There is absolutely no way that author Jane Austen could have known what was in store for her characters when she penned her English romances. It is now officially two hundred years after her seminal work, Pride and Prejudice was published, and the popularity of the author’s work continues to grow. From mash-ups with zombies to faithful historical adaptations that make us fall in love with Colin Firth to a “clueless” take on a not-so-fabulous matchmaker (Whatever!), Austen’s legacy is legendary.
With her characters making so many trips to Hollywood and beyond, we have to wonder what Jane herself would think of the thriving empire built on her works. One thing we do know is how much she loved her books, which she often referred to as her “children”.
And just what are these kids up to today? We are so glad you asked because there are a plethora of projects in the works. Here are a few we are most excited about:
Based on a book by Shannon Hale, the Austenland film, starring actress Keri Russell of Felicity fame and produced by Twilight author Stephenie Meyer, has just been purchased for distribution. The story follows a lonely fan of the English writer who visits an Austen theme park in order to find herself the perfect gentleman.
Lost in Austen
In 2008, the BBC aired a popular mini-series that had an Austen fan switch places with heroine Elizabeth Bennet. (Oh, to have Darcy all to one’s self...we can only dream!) Just before she passed away Nora Ephron, writer of classic Rom Coms When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, decided to do a remake of the mini-series. Only this time, it is a modern-day New York woman who becomes Lost In Austen when she suddenly finds herself in Pride and Prejudice. We are not sure if the project will continue now that Ephron is gone, but we think this would be the perfect project to honor not one, but two very talented authors.
CBS’ Adaptation of Sense and Sensibility
Last year, Margaret Nagle, a former writer for Boardwalk Empire, pitched a pilot to CBS about a modern remake of the family drama Sense and Sensibility. Nagle’s plan is to rewrite the classic story in the world of medicine with three sisters each trying to find their way in life and love. With an order for a full series, we are hoping that it will be hitting the small screen soon!
Lifetime’s Adaptation of Pride and Prejudice
Jennifer Love Hewitt (yes, that JLH) is on board for producing a new series at Lifetime that will transplant P&P’s Meryton to a small contemporary town in Virginia. Titled Darcy’s Town, it is unclear whether Hewitt will step in to star in the show or just play a behind the scenes role, but either way, anything that features Darcy is something we want to see!
Contemporary Rewrites of Austen’s Six Novels
HarperCollins will soon launch a set of contemporary reworkings of each of Austen’s six novels. The project will start this autumn with Joanna Trollope’ take on Sense and Sensibility. Details about what readers can expect are sparse, but Trollope did tell The Guardian that her novel would be "not an emulation, but a tribute" to Austen’s work. The second “tribute” in the series will be written by author Curtis Sittenfeld, who will tackle Pride and Prejudice and bring it into the new millennium. There is no word yet on what other authors will take part in rewriting Austen’s other classic novels including Emma, Persuasion, Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey, but it is pretty clear that HarperCollins plans to continue to gather the biggest names in the business for these books.
Can’t wait for these projects to hit screens and bookshelves? Then we suggest checking out “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries,” a web series with a technologically savvy Mr. Darcy — we've never loved YouTube so much!
Which Austen projects are you looking forward to? Let us know in the comments. For more romance visit our Everything Romance Page.