Wednesday, March 25, 2009

... and now for someone completely different

Co-star update:
Judith Woods, in a recent piece in The Daily Mail [link: Judith Woods, Daily Mail ] shared some updates about young actress Talulah Riley who was inspired toward acting by seeing Jennifer Ehle in a performance. She was later rewarded for taking that path by being cast as the teen sister to Ms Ehle's Tracy Lord.

[...]‘As a child I loved story books, and wanted to be in them so desperately and live the stories. Then, when I was about ten, I saw the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth and realised that acting was the way to do that.
'Also, I’m an only child, and I always wanted sisters, so there’s an appealing companionship in running around with girls in petticoats brushing each other’s hair.’
Talulah eventually got her wish, not only appearing as Mary Bennet in the 2005 Pride & Prejudice film with Keira Knightley, but acting alongside both Ehle in The Philadelphia Story at the Old Vic, and Firth in St Trinian’s. [...]

(Not exactly the preferred P&P, but still an Austen connection.)


You may be wondering why the Pythonish title heads today's blog. It has nothing to do with the above article, but does have something to do with the "posted by" below. Abi and Kate have convinced me that Tina's sublime creation (i.e. This Blog; which while sublime in its way really owes more to the sublime and awesome talent of its subject) needs an additional foster parent so that they can devote more time to dribbling cocoa and hand-knitting Regency-style wool petticoats. The price I extorted for acquiescing was high and, for the time being, top secret but well within the current blogster hiring guidelines.

In all seriousness, it's a privilege for me to be here in company with Abi and Kate, and to ride the coattails of the hard work and time they (and Tina and Chelsea before them) have continually dedicated to bringing the latest news and happenings here on a regular basis. That they have consistently done so wtih such elegance, grace, and humor secures my admiration forever. If I can bring as much as half the devotion and love they have to this site I'll be more than satisfied.

I'll help tend the fires (or banked coals) here while the Ryan/Ehle family concentrates on family matters and composing chicken piano duets. Even while marking time for a while (alas, fans are greedy and selfish), we can hope, can't we?, that in a year or two there will bee an equivalent to 2005's "The Philadelphia Story at the Old Vic" that will prove too tempting to resist!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thank you, Senator!

Great news about The Greatest

On Monday it was announced that Senator Distribution has picked up the North American rights to the film, an arrangement which seems to be to everybody's satisfaction. According to IndieWire:

[...] “From the moment we saw ‘The Greatest’ at Sundance, our team pursued it aggressively, and we are thrilled the filmmakers have entrusted us with the project,” said Senator Chairman Weber and President Mark Urman in a statement. “‘The Greatest’ is that rare film that combines extraordinary quality of execution with mass audience appeal. For us, it was one of the true revelations of Sundance and our entire team loved it.”

“Ever since sitting down with Mark and Marco at Sundance I knew instinctively that they were the right distributor,” Feste said in a statement. “Their sensitivity to the themes of the film and their heartfelt emotional response convinced me that they understood the movie on a deeper level than most of the distributors we met with. I am thrilled that we were able to make this exciting partnership come to fruition.”
Screen Daily adds:

[...] Kimmel International handles foreign rights and reported strong sales at EFM in February on the back of the Sundance world premiere. Rights have gone to SND in France, Dea Planeta in Spain and Gussi in Mexico, among others.
. . .
“Irish Dreamtime is thrilled that Senator Distribution has taken a vested interest in this film,” said Brosnan, whose Irish Dreamtime partner Beau St Clair produced The Greatest with Lynette Howell. “Mark and Marco have worn their hearts on their sleeves and demonstrated real creative understanding of the movie.”
We have yet to hear when the movie is expected to make it to the Big Screen, but at least we now know that we can expect to see it there.

Two little nymphets revisited

This amusing anecdote from the book Peter Ustinov: The Gift of Laughter by John Miller (2003) was posted last time, but apparently not everyone could view it. It’s too cute to miss, so here ’tis in all of its adorableness:
For those who saw [King Lear], it was certainly for the better. [Ustinov’s] former leading lady, Rosemary Harris, thought “it was a wonderful part for him. He had all of the humour in it, and the madness and the tragedy of Lear.” She was staying with her friend Patricia Connolly, who was playing Cordelia, and also Viola in Twelfth Night that season.

Rosemary’s daughter, Jennifer Ehle, was then about eight, and Patricia’s daughter Emily was six. There was a big party after one performance of Twelfth Night, and Peter was invited, with the other members of the company. Because it was his night off, he was the first to arrive at 10 p.m., and the others only turned up at 10:30. The two mothers had left the little girls with instructions that if anybody came early, they were to hold the fort and entertain them until they got home. So they opened the door to Peter in their mothers’ long dresses, wearing make-up. “Being Peter, he wasn’t at all nonplussed. They invited him in, sat him down, and entertained him. What he thought of these two little nymphets, I can’t imagine; but only Peter would sit and be amused, and enjoy it all. He made them feel quite happy and very grown up.”

He so took it in his stride that now he cannot even remember the incident, though the girls and their mothers do. (184-185)
As Abi noted, this proves that Ms Ehle started her training young, but it's also evidence that she was a born hostess.

Pride and Prejudice: The Comic Book

?? Yep, you read that correctly. Special Agent Janet discovered that our beloved novel has recently been transformed into a comic book. (Unfortunately, I don't believe Lizzy has acquired any superpowers in P&P's latest incantation.) You can get a sneak peek of the first issue at, where the aims of the series are briefly discussed:
[...] "I've tried to keep the flavor and sly humor of the story, and modernized the language only for better understanding," explains Butler. "Wherever space allowed, I've used Jane Austen's own words. This is your grandmother's PRIDE & PREJUDICE, and your mother's and your own.

"David Gabriel, Marvel Senior Vice President of Sales, adds, "Following in the success of THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ, we're presenting these classic stories by staying as close to the originals as possible while still putting that unique Marvel spin on them. I think Jane Austen fans will be thrilled when they sample Nancy's work." [...]
I suspect something has been lost in the translation...

Taking a rather different approach is Kyetxian at Deviant Art, whose rib-breaking "Jane Austen for Noobs" was also unearthed by Janet. I dearly love a laugh!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

News marshal

Cinematic round-up

First up this week, USA Today have a minuscule but quotage-laden article on Michael Caine relating to the much-awaited Is Anybody There? As you may remember, Rosemary Harris plays Elsie in the film. (See past posts for cast comments and plot details). It will have a limited release in the U.S. on April 17 and will then open in the UK on May 1. In the meantime, feel free to have a peek at the trailer. A Canadian viewer (who incidentally also saw the TIFF Q&A) calls the film 'brilliant', adding 'I loved every minute of it. The movie had the perfect mix of comedy and drama'.

Meanwhile, Pride and Glory has almost completed its long list of scheduled openings, with just Norway left to go on April 17. Although reviews have become infrequent, ordinary viewers are still commenting. Blogger Rob Thomas for example found the film 'a bit disturbing at times' but describes the acting as 'off-the-charts good'. 'As far as corrupt cop movies go', he said, 'this was as well-acted as any'. A viewer at Film Journal generally agreed, saying the film 'doesn't disappoint', calling it a 'fine police drama' and considering it 'well-worth checking out'. Concurring also, Metro's short summing-up lists a few faults but commends 'good performances' and 'memorable scenes'. More loosely-related, the Times Online fleetingly drop the film's name into their article on corruption and the NYPD.

Elsewhere, one Before the Rains reviewer recommends watching the film 'on the largest screen' possible and 'with the best sound system you can find'. She goes on to claim that 'for two hours you will be absolutely transported to another world'. (Do we think she liked it?)

Other notables

Offering a different but no less exciting form of transportation are ex-Utopians Martha Plimpton and Billy Crudup. Both mighty theatrical talents will be taking part in the 52nd Street Project's Can Do event in New York next month. (See Playbill for more details). The performances - featuring plays by young writers - are free and will take place at the Public Theater from April 3-5.

Next, LiveDesign inform us that the much celebrated Bob Crowley (co-designer of The Coast of Utopia sets) has been awarded the 2009 Robert L. B. Tobin Award For Lifetime Achievement In Theatrical Design. He will receive the award in a ceremony on March 27 in New York. After charting Crowley's career from a bottom rung scene painter to top of the business, the article considers Crowley's collaboration with Stoppard before shifting to thoughts on one particular venue:

[...] Crowley may well be considered the scenic 'voice' of playwright Tom Stoppard in New York. ... 'I think you need to take a different approach to Tom Stoppard,' says Crowley. 'He intellectual writer but also has a phenomenal amount of humanity inside him. He is a poet, and I think you need to apply a sensual aesthetic. I love his language, and a poetic and sensuous approach changes the way you hear his words. People are generally too literal about Stoppard, but I don't think you should be.' [...]
[...] The Tony-winning The Coast of Utopia was staged by Lincoln Center Theater in the Vivian Beaumont, a space once considered awkward to design for. ... 'I love the Beaumont,' says Crowley. ... 'I have no fears at the Beaumont. You have to embrace these spaces. If you love them, they love you back.' [...]
Two little nymphets

Lastly, over at the Chat Extension, the lovely Kate has discovered an adorable anecdote (featuring an eight year old Jennifer Ehle) in a book about actor Sir Peter Ustinov. (Search 'Jennifer Ehle' within the book). Further proof Ms Ehle started her training young!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Breaking news!!!

We have recently received a tip via our Chat Extension saying that on March 4, Jennifer Ehle gave birth to her second child, a little girl.

While this is - as yet - unverified, if it is indeed the case....ring all the bells!!! We wish Ms Ehle and her family our heartfelt congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Happy March

  • Just want to remind everyone that the region 2 DVD of Pride and Glory will be released tomorrow (March 2), and the region 2 version of Before the Rains will be coming out on March 9.
  • There's a video of Pierce Brosnan talking about The Greatest over at YouTube, but we still haven't heard a word about when the movie is expected to make it to theaters.

Post-Tony Award-winning fun

  • While wandering around the internet, searching for postables, I found a video interview clip of Jennifer Ehle at the 2007 Tony Awards that I hadn't seen before. It's from the Tony's press room, and it can be viewed at Getty Images. If the video doesn't come up when you click on the link, search for "Jennifer Ehle" under Editorial Footage.

P.S. For an example of grr-inciting journalism, check out this discussion at our Chat Extension.