Jane Austen Society of North America, Southwest Region
P&P in the O.C.:
Visualizing Pride and Prejudice in Orange County
April 26 and 27, 2013
Andrew Davis — Adapting Jane Austen to the Screen
Rand Boyd — Chapman University’s Austen-related Materials
Pamela Ezell — Unique Production Choices of Austen Film Adaptations
Conny Fasshauer, Carly Hunter, Atalia Lopez and Danielle Lucio —
The Enduring Appeal of Pride and Prejudice
For the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice, JASNA-Southwest members and guests enjoyed a memorable program in partnership with Chapman University. Acclaimed screenwriter and prolific Austen adapter Andrew Davies hosted a two-night viewing of his iconic 1995 Pride and Prejudice mini-series that introduced the world to Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy.
Opening the program on Saturday morning was Rand Boyd, special collections and archives librarian at Chapman, who discussed the book as an artifact and provided an overview of the Chapman library’s special display of Austen-related materials, focusing on the university’s recent acquisition of the first American edition of Sense and Sensibility, published in 1833 by Carey & Lea of Philadelphia in two volumes, uncut and untrimmed in original quarter-bound brown calf. Attendees were able to get a close look at the volume, and explore numerous editions of Pride and Prejudice on display.
Then Pamela Ezell, senior producer and director of Panther Productions, Chapman University’s department of digital and broadcast media, shared her insights on the unique production choices made by the creators of a number of Pride and Prejudice film adaptations, from the Greer Garson/Lawrence Olivier 1940 version to the 2005, and much maligned, Keira Knightley/Matthew Macfadyen vehicle.
After lunch, Andrew Davies spoke about adapting Austen for the screen, showing clips and regaling the audience with stories from the productions of Emma (1996), Northanger Abbey (2007) and Sense and Sensibility (2008), as well as Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001). He shared a hilarious anecdote about the scene in his adaptation of Emma, starring Kate Beckinsale and Mark Strong, in which Emma and Knightley hold their newborn niece, Emma. The baby would cry whenever Strong picked her up, so they had to shoot part of the scene with him holding a beanie baby. Davies also answered numerous questions about his work as a screenwriter adapting classic novels, which have included everything from Charles Dickens and Leo Tolstoy to George Eliot and Anthony Trollope.
View a behind-the-scenes clip from Masterpiece of Davies talking about his favorite scene in the 1995 Pride and Prejudice, and the delayed gratification and obstacles to romance in Austen’s work.
Four young scholars from Chapman’s English department — Conny Fasshauer, Carly Hunter, Atalia Lopez and Danielle Lucio — concluded the day’s program with their interesting and scholarly takes on the enduring appeal of Pride and Prejudice.
Before the screening of the second half of the 1995 Pride and Prejudice, JASNA-Southwest members had the opportunity to attend a special fundraising dinner with Andrew Davies, organized by board member and Chapman professor Lynda Hall to support JASNA-SW programming costs. Davies mingled with attendees at the informal dinner, answering questions about his work. He revealed he had recently begun work on a six-part adaptation of War and Peace, which has since aired (in January 2016). He said that, for him, when undertaking such a major project — or any adaptation — everything begins with the source material. He will reread a novel numerous times to see what elements about the story and characters most stand out to him. He also regaled attendees with stories about visiting “Bridget Jones’s favorite pubs” with Helen Fielding when he was working on the adaptation of Bridget Jones’s Diary.
Andrew Davies is an acclaimed screenwriter who has helped bring countless classic novels to life on film, including several Austen and Austen-related adaptations — Pride and Prejudice (1995), Emma (1996), Northanger Abbey (2007) and Sense and Sensibility (2008), as well as Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001). He has adapted Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace (2016), George Eliot’s Middlemarch (1994) and Daniel Deronda (2002), Charles Dickens’ Little Dorrit (2008) and Bleak House (2005), Anthony Trollope’s He Knew He Was Right (2004) and The Way We Live Now (2001), Elizabeth Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters (1999), William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair (1998) and Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited (2008). He co-wrote the original House of Cards series for the BBC on which the current Netflix series was based, as well as the Mr. Selfridge series. He also is a prolific writer of children’s books. He currently is working on a mini-series based on Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables for the BBC.
Rand Boyd is a certified archivist and coordinator of special collections and archives librarian at Chapman University. He has spent his more than decade-long career not only working with special collections but also writing articles and reviews, giving presentations and curating exhibits. He belongs to the Academy of Certified Archivists, the Society of California Archivists and the Society of American Archivists. He is also the archivist for the California Academic & Research Libraries Association. He received his bachelor’s degree in history from Chapman University and his master of science in library and information science from San Jose State University.
Pamela Ezell is senior producer and director of Panther Productions, Chapman University’s digital and broadcast media department.