Questions and answers with Bonnie Mae- screenwriter, producer and director.
Having written the script for Pride and Prejudice (2010): A Modern Day Tale Of First Impressions (Papercut Productions LLC), Bonnie is not only well-versed in Austen, but is also keenly interested in how Austen fits into our current lives. The tagline for the latest movie, a contemporary adaptation of the novel for screen, is “First Impressions Are Not Always Lasting Ones” which is a particularly insightful way of simplifying the main concept of prejudice to explain how it is relatable.
The upcoming movie, the filming of which will start next month, stars Maia Petee as Elizabeth Bennet, and Caleb Grusing as Fitzwilliam Darcy. The full cast list also features recurring star Shannon Urban, as Lydia Bennet.
Papercut Productions LLC, a Colorado based company that “Writes, Directs and Produces Independent Films in the State of Colorado” using their own local talent, has also produced the documentary ‘No Rain’, and the films ‘The Mountain Spring’, ‘Three Rings’ and ‘The End’. The filming locations are in Woodland Parks/Colorado Springs, as well as very specific choices for the homes of each of the characters. The Bingley household is Casa Cielo of Tara Custom Homes in Colorado Springs, and it looks absolutely stunning. Similarly, Pikes Peak Paradise bed and breakfast is to be the location for the Collins’ home.
According to a twitter update, some Austen fans from The Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) are going to be playing minor roles in the cast as well. So, here it is, the long-awaited Q&A!
Maia Petee and Caleb Gruising are set to become the next Lizzy Bennet and Mr. Darcy. What do you think the main challenges of these roles will be for them?
Maia and Caleb are so great as they have been researching and reading various books to prepare for their roles and have talked to me on many occasions about how I want them to come across to the audience as this is a very new concept of portraying Elizabeth and Darcy that I feel blessed to work with such dedicated actors on this film.
What’s the chemistry between Petee and Gruising like?
Great! They actually have wonderful chemistry!
How long did the script take to write?
It’s been years in the making…thoughts of making it, thoughts of writing it and actually doing it. I lost count two or three times that I’ve rewrote the script. I’ve been a huge Jane Austen fan all my life and Pride and Prejudice with a modern mix has been on my mind since collage. I’m truly excited to see it all come to life!
How has the original storyline been adapted to fit a modern context?
We are using the entire books dialogue (No accents) but putting modern day in the mix. It is a very interesting approach that I think the fan’s will enjoy!
Are there any deviations from the plot we should be looking out for?
The plot is the same as the book but we added a few modern deviations to the plot! There will still be mansions used for Darcy’s, Bingleys and De Bourghs home and there will still be regular homes used for the Bennet’s and the Lucas’s. For this modern version for example we had to switch some items instead such as phantom ponies into cars.
How many people are on the production team (cast, crew etc)?
Over a hundred to include cast, extras and crew, which is considered small but this is a project that I wanted to keep simple.
What inspirations have you had for this version?
Jane Austen’s, Pride and Prejudice is my Favorite book, I have read it a ton to say the least as well as others that come after the marriage of Elizabeth and Darcy such as Pemberley Manor. This project I’m defiantly taking personal because my heart is truly in it. I have done nothing but Eat, Sleep and live Austen for the last year as this film has progresses, but the idea started long before that!
This is obviously a much loved book- are there any worries about living up to the Pride and Prejudice standard?
I’m a huge fan myself and as a fan this is a version that I would definitely want to see. This version is very unique because I took the books dialogue and placed it into modern day society but the story is still the same as well as the characters. In this version the characters will speak as if they stepped out of the book but with no accents (For example the 1996 version of Romeo and Juliet with Leonardo Dicaprio and Claire Danes) This is one of the greatest love stories ever told and we have keep in such a way that all fans will really enjoy this version.
When is it going to be released and how are we going to be able to get our hands on a copy of it?
We are hoping for December 1st release date but most likely it will be January 1st and will go straight to DVD.
And if you want even more information then check out the OFFICIAL Facebook page for the film, Papercut Productions website and their twitter, for regular updates. I’m really excited to see how this turns out and what direction it gets taken in. If you still aren’t satisfied and want to get more of a glimpse, then each of the actors has their own profile on IMbD, and you can even have a little look at this trailer for Down Angel (2009) that starred Caleb Grusing. What do you think about a modern take on this Regency classic? Are you excited for the release?