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Trivia / Emma

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The Book

  • Creator's Favorite: Emma and Mr. Knightley were among Jane Austen's favourite fictional creations. Mr. Knightley was "very far from being what [Jane Austen] knew English gentlemen often were", and when she was sending a copy of the book to a friend whose daughter had been lately born, she wrote: "I trust you will be as glad to see my Emma as I shall be to see your Jemima." And when she was commencing that work, she said, "I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like".
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  • Referenced by...: In The Collector, Miranda asks her captor to get her Jane Austen's Emma. She compares herself to its imperfect and slightly manipulative heroine, and then she likens her captor Frederick to Mr Elton, her fling from university to Frank Churchill, and asks herself if her older teacher is Mr Knightley.

The 1972 Miniseries

  • Dawson Casting: Humorously, not for Emma herself (though Godwin does appear more mature than her 22 years), but John Carson was 45, eight years older than Mr. Knightley's 37 (and it shows).


The 1996 Film

  • Dyeing for Your Art: Toni Collette had to gain weight to portray "the Rubenesque Harriet".
    I think it's important for people to look real in films. There's a tendency to go Barbie doll and I don't agree with that at all.
  • Fake Brit: Despite the English setting and characters, Jeremy Northam and Sophie Thompson are the only English-born leading actors. Gwyneth Paltrow is American, Denys Hawthorne was Irish, Ewan McGregor, James Cosmo, Phyllida Law, and Alan Cumming are Scottish, Greta Scacchi is Italian, and Toni Collette is Australian.
  • Old Shame: Ewan McGregor later regretted appearing in the film:
    My decision-making was wrong. It's the only time I've done that. And I learnt from it, you know. So I'm glad of that - because it was early on and I learnt my lesson. It's a good film, but I'm just... not very good in it. I'm not helped because I'm also wearing the world's worst wig. It's quite a laugh, checking that wig out.
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  • Playing Against Type: Ewan McGregor accepted the role of Frank Churchill because he wanted to do something different after Trainspotting.
  • Real-Life Relative: Mrs. Bates and Miss Bates, mother and daughter in the film, are played by real-life mother and daughter Phyllida Law and Sophie Thompson. This was a coincidence, as the casting director had their names on separate lists.
  • Real Life Writes the Hairstyle: Ewan McGregor had just got off Trainspotting, which required him to have a buzzcut. Hence why he wears what he referred to as the world's worst wig.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Douglas McGrath had initially wanted to write a modern version of the novel, set on the Upper East Side of New York City. Harvey Weinstein liked the idea of a contemporary take on the novel. McGrath was unaware that Clueless was already in production, until plans for Emma were well underway.
    • Nicole Kidman and Diane Lane turned down the lead role.

The 1996 Telefilm

  • Dueling Works: A rare case of dueling works based on the exact same work. This telefilm was being filmed at the same time that the McGrath/Paltrow/Northam film was in theaters, and came out in the same year in the UK. Also something of a meta-situation, since six Jane Austen films came out from 1995-1996.

The 2009 Miniseries

  • Dawson Casting: Romola Garai was 26, five years older than Emma's 21 (and a decade older than Emma at 16, in the prologue of the film).
  • Prop Recycling: Two costumes from the 1996 film were re-used.
    • The blue striped dress with long sleeves Emma Woodhouse wears at Hartfield is worn by Jane Fairfax while reading a letter.
    • The red plaid Spencer worn by Harriet Smith at Ford's in the rain is worn by an extra.


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