Jerusha Hess, co-writer of Napoleon Dynamite and Nacho Libre, is set to make her directorial debut with the indie romantic comedy Austenland. Starring Keri Russell, J.J. Field (Captain America: The First Avenger) and Bret McKenzie (Flight of the Conchords), Heat Vision reports that the film will also mark the producing debut of Twilight author Stephanie Meyer.
Based on the book by Shannon Hale, Austenland centers on a woman in her 30’s who is so obsessed with the Pride and Prejudice character Mr. Darcy that no real-life man can compare, and her love life pays the toll. She decides to spend her life savings on a trip to a Jane Austen-themed resort in England. The supporting cast includes Jennifer Coolidge, Jane Seymour, Rupert Vansittart and James Callis. Filming begins this week. Hit the jump to read a synopsis of the novel.
In 32-year-old singleton Jane Hayes’s mind, no man in the world can measure up to Fitzwilliam Darcy—specifically the Fitzwilliam played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Jane is forced to confront her Austen obsession when her wealthy great-aunt Carolyn dies and leaves her an all-expenses-paid vacation to Pembrook Park, a British resort where guests live like the characters in Jane’s beloved Austen novels. Jane sees the trip as an opportunity for one last indulgence of her obsession before she puts it “all behind her—Austen, men, fantasies, period,” but the lines between reality and fiction become pleasantly blurred as Jane acclimates to the world of Spencer jackets and stringent etiquette rules, and finds herself torn between the Darcyesque Mr. Nobley and a forbidden tryst with Pembrook Park’s gardener. Though the narrative is endlessly charming, Jane is convincing neither as a sarcastic single girl nor as a romantic idealist, and the supporting cast is underdeveloped. Nods to Austen are abundant in contemporary women’s fiction, and an intriguing setup and abundant wit are not enough to make this one stand out. [Amazon]