Bret to star in "Austenland"

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Re: Bret to star in "Austenland"

Postby nonchalant obsession » Sat Dec 10, 2011 6:18 pm

A bit of Austenland news. :)

Ilan Eshkeri to Score ‘Austenland’

Ilan Eshkeri has been hired to score the indie romantic comedy Austenland. The film based on a novel by Shannon Hale marks the directorial debut of Jerusha Hess who is best known for co-writing the screenplay of the 2004 indie hit Napoleon Dynamite with her husband Jared Hess. Austenland stars Keri Russell as a single woman in her 30′s who is obsessed with Mr. Darcy of the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. When she decides to decides to spend her life savings on a trip to a Jane Austen-themed resort in England, the woman’s dream of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman becomes more real than she could have imagined. JJ Feild, Bret McKenzie, Jennifer Coolidge, Jane Seymour, Rupert Vansittart and James Callis are co-starring. Stephanie Meyer, author of the Twilight books, is among the producers on the project. No release date has been announced yet, but an opening in 2012 is expected. For updates, visit the official movie website.

The composer’s other upcoming projects include Ralph Fiennes’ Coriolanus, which already opened internationally and is set for a domestic release on January 20, 2012 by the Weinstein Company. Also coming up for Eshkeri is the Jim Sturgess-starring thriller Ashes, which is currently awaiting a release date announcement.

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The official movie website is still "coming soon". http://www.austenlandmovie.com/ Can't wait! :)
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Re: Bret to star in "Austenland"

Postby LauraK » Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:10 pm

8) I really want to see this!
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Re: Bret to star in "Austenland"

Postby nonchalant obsession » Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:36 pm

I thought this bit from one of Bret's Muppet interviews needed to be included in the Austenland thread.

Over the weekend, the Bagger spoke with the movie’s music supervisor, Bret McKenzie, best known for “Flight of the Conchords,” about the inspiration for this existential crisis of a song, being a part of the Oscar race, and birthing a horse on screen. He was in Utah, scamming ways to buy some Mormon underwear (“Mormons say you can’t just get them, you have to show a card. I need like a fake religious ID”), when we spoke. Here is an edited version of the conversation:

Q.
How’s Utah? What are you doing there?

A.
Pretty good. It’s a lot colder here than I thought it was going to be – I’ve come down with some sort of Mormon cold. I’m filming some pick-ups for a film called “Austenland,” which Jerusha Hess is making. I’m here filming a scene with a foal: I deliver a foal. We shot it in England this summer, and the foal looked a little large on screen. When they started editing, it looked like the mare gave birth to another fully grown horse. So I’m filming it again with a tiny foal.

Q.
I can imagine how they do it for humans, but how exactly do you fake a horse birth?

A.
It doesn’t actually come out, it’s on the hay – me cradling it on the hay, weeping, possibly. I guess if horses watch the movie, they’ll know it’s not a newborn foal.

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but this scene is not in the book. Is it? I'm trying to imagine how it fits into the story?
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Re: Bret to star in "Austenland"

Postby LauraK » Wed Dec 21, 2011 8:45 pm

Sounds like they've expanded Martin's role a bit, eh? :) Works for me!

Maybe she walks in to the barn and witnesses him tenderly helping a horse give birth and is overcome with desire for him..... :heart: :lol:
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Re: Bret to star in "Austenland"

Postby Venus » Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:04 am

Yeah I don't remember reading that in the book. A bigger role for Bret sounds good to me!

It's great to read these snippets about the film. Can't wait to find out more. Jane Seymour talks a bit about Austenland towards the beginning of this video (from 1:42):
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Re: Bret to star in "Austenland"

Postby nonchalant obsession » Wed Jan 11, 2012 3:55 pm

She's so beautiful. I laugh so hard at her in Wedding Crashers. :roll2: "Call me...Kittycat..." :roll2:

So in a couple of interviews, Bret has mentioned that his role is that of a stablehand not a gardener. I guess that helps explain the foaling. :)

:hrm: must think of stablehand gutter references. :wink:
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Re: Bret to star in "Austenland"

Postby LauraK » Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:33 pm

Well, he's in the stable where there's usually a nice hayloft.... :waggle:
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Re: Bret to star in "Austenland"

Postby nonchalant obsession » Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:09 pm

:roll2:

And what happens in the barn, stays in the barn...right? :wink:

How about, Forget the horse...ride me! :horny:
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Re: Bret to star in "Austenland"

Postby nonchalant obsession » Wed Feb 01, 2012 8:01 pm

A new article about Austenland!!!

Austen powers

1 February, 2012 | By Wendy Mitchell

Twilight author Stephenie Meyer leaves the vampires behind to produce the UK-set Austenland, directed by Jerusha Hess and adapted from Shannon Hale’s bestselling novel.

Keri Russell, Jane Seymour and Jennifer Coolidge wait in empire-waisted Regency finery near the entrance to a Palladian manor; JJ Feild and James Callis are nearby in shined boots. And then all of a sudden Bret McKenzie is doing some dirty gyrations to Nelly’s Hot In Herre. What century is this?

This confusion of eras is explained by the plot of Austenland: contemporary American career woman Jane (Russell) has a slightly sad fixation on everything Jane Austen, especially that famous BBC mini-series starring Colin Firth. So she finds herself visiting a Regency-style themed holiday resort, Pembrook Park, where contemporary actors play out Austen fans’ fantasies.

The scenes shooting the day Screen visits the set in late July 2011 see Jane encouraged to play some classical piano to impress her fellow guests, but it turns out the only song she knows is something a little more contemporary. Hence McKenzie’s hilarious dance coaching on the lush grounds of West Wycombe Estate and Park, Buckinghamshire, to make sure the dancers grooving with Jane during her dream sequence have the right moves (for the record, he is quite the impressive dancer).

So Austenland is not a period film so much as a fake-period film, playing with ideas of Regency life interpreted in the 21st century. Stephenie Meyer, the Arizona-based author of the hugely successful Twilight books, is producing, partly because she is such an Austen fan herself.

“It’s not about Jane Austen’s life and works, it’s about people who love them. We’re having fun with what a lot of us are, which is Jane Austen fans who’d like to be able to get into that story if we can,” she tells Screen. “It’s a comedy - this is not an Oscar-bait, people-are-going-to-die, tears movie. It’s fun, and we’re passionate about the fun.”

The film is adapted from Shannon Hale’s novel of the same name, a bestseller in the US when it was published in 2007.

First-time feature director Jerusha Hess became involved because she had read some of Hale’s children’s books and wanted to talk about adapting them. Their first meeting (both live in Utah) was when Hale had written Austenland, which Hess loved instantly.

The pair worked together on the script. Hess remembers: “She was lovely throughout the process. She was picking her own book apart, saying, ‘Hey this would work.’ The book was already very lean so it wasn’t like we had to pull out junk. But it was more of me putting in funnier, quirkier people and moments. I think I’ve added a lot of more physical moments.”

Austenland is something of a change of pace for Hess, who has co-written and worked on films including Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre and Gentlemen Broncos with her film-maker husband Jared Hess. “It’s about time the Hesses made a movie for girls, not for 10-year-old boys,” she says with a laugh.

Casting Keri Russell as the loveable but slightly geeky Jane was key. Meyer explains: “Jane is a tricky character, there is a fine line between someone who is so pathetic that you can’t identify with them at all - ‘What a loser this girl is!’ - to the point that this is a quirky girl who has a weird hang-up but is otherwise a very loveable and capable person. Keri can play vulnerable - she was stunning in Waitress. And she’s also funny.”

Feild - who Meyer likens to a young Colin Firth or Hugh Grant - and McKenzie (of Flight Of The Conchords fame) play two very different romantic leads. Jane Seymour plays the icy, judgmental woman who runs the resort. Jennifer Coolidge plays a frequent guest and James Callis plays an actor entertaining the ladies. The cast is rounded out by Screen 2011 Star of Tomorrow Georgia King, Ricky Whittle and Rupert Vansittart.

‘All the right reasons’

The film was developed by Moxie Pictures, which represents Jared Hess for his commercials work. Jerusha Hess brought the script to Gina Mingacci, who had recently come on board to start Moxie’s new film division (which has also worked on Errol Morris’ Tabloid and has projects in the works with Seth Gordon and Jim Sheridan).

“Moxie optioned it and did a little work and we were just starting to talk to other financiers and that’s when Stephenie came on board as producer,” Mingacci explains. “She is the easiest other producer I’ve ever worked with. She’s doing it for all the right reasons, this is not a vanity project for her.” UTA is handling sales.

The budget, of less than $10m, was pulled together with private financing. Jane Hooks came on board as UK co-producer and line producer, and ensured the film could take advantage of the UK Film Tax Credit.

“There was always the chance, especially with a small budget, that you have to do it where it makes sense,” Meyer says. “We could have had to find a house that looks the right period in Louisiana or Vancouver. But it means so much more to be in England.”

Meyer had a busy 2011, away from home for the 100-day shoot of the two Twilight: Breaking Dawn films. Now the next adaptation of her work, The Host, will shoot this year with Nick Wechsler producing, Andrew Niccol directing and Saoirse Ronan starring.

The Austenland level of film-making, where the budget did not even include all-day craft services, was a different animal to Summit’s Twilight behemoth (by the end of the series, Meyer was a producer and on set every day). She says: “It is a really interesting process to go at it from this side, rather than creating the story and letting everyone else take it and make something.”

As a first-time director, Hess pays tribute to her mostly UK crew. “You have this team of experts that are this safety net… You just realise you have all these really cool and smart people who know what they’re doing. And you say, ‘Show me what to do!’” Having the experience of cinematographer Larry Smith (Eyes Wide Shut) was a bonus.

Female intuition

The set was also notable for its heavily female film-making team. Meyer notes: “I think women have different ways of dealing with problems, and we like to talk it out, and everybody’s more collaborative in some ways, I think.”

It was not just girl power creating a positive vibe on set. The shoot also had a relaxed vibe thanks to a generous 39-day summer shoot (Hess notes that Napoleon Dynamite shot in a rushed 22 days). That somewhat relaxed pace was built into the budget. Meyer says: “It is a comedy, and if the actors are enjoying themselves, we’re going to have a better product in the end.”

Meyer’s production company Fickle Fish Films, set up with Meghan Hibbett, is only making Austenland at this stage but she says the company could nurture other projects in the future. Hale’s sequel Midnight In Austenland, more of a Gothic murder mystery in the same setting, will be published in the US on January 31 via Bloomsbury, so a film sequel is a possibility.

Meyer says: “We’ll see. If this one does decently, then potentially I’d say we’d be back with some members of this cast back here in the same place.”


Source

It's nice to finally get the rest of Wendy Mitchell's thoughts after visiting the Austenland set. Talk of Bret's "dirty gyrations" and hilarious (but impressive) dance coaching leave me rather breathless. *fans self and drops to the fainting sofa* It doesn't sound like any of that will be necessarily in the movie though.

Midnight in Austenland (the sequel) just came out. Has anyone read it? I have it preordered on my Nook but the eBook isn't available for a few more days and I'm curious if Martin is in it.
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Re: Bret to star in "Austenland"

Postby nonchalant obsession » Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:20 pm

I asked a blogger who wrote a review of MiA if Bret's character is in the second book and she replied, "Nonch, sadly Martin/Theodore wasn't in this one but he was mentioned as being a friend that fell in love there to one of the other actors."

I suppose if the stupendous success of the movie Austenland elicits a sequel, that could be stretched into a cameo at the very least. :wink:
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Re: Bret to star in "Austenland"

Postby nonchalant obsession » Sat Feb 11, 2012 5:45 pm

Excerpt from Stephanie Meyer's blog:

February 11, 2012

...

I have to say, while certainly dramas can be equally enjoyable as comedies in the viewing, comedies are so much more fun to film. Nothing makes a night shoot bearable like constantly laughing yourself into hysterics.

Our cast was unbelievably funny—I'm sure most of you are familiar with Jennifer Coolidge's superlative comedic talent, and if you've seen Flight of the Conchords then you are already a little bit in love with funny, funny Bret McKenzie. (Congrats on the well-deserved Oscar nomination, Bret! I've got all my fingers and toes crossed for "Man or Muppet"!) I was really behind the times—this was my first exposure to James Callis, Georgia King, and Ricky Whittle, who I truly love, because they make me laugh. A lot.

At the heart of all this hilarity is the heroine of our story, sweet, lovable Keri Russell—whom I've been devoted to ever since Waitress, well, no, it goes all the way back to Felicity, really—and dreamy JJ Field, our resident Mr. Darcy. To top it all off, Jane Seymour plays our gorgeously frosty hostess.

Yes, it's pretty hard not to enjoy all of that....

...It's still going to be a while before Austenland makes its way toward theaters, but I will be sure to let you know when it gets close.
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Re: Bret to star in "Austenland"

Postby Venus » Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:11 pm

Thanks for the updates, nonch! :thumb: The cast and crew must have been so tight. :)

Just cross-posting some quotes from Bret about Austenland during his recent interviews;

Do you have any plans to return to Flight of the Conchords?
Jemaine and I are going to go on tour this year in the Antipodes. And we're developing a few scripts. I'm also in a film that's coming out this year. It's called Austenland, which I acted in, which is a period rom-com.

What is the period?
Uh, Jane Austen period, with Keri Russell. I'm a stable hand. I look a bit like a pirate. But there's no singing. I play a little bit of saxophone, but that's all.

Source

You’ve got Austenland, from Stephenie Meyer and Jerusha Hess, coming up. Can you tell me a little about it?

It’s about a woman who goes to a Jane Austen “experience” weekend, where she’s promised a Mr. Darcy romantic encounter. It’s like Fantasy Island, but for Jane Austen fans. I play a stablehand.

I’m guessing you got to make eye contact this time?

A lot of eye contact! A lot of lip contact as well. It’s like a rom-com, and I’m a love interest. [Laughs] It’s a different role for me. Keri Russell is really good. Man, those Mickey Mouse Club kids really know how to act.

Source

I like how he talks about Austenland in this video too from 4:55 about the "looks" he had to give to Keri Russell and the many kissing scenes he had to do. ;)
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Re: Bret to star in "Austenland"

Postby nonchalant obsession » Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:33 pm

Awesome! I had forgotten all about the fact that he mentioned playing a bit of saxophone. What the...?

Ahhh Keri, you lucky lucky girl. :heart: Though I imagine it may have been difficult to keep a straight face with Bret in some of those scenes.

:waggle: :rolls:
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Re: Bret to star in "Austenland"

Postby LauraK » Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:29 pm

Well he did play a bit of bass clarinet.... :lol:
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Re: Bret to star in "Austenland"

Postby Venus » Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:37 am

Just came across this video :)
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