My last post was about NaNoWriMo and I had great hopes to write 50,000 words last month. I didn’t make it, however, because I’ve been having terrible migraines nearly every day and a few illnesses. It was still worth it to me, though, because now I have firmly started on something and have re-honed my plans for another series. During convalesce time, I’ve been spending it watching more films and TV shows than I usually do (i.e.: never).
Some people have a favorite actor or actress and will watch nearly anything so long as it has them in it. I admit, I do have a few favorites, but in other times a person is cast so firmly in my mind in one role it is difficult to see them with a different personality later. Although, sometimes it is pleasant as well. Here are some actors from Austen films that I’ve recognized in other films that I’ve spotted in the last weeks.
THE CROWN: Portrays the early reign of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.
Elizabeth’s consort, Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, is played by Matt Smith. Earlier this year, Smith gave an unforgettable rendition of Mr. Collins in PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES.
Jeremy Northam, whose George Knightley in 1996’s EMMA still sets hearts aflutter, joins the cast as Anthony Eden, the UK’s foreign secretary and Prime Minister hopeful.
Long time Austen film fans will recognize Victoria Hamilton as the Queen Mother. She has played Mrs. Forster in the BBC’s 1995 production of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE and was cast as Maria Bertram the 1999 film MANSFIELD PARK.
I recognized Harriet Walker’s voice before her face. How strange it was to see Fanny Dashwood from 1995’s SENSE AND SENSIBILITY with a heart as Clementine Churchill!
Finally, appearing only for a few minutes in the episodes I watched, was Greg Wise, the unforgettable Willoughby from 1995’s SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, as Lord Mountbatten.
NORTH AND SOUTH (BBC, 2004). The dramatization of Elizabeth Gaskell’s Victorian novel of the same title about class division between laborers and masters in a fictionalized industrial city. Richard Armitage plays Mr. John Thornton and Daniela Denby-Ashby plays Margaret Hale.
Despite a nearly cult-following of wishers who would love to see Armitage as Darcy, that has yet to be granted. Instead, the Austen viewer will recall Anna Maxwell Martin, who plays Margaret’s friend Bessy Higgins, went on to play Cassandra Austen in BECOMING JANE and Elizabeth Bennet Darcy in DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY in 2013.
Rupert Evans was cast as Frederick Hale, Margaret’s brother, and later played Frank Churchill in the BBC’s EMMA in 2009.
THE HARRY POTTER SERIES (2001-2011) There are several actors that reprised roles in both Harry Potter and Austen films.
Alan Rickman’s death earlier this year was mourned in multiple fandoms. His role as Christopher Brandon touched the hearts of Janeites in SENSE AND SENSIBILITY. Potter fans loved his portrayal as Professor Severus Snape, one of Harry’s teachers with a complicated back story that takes the length of the series to unveil.
Maggie Smith brought Professor Minerva McGonagall, a stern but mentoring teacher, to life. In 2007, she played Lady Gresham, Jane Austen’s neighbor and aunt to one of Jane’s suitors, in BECOMING JANE.
Mark Williams portrayed Arthur Weasley, father of Harry’s best friend, in all eight films and was also Sir John Middleton in the 2008 production of SENSE AND SENSIBILITY.
Julie Waters was the amazing Molly Weasley in all eight films. Along with the rest of the Weasley clan, they provide Harry a family and happy home for the misused orphan. Ms. Walters also played Mrs. Austen in BECOMING JANE.
Gemma Jones portrayed Madame Pomfrey, the wizarding healer, and Mrs. Dashwood in the 1995 production of SENSE AND SENSIBILITY. Additionally, she was Bridget’s mother in Bridget Jones’s Diary and subsequent sequels.
Jim Broadbent played Bridget Jones’ father and Professor Horace Slughorn in several Harry Potter films.
Robert Hardy acted as Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge for the series run. Hardy was Sir John Middleton in the 1995 SENSE AND SENSIBILITY.
Imelda Staunton was the evil Professor Dolores Jane Umbridge and the vivacious Charlotte Palmer in SENSE AND SENSIBILITY.
The talented Emma Thompson appeared as eccentric divination professor Sybill Trelawney and the practical and clam Elinor Dashwood in SENSE AND SENSIBILITY.
Helen McCrory played Narcissa Malfoy, the mother of Harry’s school nemesis who learned his prejudices at her knee. In BECOMING JANE, she portrayed Ann Radcliffe, a popular Georgian author Jane met and inspired her to earn income by her pen rather than settle for an unhappy marriage.
Elizabeth Spriggs became the uncouth Mrs. Jennings in SENSE AND SENSIBILITY and The Fat Lady, a talking portrait that protects the Griffyndor common room, in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
Whew! That was a lot! Emma Thompson’s roles were polar opposites. It was also interesting to see some of the actors had collaborated together before! Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was the first thing I had seen Matt Smith in and finding his acting just as compelling in The Crown is inspiring me to try his other works even though I have avoided Doctor Who until now (only because among my geeky friends I felt I needed to have some way to set myself apart). Does seeing any of these Austen actors named make you interested in trying one of these productions if you’ve not watched them before?