‘Pride and Prejudice’ Set for ‘Downton’-Style Retelling

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

This idea seems so market-tested that it’s surprising that no one thought of it sooner, but here it is: 39-year-old British author Jo Baker has re-worked Pride and Prejudice with a Downton Abbey twist, focusing on the world of the servants in Jane Austen‘s classic. Titled Longbourn, her novel features a downstairs romance between a footman and a housemaid as a counterpoint to the better-known love story between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet.

As expected, this aggressively commercial tale has been snapped up by publishers and film studios alike. “I sent it out last week,” said Clare Alexander, Baker’s agent, told BBC NEWS. “[U.S. publisher] Knopf bought it Monday. On Wednesday, it was bought by Doubleday in the U.K. By Thursday the film rights had gone. By Friday, we had signed up two foreign translations.” Focus Features, which made the surprisingly not-bad Keira Knightley Pride film, is set to make the Longbourn movie.

Nice (re-)work if you can get it, huh? I guess this will provide all of us something to pass the time until that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies film adaptation finally happens.

Are you looking forward to Longbourn?

Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks founded BBCAmerica.com's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself - he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri - he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.

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