Stephenie Meyer’s latest project AUSTENLAND makes its debut tomorrow at the Sundance Film Festival. The romantic comedy geared toward a specifically female audience is a slight departure from director Jerusha Hess’ previous predominantly masculine movies Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre, and Gentlemen Broncos. But in a director’s note she sounds all too happy she was able to indulge her girliness with Austenland:
I remember thinking after my husband and I finished Gentlemen Broncos, our weirdest and most testicular film to date, that I really needed to start making movies for girls.
Cut to a dinner meeting with author Shannon Hale. She was smart and funny and handed me a book she had recently published, Austenland. I read it in an evening and we started writing the screenplay within the month. The book was so fresh and read like a film; it was a joy to adapt it for the screen and write it with Shannon.
Since the romantic element in the book was always strong, my goal was to make the film as quirky and light as possible. The result is a ridiculous romp in Regency culture – commenting not only on the historical time but also on the Jane Austen film genre itself. Although the film gently pokes at the Austen “afficianado” it never intends to alienate the fans, rather to celebrate the fun and funny of it all.
Austenland was as girlishly indulgent to make as I hope it is for you to watch. Enjoy.
Buzz for the movie is starting to circulate. Be sure to check out Movieline Director’s Note, Rolling Stone Sundance 15 Must-See Movies, THR 10 Hot Films Hitting Park City, HitFix Most Anticipated Movies at Sundance