The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries

Sense&sensibility

The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay & Diaries: Bringing Jane Austen’s Novel to Film

When I read the opening line of:

“IF THERE WAS ANYTHING I knew for certain, it was that Pride and Prejudice was a very stupid book and that Jane Austen was a very stupid writer, and that I would never, ever read one of her stupid books again. I was thirteen years old.”

I was hooked.

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This book was amazing! It was funny, interesting, full of Jane Austen, and behind-the-scenes extras. I could not stop reading it.

So the book is divided into three parts: Part 1: Lindsay Doran, producer; Part 2: The screenplay; and Part 3: Emma Thompson’s on set diaries.

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Part 1: Lindsay Doran

In this section, Lindsay discuses her first involvement with Jane Austen, and when reading the above quote you can see that she didn’t particularly enjoy it. Her view was changed at college, when during an English oral report, one girl told of the many virtues of Jane Austen and her novels. Lindsay told herself she would then put those books on her  reading list, but like everyone didn’t get around to it immediately.

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After Doran had an accident and was forced to remain home and stationary, she had the idea to read all of Jane Austen’s novels, out of which her favorite became Sense and Sensibility. Being a film producer, she saw the merits for turning this into a movie; but knowing that there would be a few complications. Trying to find funding for the film would be hard, along with choosing the perfect actors to portray the characters. Most of all, one would have to find a writer who could channel the voice of Jane Austen, yet make it something that the everyman could enjoy. Lindsay put it on the backburner until she discovered that writer.

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Eventually Emma Thompson was brought to her attention in the film Dead Again. With that film she discovered Emma loved Jane Austen and with the writing Emma did on her show Thompson and Doran knew that Emma would be the perfect person for the project and role of Elinor Dashwood. However, not everyone felt that way as it was very difficult for Lindsay to convince the rest of the people to take a chance on an unknown. This surprised me, as Emma Thompson is a huge star today, but then as I looked on her filmography, I realized she hadn’t made that many films at the time. In fact the biggest actor involved was Hugh Grant, who today is kind of passed over for Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, and Kate Winslet; as most fans prefer their performance in the film.

Lindsay Doran is a great writer, almost as it is is a conversation. It reads as if you happened upon her at a party and asked how did you get involved with the film Sense and Sensibility? Was it easy to bring to film? It reads really well, and is extremely enjoyable.

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Part 2: Screenplay

This part is just word for word the screenplay of the film. I really enjoyed it as it included scenes cut from the actual film, along with having every part of the dialogue, allowing you to see what you might have missed in watching it. It was a fun read for any lover of the film or book.

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Part 3: Emma Thompson’s On Set Diaries

This were really interesting as they are not only the behind-the-scene view of an actor, but the screenwriter as well. As Emma was the writer of the screenplay; we get to see her constant rewriting, agony over any cut scene or changed line, pushing of other actors to fix lines or say them a different way; along with her relationship with the director, set designers, producers, casting director, etc.

On the flip side of that, we have Emma Thompson the actor, who has to pull herself out of that writer role to become Elinor. Within this sphere she has a completely different relationship with the director, actors, set designers, makeup artists, etc. It is an interesting read as Emma herself talks about how she is straddling two worlds and has to separate herself from one when she enters the other.

She also tells fun stories of her and the cast, how the weather affected everything, the cultural differences between the English actors, American film crew & producers, and the Taiwanese director.

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All in all it was a great read for any Jane Austen or Sense and Sensibility fan. I highly recommend it and gave it 5 out of 5 stars.

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For more on Sense & Sensibility, go to It Doesn’t Exist

For more on Emma Thompson, go to A Bit Pottery About Jane Austen

For more books with a Jane Austen flavor, go to Fall For You

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A Sense of Sense and Sensibility

So those of you who have been following me for a while are aware of a challenge I made a year ago. You see 2013 was the 200th anniversary of Pride & Prejudice being published.

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I was going to do this whole series of posts on the book, books based off of it, films, etc. You know, the whole nine yards. (Go here to read more about it). Unfortunately…

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Life happened and got me off course. (Click here to read more about it) But I promised to continue to reread the book, watch the films, read the inspired fiction, etc until I had completed it all. It is a very long process and I have yet to finish it. However, as I was making these posts, I started thinking about how all the other books were being ignored. That made me sad, so I decided that I would read all her books, inspired fiction, film, etc.; at the same time and review them!

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Yay that’s a lot, but it’ll mean that all her books will get a voice. Especially the widely ignored ones like Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, and Mansfield Park. 

So the next book I’m going to start doing a lot of posts on is Sense and Sensibility.

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Sense & Sensibility was the first Jane Austen book to be published. Before Sense & Sensibility Jane Austen had written Pride & Prejudice and sold it to a publisher. Unfortunately, that company didn’t publish it at all, but just sat on her work.

How rude

Jane Austen bought the book back and instead went to work on another one Sense & Sensibility. She sent this one to a different publisher and the work actually went through in 1811. So this book was the one that really set her up as a writer, and developed fans, making the publishing of Pride & Prejudice in 1813 feasible and accepted.

So all you Pride & Prejudice fangirl and fanboys better say a hearty thank you to Sense & Sensibility because without it, Austen might have become so discouraged that she never wrote anything else. And who could picture a world without her in it?

Here's to another 200 years!

Here’s to another 200 years!

What also makes this book special is that it is the only one to have two main characters, Marianne and Elinor. Persuasion is all about Anne, Northanger Abbey focused on Catherine, Emma is Emma’s story, Mansfield Park‘s attention is on Fanny, and Pride & Prejudice is all about Elizabeth. Yep, this is the only story that two characters are equally represented. You know what else that means? Double the Austen Heroes.

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So get ready for the sense:

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And the Sensibility

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Here are a list of other adaptions that I will also be reviewing.

Books:

Sense & Sensibility: A BabyLit Opposites Primer by Jennifer Adams

Suspense and Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited) by Carrie Bebris

Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MODERATE edited by Christina Boyd

The Smart One and the Pretty One by Claire LaZebnik

The Dashwood Sisters Tell All: A Modern Day Novel of Jane Austen by Beth Pattillo

The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries: Bringing Jane Austen’s Novel to Film by Emma Thompson & Others

Reason and Romance (Austen Series #2) by Debra White Smith

Sense & Sensibility (Marvel Comic Book) by Nancy Butler & Others

Scones and Sensibility by Lindsay Eland

So Into You (The Jane Austen Academy) by Cecilia Gray

Colonel Brandon’s Diary (Jane Austen Heros) by Amanda Grange

Willoughby’s Return: A Tale of Almost Irresistible Temptation by Jane Odiwe

The Second Chance: A ‘Pride & Prejudice’ – ‘Sense & Sensibility’ Variation by Joana Starnes

Sense and Sensibility (The Austen Project) by Joanne Trollope

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Ben H. Winters

Film:

Sense and Sensibility (1971)

Sense and Sensibility (1981)

Sense and Sensibility (1995)

Material Girls (2006)

Cow Belles (2006)

Sense and Sensibility (2008)

From Prada to Nada (2011)

Scents and Sensibility (2011)

We Are Family: Austentatious, Episode 1 (2015)

Big Girls Don’t Cry: Austentatious, Episode 2 (2015)

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For more on Sense & Sensibility, go to Opening With…

For more on Elinor Dashwood, go to A Bit Pottery About Jane Austen

For more on Marianne Dashwood, go to On the 10th Day ‘Til Christmas: Merry Christmas from the Austen Novels

For more on my love of Jane Austen’s work, go to Fanning All Over the Place

For more of my favorite quotes, go to Simply Fantastic