveheart”) and JAMES CALLIS (“Battlestar Gallactica”, “Bridget Jones’ Diary”).

“AUSTENLAND” is a romantic comedy about 30-something, single Jane Hayes, a seemingly normal young woman with a secret: her obsession with Mr. Darcy—as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice—is ruining her love life; no real man can compare. But when she decides to spend her life savings on a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane’s fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become more real than she ever could have imagined.

“AUSTENLAND” is produced by Stephenie Meyer (“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1,” “Breaking Dawn Part 2,” “The Host”) through Fickle Fish Films, the production company of Meyer and Meghan Hibbett, and Moxie Pictures‘ Gina Mingacci. Executive Producers are Robert Fernandez and Dan Levinson of Moxie Pictures and co-producer is Jane Hooks (“Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, “Bronson”). Jared Hess (“Napoleon Dynamite,” “Nacho Libre,” “Gentleman Broncos”), Meghan Hibbett, and author Shannon Hale are associate producers.
Creative talent on board includes cinematographer Larry Smith, BSC (“Eyes Wide Shut”, “Bronson”) and Emmy award-winner and BAFTA-nominated production designer James Merifield (“Little Dorrit”,”Brighton Rock”).

The film is financed by Fickle Fish Films.”

You can find Moxie pictures on:!/MoxiePictures

On Shannon Hale’s blog, she states which actors are playing which characters:

Jane – Keri Russell
Nobley – JJ Feild
Martin – Bret Mckenzie
Miss Charming – Jennifer Coolidge
Colonel Andrews – James Callis
Mrs. Wattlesbrook – Jane Seymour
Mr. Wattlesbrook – Rupert Vansittart
Georgia King – Lady Heartwright
Ricky Whittle – George East

Shannon Hale also made the following clarification on her blog:

“There is no Sir John and Aunt Saffronia, Mr & Mrs. Wattlesbrook merging those roles. It was the right choice for the adaptation to screen. Isn’t that a gorgeous cast? I’m so thrilled! If there is anyone you aren’t familiar with and you read my blog, then you shortly will be. I’ll devote a post to each of them over the next few weeks. The actors playing George East and Lady Heartwright (she got bumped up to “lady” in the screenplay) weren’t mentioned in the official announcement, so I’ll wait to drop their names.”

You can follow Shannon Hale on Twitter!/haleshannon

Shannon Hale Reports on The First Day of Filming Austenland

Stephenie Meyer’s newly formed production company Fickle Fish Films is in the UK filming Shannon Hale’s novel Austenland. As producer, Stephenie is on set every day. Shannon just blogged about the first day:

“I got to meet crew, chat with the production designer, the line producer, the UPM, Stephenie, and other cool crew members. (This crew ROCKS!) I sat in a chair (it wasn’t mine, but I got to use it anyway), put on headphones, and watched characters I invented speak lines I wrote. I laughed out loud at one point at the way Keri delivered a line and will have to be very careful in the future or they’ll ban that unprofessional writer from the set! But it’ll be hard because it’s funny, and these actors are so great. Molly (Jane’s best friend) is played by the gorgeous and so funny Ayda Field. Oh you guys, I’m so excited! Can I freak out a little? Can I just get majorly giddy and excited and squeal and jump around? I mean, as long as they’re not filming a scene and I’m far from set. Because I’m a professional crew member and never make a peep.”

See more on Shannon Hale’s blog

The photo above is from the first time Shannon and Stephenie met in person, which ironically was at an Austenland signing.

Stephenie Meyer to Produce Shannon Hale’s Austenland Movie

According to the Hollywood Reporter:

“Keri Russell, JJ Field and Bret McKenzie will star in Austenland, an indie romantic comedy that is serving as the directorial debut of Jerusha Hess, who co-wrote Napoleon Dynamite and Nacho Libre with her husband, helmer Jared Hess.

In a twist, the movie is also serving as the producing debut of Stephenie Meyer, author of the best-selling vampire books The Twilight Saga.[Lexicon Note: This should perhaps read her first time producing with her own company as she is a producer on Breaking Dawn]

Meyer is producing and financing the pic though her Fickle Fish Films banner, which she runs with Meghan Hibbett. Moxie Pictures’ Gina Mingacci is also producing.

See more on THR

For those of you are are unfamiliar with Austenland, it marked the first time that children’s author Shannon Hale (of the Princess Academy fame) attempted an adult novel. Shannon Hale and Stephenie Myer have been friends for some time. Shannon did the Q&A with Stephenie that appears in the front of The Twilight Saga Official Illustrated Guide. She also took part in The Book Babe charity event with Stephenie. There is also a shout out to Shannon Hale in the Bree tanner novella where Bree reading her way through the bookshop had left off at Shannon Hale.

The basic premise of the book is that a young woman who is disillusioned by modern romance and dating inherits the chance to visit Austenland. Austenland is like a theme park for adult women where they can live out their own Pride and Prejudice type fantasy a la Fantasy Island (only without Mr. Roarke and Tatoo).

You can follow Shannon Hale on Twitter here and visit her blog here.

Edited: Shannon Hale commented on her blog:

“What I’ve done today:

  1. Done 3 loads of laundry
  2. Changed 6 diapers
  3. Dropped off and picked up preschooler
  4. Played games with my 7 yo
  5. Called insurance company to see why one of my twin babies mysteriously isn’t covered on our insurance
  6. Read about my book becoming a movie on The Hollywood Reporter
  7. Freaked out!

It’s happening! So much more news to come. I am at least freed to talk about. This has been in the works for two years and it’s so exciting! More soon.

Ps. Notice how THR doesn’t mention me or my book? Oh Hollywood, you just couldn’t love writers any more, could you?”