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July 2004

What’s thrilling is that “Pride and Prejudice” is starting shooting on July 19th. Apparently it’s going to be all shot on location, with Chatsworth being Pemberley and that house in “The Draughtman’s Contract” becoming Netherfield. Plus various places in Wiltshire and elsewhere. Stamford will be Meryton. The cast so far includes Judy Dench as Lady Catherine de Bourg and Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet, and Jo Wright is directing. He directed the rather wonderful “Charles II”, which had a terrific dash and vigour to it, as well as a painterly look. After the disappointment of “Tulip Fever” it’s fun to have this just starting up – apparently they’re just beginning Dance Rehearsals which makes the whole thing deliciously real. The last time “Pride and Prejudice” was filmed as a movie was in the 1940s, with Lawrence Olivier and Greer Garson – a rather girly giggly confection. This, I hope, will have more muddy hems and desperation. As well as laughs. It really is the perfect story, beautifully paced with its terrible reversals and ironies, and has been a treat to adapt. Also quite daunting, as the book is so well-loved, and so well-known. One simply can’t leave out the most blissful bits, for example Mr Bennet telling Mary she has delighted the company long enough. It’s tempting sometimes to put in a whole scene just to keep a favourite bit of dialogue. In fact the script is quite faithful to the book.