Fans of Jane Austen’s acclaimed literary works have long appreciated the author’s heavy emphasis on outspoken women who aren’t afraid to say what they need to in order to capture their dream man. But the new romantic comedy ‘Austenland,’ which was co-written and helmed by Jerusha Hess in her feature film directorial debut, takes a quirky tone to show how even the most reserved women can fulfill their Austen fantasies. The movie, which is based on the 2007 Shannon Hale novel of the same name, celebrates the fun aspects of the iconic writer’s romanticism.
‘Austenland’ follows 30-something, single Jane Hayes (Keri Russell), a seemingly normal young woman with a secret: she’s obsessed with all things Jane Austen. 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 could have imagined when she meets two seemingly diverse but possible suitors-Mr. Henry Nobley (JJ Feild), one of the actors at the resort, and Martin (Bret McKenzie), one of the ranch hands. With the help of one of Austenland’s other guests, Miss Elizabeth Charming (Jennifer Coolidge), Jane must decide who she truly wants to be with once her fairytale is over.
Russell, Coolidge and Feild generously took the time to participate in a roundtable interview recently during the ‘Austenland’ press day at New York City’s Crosby Hotel. Among other things, the actors discussed how women like Jane are attracted to Austen’s work, as she was a humorous and charming writer; how Russell enjoys bringing her children to the theater to watch films and while Jane romanticizes Austen’s era, modern technology has helped brought families together in some ways.
Watch the video of Russell, Coolidge and Feild discussing ‘Austenland’ below.
Written by: Karen Benardello