The 2007 adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel, Persuasion, has received both high praise, including some awards, and harsh criticism. I know this to be true, having read numerous reviews and articles while conducting research for this post. In the end, I believe the production’s charms outweigh its faults. Enough of my opinion, though. It’s time for another Trivia Challenge quiz. Good luck!
- The 2007 version of Persuasion was produced for ITV as one of three Austen productions ordered at the same time. Name one of the other adaptations included in this package deal.
- What distraction did the film crew have to deal with when filming in Bath?
- Neston Park, Corsham, Wiltshire, England, served as the filming location for two important homes in Persuasion. Name one of them.
- Alice Krige, the actress who portrayed the controlling Lady Russell in Persuasion also played a domineering, conquering queen in a popular science-fiction film series. What race was she the queen of?
- The dress Sally Hawkins wears as Anne Elliot to the concert in Bath was previously worn in the rain by Marianne Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility. What is the name of the other actress who wore it?
- In 2012, items from Persuasion 2007 were donated by costume designer Andrea Galer and sold at auction. What institution organized and benefited from the proceeds of the auction?
- There is a particular outerwear garment Anne Elliot frequently wears throughout the film, including in the opening scene when she is walking through Kellynch Hall. What is it?
- There was one actor in the cast who was a member of the same graduating class at the Royal Acadamy of Dramatic Arts as Sally Hawkins (1998). Name either the actor or the character he played.
- There is a film-making “rule” that was deliberately broken on multiple occasions in Persuasion in order to increase the intensity of viewers’ connection with Anne Elliot. What is the rule?
- There was one scene where filming was ultimately cut short due to hazardous weather conditions. Where was it located?
Ten questions, some easy, some less so. How do you think you did? Are you a Persuasion trivia buff or perhaps a good guesser? Check your answers below:
10.) Was Lady Russell typecast? We’ve all known people who impose their will on others, fully believing that they know best. Anne Elliot’s neighbor, Lady Russell, is such a person and was instrumental in persuading the 19-year-old Anne that Frederick Wentworth had insufficient prospects marry. Alice Krige, who portrayed Lady Russell in Persuasion was previously cast in another role as the domineering Borg Queen in the 1996 production of Star Trek: First Contact. As something of a Trekkie, I was stunned to discover they were the same actress, but she does play this sort of role very well.
9.) A jacket from a shawl: The production’s costumer, Andrea Galer, selected faded autumnal colors as the palette of Anne Elliot’s wardrobe. She described one article of clothing she created for Anne, a jacket for Sally Hawkins to wear that was made from a 19th-century shawl, which Galer mounted and patched together with a cross-stitch. Sally is seen wearing this capelet-style jacket in nearly every film location. To be honest, I’m not 100% certain that I’ve matched the right jacket to the description – the internet archive machine failed to give me definitive answers, but it seems like a good contender to me. If you know otherwise, please let us know in the comments.
8.) A Jane Austen three-for-all: Nick Elliott, the controller of drama at Britain’s Independent Television company, ITV, determined that for a “Jane Austen season” series, they would produce three new television adaptations of Austen novels. They selected Persuasion, Mansfield Park, and Northanger Abbey as the three titles. Persuasion was the first of the three to begin filming. He expressed the idea that there was a need to modernize and retell Austen’s novels about once every ten years. One stated objective was to make the timeless stories feel “young,” to introduce them to a new generation of viewers.
7.) Who knew Bath was such a tourist attraction? Filming on location in Bath presented its own set of issues, among them, was the fact that tourists were out in force, and attracted to the filming activity which was highly visible. This quote from an article in The Telegraph paints the picture:
“The presence of the milling tourists is an eccentric arrangement, and, one gets the impression, workable only because a great deal of patience has been mustered from both sides. Very occasionally, just as Shergold gets ready to restart filming, one or two stragglers appear from behind a pillar looking bewildered before being led away to rejoin the flock.”
I stumbled on this short video, taken by a thrilled fan. It illustrates what the energy was like on set in Bath.
6.) Who wore it better? It’s always fun to spot a costume previously seen in another production, and the budget for making new costumes for Persuasion was lamentably low. The green gown Anne wears at dinner in Lyme and to the concert in Bath was previously worn by Kate Winslet as Marianne Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility. The button details and the fine lace trim on the bodice are the most obvious proof that the gown is the same one.
5.) Anne breaks the fourth wall. The portrayal of the inner world of any character can be a challenge in a visual medium, and the quiet, introverted nature of Anne Elliot complicates this aspect of illuminating her thoughts to the audience. It was decided by the director that a journal would be used to reveal her thoughts and that looking directly into the camera would intensify her emotional connection to the viewer. The technique, known as “breaking the fourth wall,” is generally discouraged in filmmaking, but was used to advantage in Persuasion.
4.) Does Miss Galer Regret? In 2008, some of the costumes from Persuasion were put on display at the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, including some of the costumes worn by Sally Hawkins as Anne Elliot. Four years later, costumer Andrea Galer donated some of the costumes she designed for both Persuasion and Miss Austen Regrets, which were sold at auction to benefit the Jane Austen Centre. Galer said about her donation,
“It was difficult to do but I did it. I suppose the one outfit that did sell that I would’ve been happy if it hadn’t was the Harris tweed jacket and dress worn by Sally Hawkins when she played Anne Elliot in Persuasion.”
3.) It feels as if I never left home. According to the IMDB detail on filming locations, Neston Park served for both Elliot residences: Kellynch Hall, the ancestral estate and also the interiors of Camden place, the baronet’s domicile in Bath. I never would have guessed, but if you look closely, there are a few architectural details that are consistent in both sets. It’s certainly not obvious.
2.) Class Reunion – It’s always fun to discover connections between cast members. Sally Hawkins, who played Anne Elliot, and Tobias Menzies who portrayed her cousin and suitor, William Elliot, graduated together from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in 1998.
1.) Wentworth gets a wet-shirt scene too. Well, it’s more than Wentworth’s shirt that gets wet, but I love the parallel to Colin Firth’s Darcy dive in the pond. Director Adrian Shergold shot a scene on the Cobb at Lyme Regis between Captain Wentworth (Rupert Penry-Jones) and Harry Harville(Joseph Mawle). The scene represents an emotional upheaval for Wentworth, as he learns of Louisa Musgrove’s engagement and imminent marriage to James Benwick, meaning he is free to pursue Anne. On the day of filming, the weather conditions were severe, and the waves smashed over the top of the wall and drenched both actors more than once.
‘We carried on,’ Shergold says, ‘and I think everybody loved that. They thought I’d call a stop to filming. I’ve no idea if I can use it (the footage) but it was great fun. I had to stop in the end because the safety people said we’d all be washed away.’
Two of the criticisms Persuasion (2007) faced was that purists thought that Rupert Penry-Jones was too handsome to be cast as Captain Wentworth. As I combed the internet for nuggets of trivia on this film, and watched it repeatedly to catch goofs, I came to my own conclusions on this topic. If you leave no other comment for us today, please take a moment to share your thoughts on the casting choices for Anne (Sally Hawkins) and Captain Wentworth (Rupert Penry-Jones).
Quiz Answers: 1.) Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey. 2.) Tourists. 3.) Kellynch Hall, and the interior of Camden Place. 4.) The Borg. 5.) Kate Winslet. 6.) The Jane Austen Centre in Bath. 7.) A capelet made from a shawl. 8.) Tobias Menzies, who played William Elliot. 9.) The character should never look directly into the camera, known as “breaking the fourth wall.” 10.) On the Cobb, at Lyme.