Anya Taylor-Joy and musician-actor Johnny Flynn star in the trailer for the upcoming movie adaptation of the classic Jane Austen novel, Emma. Austen's original book (a blend of satire and romance, like so much of her writing) was first published in 1815, and has been adapted for television many times over throughout the last hundred years or so. There have only been a small handful of movie retellings, however, including the then modern-day set re-imagining Clueless and a more traditional interpretation starring Gwyneth Paltrow (both of which came out in the mid-'90s).
Written by novelist Eleanor Catton (The Luminaries) and directed by Autumn de Wilde (whose music video work includes several shorts for Beck), Emma stars Taylor-Joy as Emma Woodhouse, a "restless queen bee without rivals" who navigates her way through various romantic mis-matches and mistakes as she comes of age in her "sleepy little" hometown. Flynn costars as George Knightley, a friend of the Woodhouse family who doubles as both Emma's conscience and potential romantic interest, along with a cast that includes Bill Nighy (Detective Pikachu), Mia Goth (High Life), and Miranda Hart (Spy). Now, Jane Austen fans can get their first look at this new adaptation and its cast in motion.
The trailer for Emma is now online, ahead of its premiere in theaters over the weeks ahead. You can check it out, below.
Since there's no real need to run through the plot, the Emma teaser smartly focuses more on what makes this particular retelling unique: its tone and style. The cast appears to be enjoying playing up the comedy of manners element in the footage so far (Nighty as the sassy Mr. Woodhouse, in particular, seems like a hoot), and it's fun to see Taylor-Joy in a more light-hearted role than the ones she's previously tackled in thrillers like The Witch and Split, or even the dark funny Thoroughbreds. Visually, de Wilde appears to have shot the whole film in an equally, and pleasantly, light and frothy style, which feels in keeping with this particular Austen retelling.
With a late February release date and a limited rollout, Emma is clearly being geared towards those with an interest in seeing Austen's story redone in a mostly faithful manner, but with a distinctly modern vibe - not to mention, one both written and directed by women, no less. Its opening weekend competition includes the action-packed Vin Diesel comic book movie Bloodshot and Fox's family-oriented The Call of the Wild adaptation, so it shouldn't have too much trouble reaching its target audience. And who knows: if Emma is a success, it might even kick off a new wave of Jane Austen films (including some based on her lesser-known works).
Source: Focus Features