Looking Backward: British Period Drama – the 21st Century Edition

Pride & Prejudice (2005)

Matthew Macfadyen and Keira Knightley in ‘Pride & Prejudice’ (Focus Features)

In his first teaming with Anna Karenina star Keira Knightley, director Joe Wright surprised people when he told them he hadn’t read Jane Austen’s book, or seen any of the adaptations before he was asked to direct the movie. After reading – and being emotionally affected – by the book, Wright said he was surprised at how “acutely observed” it was, and “how much it felt like a piece of British realism.” He told IndieLondon.com that it was his intention to “ignore the fact that it was a period drama, and yet at the same time look at the detail of the period as much as possible.”

Instead of focusing on beautiful wide shots of carriages pulling up to stately homes, he and his team spent their time asking such questions as: how did women at fancy dress balls go to the bathroom when there were only a few chamber pots? (It turns out they did anything they could to avoid being faced with that possibility.)

NEXT: Bleak House

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