Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Paradise Road Review

Reviewed by Lisa Schwarzbaum

I'd be dishonest if I didn't admit up front that I wept at Paradise Road (Fox Searchlight, R). Based on real events, Bruce Beresford's old-fashioned war movie tells the story of a group of British and Dutch women who were captured by the Japanese while fleeing occupied Singapore during World War II and imprisoned in Sumatra for over three and a half years. The women -- distrustful of one another at first in the jangle of languages, cultures, and classes competing under conditions of severe hardship -- find strength and comfort by organizing a ''vocal orchestra'' to perform sophisticated arrangements of classical music.

In fact, I wept like a fool from the instant Glenn Close, beaming with glittering Glenn-y eyes as Adrienne Pargiter, the group's inspiring choir conductor, raises her eloquent hands to lead the first bars of the largo movement of Antonin Dvorak's famous From the New World Symphony. (Actual sheet music survives, and the arrangements we hear are authentic.) And I more or less blubbered through the end of the saga, when the Japanese surrender, and those who survived the horrible ordeal wring one final sob (and do a rendition of ''Danny Boy'') for those who didn't.

But I know me: I'm a sucker for Dvorak and for the nobility of group music making. I love movies about women defying misery with small, sisterly gestures and brave, tear-stained faces. I'm moved by war movies, especially those dramatizing the particular, jarring horror of real 20th-century conflicts. I'm remembering Playing for Time and Jane Alexander's turn as a concentration-camp music maestra.

And I'd be dishonest if I didn't add that I hated myself in the morning -- not for crying (that's a plus) but for falling so cheaply for stereotype over character development, for cliche over freshness, and for sentiment over emotion, just as Bruce Beresford hoped I would.

Beresford -- the director of Driving Miss Daisy and Crimes of the Heart (as well as, don't forget, Sharon Stone's recent prison folly, Last Dance) -- is known for his female-centric ensemble work. And the pleasure the impressive, talented cast take in re-creating Sumatra in Malaysia is palpable. As one of the leaders of the camp, Adrienne, an English tea planter's wife, is tortured -- yet Close, in her odd, beatif, way, has rarely looked fitter or happier. The endearing Pauline Collins (Shirley Valentine and, to my mind, forever Sarah the saucy parlormaid of TV's Upstairs, Downstairs) is particularly affecting as a warm, no-nonsense missionary who writes the musical arrangements and becomes Adrienne's close friend. ER's Julianna Margulies plays the lone American woman in the mix; BackBeat's Jennifer Ehle, who sparkled in the BBC's Pride and Prejudice, is a beautiful English rose.

But that's the point: Every character can be written off with a shorthand description, since none strays beyond a sketch. There's Dutch actress Johanna Ter Steege as a spirited nun; Australian Cate Blanchett as a young nurse who discovers her own backbone; formidable and amusing English veteran Elizabeth Spriggs (of Ang Lee's Sense and Sensibility) as the fussy, snobby woman with a poodle; Stan Egi as the camp's brutal, screaming captain (it turns out, Mama, he wants to sing, too!); Clyde Kusatsu as the evil chief of secret police; etc.

And a separate breath must be taken for Fargo's Oscar winner Frances McDormand, doing God knows what in the bizarre role of the camp's resident German Jewish ironist. This crafty inmate speaks in a broad caricature of a Cherman accent and actually pulls gold from the teeth of corpses, Nazi-style, to trade for needed medical supplies. The teeth are life!

Paradise Road has the stiff-if-quivering-upper-lip quality of a British Empire production made to cheer on the lads and buck up the loved ones back home; the Australian Beresford displays the pride of an imperialist, wagering the pluck of resourceful white women against the nefarious schemes of wily foreigners any day. (Their savage breasts soothed during one concert, the Japanese captors actually lay down their arms.)

Was the women's vocal orchestra of Sumatra really what saved the lives of the survivors and rehabilitated their enemies -- a commodity as crucial as food for the starving and quinine for those dying of malaria? Hard to say. But the music is crucial to Paradise Road -- a path that leads, ultimately, to the sight of the haggard, grimy, wet faces of the living, embracing at news of the war's end, accompanied by heavenly sounds. Beresford, who'd like to teach the world to sing, makes the moment as moving as a Coca-Cola jingle. It's not the real thing, but it's effective. C+

Neil Simon at the Neil Simon

This is some information on the Broadway Cares production of 'Neil Simon at the Neil Simon' in 2000. Haven't really heard much about this, but Jennifer Ehle and Rosemary Harris were both involved.

This is not to say that there was no through-line to the evening. As the first excerpt very clearly intimated in which Jennifer Ehle plays Nina, an actress from Odessa, who hilariously auditions in front of Chekhov himself in a scene from The Good Doctor -- the event was nothing more or less than an attempt by eager actors to perform the work of a playwright in front of an audience.

Indeed, Ehle was quite effective as Nina. Vulnerable and shy, Ehle's Nina evinced an effective passive-aggressive stance in which she used her beauty and warmth to endear herself to the unseen playwright/director but then managed to throw zinging one-liners and remarks that exposed a very headstrong personality.

Rosemary Harris was simply sensational as Grandma, opposite Julie Kavner's Bella, in the heartrending mother-and-daughter scene from Lost in Yonkers. Harris used a cold, imperious Yiddish accent that was the quintessence of transformation. It reminded audiences how grossly underused she was as an actress in Waiting in the Wings, and it even made one wonder what she would have been like if she played the Jewish immigrant in Rose which recently starred Olympia Dukakis on Broadway.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Shakespeare in the Park tips

Some advice about getting seats and autographs at Macbeth from the Liev Schreiber forum:

...From my expeience in past years, the wait all day in line can be pretty tough (those people in line can get pretty onry - don't even try to let friends cut in or more than a freind or two join you later - they will call you out, or even report you to the Theater volunteers who keep the line in line). I usually try to get tix at the Delacorte in the Park, since at least I have the trees to keep me company. Bring a blanket to sit on, an umbrella & a book to pass the time. Be prepared to either enjoy or be annoyed by the musicians who busker the line.


If you can't wait all day in line for tickets, then you wait in the "standby" line at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park just before the show starts. It's in the same place as where the regualr ticket line all day is, but much much shorter. Usually the all-day line has all the tickets handed out in the afternoon. Then people start getting in the stand-by line about an hour or two before the show starts (so about 5 or 6pm if the show is at 7pm).

The stand-by people get the tickets for no-shows or people who turn in un-used tickets. I have lucked out a couple times and got front row & third row seats this way for Liev's show last year. It was fantastic being so close.

What they do at the start of the standby line is have the sets of no-show tickets - then they ask how many are in your party (1,2,3 people...) and then they start handing them out based on that & what tix are available (1 seat, 2 seats together, 3 seats together). You can get even better if you're willing to split up and not try to get seats together. Don't be daunted if there are 100 or so people in line already, this line can go pretty fast right up until the minute the play starts. Then again, there is always the chance you might not get in, so it's always iffy.

Also, either almost right as the play starts or during the first admission, if there are still empty seats in the theater, they let stand-by people rush in and try to find the best ones (basically a free for all) but by that time, it's usually only the seats at the very top far away, or the extreme sides left.

And, if there are sprinkles of rain and few people chicken out & leave early, you may score their seat. whimps. The best show I saw last year was when Liev & the gang toughed it out through the drizzle - real troopers. The show will be cancelled, however, if it is raining (for safety, the actors mikes & elect. equipment).

And, finally... for those of you wishing to get autographs & pics afterwards with Liev, wait on the right side of the Delacorte (near the public bathrooms) by the stage door. If Liev isn't in a hurry to get away on his bike, he usually happily signs & chats away.

PS- For sold out shows I couldn't get into, I'd just go hang out at Belvedere Castle across the pond from the Delacorte. The view isn't great, but you can still hear the show. It's just something fun to do.

Another poster answers Tess' question over there in the tagboard about when to start queuing:

The public theater is the best place to wait. how long you have to wait depends on how great the production is. i think this one will be in pretty high demand given that liev and others in it are well resognized and respected by the public theater going public. to be assured decent seats, i would recommend waiting from 9am-ish. you will probably get tickets if you wait until 10 or 10:30, after that point it's questionable and all a matter of your luck that day. i HAVE gotten tickets lining up as late as 12:30 (last year) but there was a high likelyhood of rain that scared people off, and i don't think it was a very popular play. weekends are slightly worse than weekdays but the tickets are gone every day. the tickets are given out at 1pm.

of note, the rain policy is, that unless there's a deluge, the show WILL go on. they might take rain breaks or suggest slickers, but if it's a little drizzley or there is a possiblity of rain, don't let that deter you.
i'm going to have to go on a sunday; i'll post when i figure out which one for sure. mabe we can coordinate this year.

ps, i have heard of certain VERY high demand performances in the past when you really did have to camp out for tickets. i haven't seen that in the years i've been going though and don't think that will be the case this year.

Chronological CV

Just for reference. This is everything from age 2 onwards that we know of. No joke. And what a varied career it's been, from inanimate objects to empresses.

Sources: fansite filmography (this has work from 1991 to 2005 categorised by medium), The Interview, Interlochen credits, and some Googling.

Note that dates are approximations - some are dates of filming, some of release, and some are just sort of guessed from her age or grade. Let us know of omissions or mistakes. Anyone have the year for Cause Celeb?

  • Mr & Mrs Fitch (play) - Mrs Fitch
  • Game of Thrones (TV series) - Catelyn Stark
  • The King's Speech (film) - Myrtle Logue

  • The Greatest (film) - Joan

  • 2007
  • Washington Square (audiobook) - Narrator
  • The Russell Girl (TV) – Lorraine Morrissey

  • The Coast of Utopia (play)
    • Voyage - Liubov Bakunin
    • Shipwreck - Natalie Herzen
    • Salvage - Malwida von Meysenbug
  • Pride and Glory (film) - Abby Tierney
  • Macbeth (play) - Lady Macbeth
  • Michael Clayton (film) - Brini Glass (cut)
  • Before the Rains (aka Road to the Sky) (film) - Laura Moores

  • The Philadelphia Story (play) – Tracy Lord
  • The River King (film) – Betsy Chase

  • Alpha Male (film) – Alice Ferris
  • Peter Pan at the Players (radio) – Mrs Darling


  • Possession (film) - Cristabel Lamotte

  • Design for Living (play) - Gilda
  • Witch Child (audiobook) – Narrator
  • The Tempest (audiobook) - Miranda

  • Sunshine (film) – Young Valerie Sonnenschein
  • The Real Thing at the Barrymore & Albery (play) – Annie

  • Aladdin (radio) – Princess Mahjong
  • Summerfolk (play) – Varvara Mikhailovna
  • The Real Thing at the Donmar (play) - Annie
  • This Year’s Love (film) - Sophie
  • Millennium: A Thousand Years of History (TV documentary) - Narrator

  • Bedrooms and Hallways (film) - Sally

  • Wilde (film) – Constance Lloyd Wilde
  • Paradise Road (film) – Rosemary Leighton-Jones
  • Melissa (TV mini) – Melissa
  • Playing the Wife (radio) - Harriet

  • Painter of Dishonour (play) – Serafina
  • Richard III (play) – Lady Anne
  • The Relapse, or Virtue in Danger (play) – Amanda
  • Pride and Prejudice (TV mini) – Elizabeth Bennet

  • Beyond Reason, or A Casual Affair (TV) – Penny McAllister
  • Pleasure (TV) – Emma Desneuves
  • Self-Catering (TV) – Meryl

  • Micky Love (TV) – Tasmin
  • The Maitlands (TV) – Phyllis Maitland
  • Backbeat (film) – Cynthia Lennon
  • An Anthology of Spritual Verse (radio) – Narrator

  • The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles: Austria, March 1917 (TV) – Empress Zita
  • The Camomile Lawn (TV mini) – Calypso
  • Breaking the Code (play) – Pat Green
  • Keystone (radio) – Debra
  • Anniversary (radio) – Amber

  • Tartuffe (play) – Elmire


  • Laundry and Bourbon (play) – Hattie Dealing
  • 1959 Pink Thunderbird (play) – ?

  • Fools (play) – Sophia Zubritsky
  • Harvey (play) – Betty Chumley
  • The Glass Menagerie (play) – The Mother
  • Oklahoma (play) – Gertie Cummings

  • The Royal Family (play) – Nurse Peakes?
  • The Good Doctor (play) – Member of the company
  • L’Avare (play) – Mariane Brie
  • Agnes of God (play) – Agnes
  • The American Dream (play) – Mommy


  • Legend about seal goddess (play) – Eskimo woman

  • Where the Wild Things Are (play) – Tree

  • A Streetcar Named Desire (play) – Baby in passing birthday party

    Unknown dates
  • Cause Celeb (radio) – Narrator
  • Pemberley in verse and worse

    This really speaks for itself - the first proposal from Pemberley in verse.

    You have ruined the happiness of Jane,
    Who may never find love again!
    You cannot deny it!
    Do you seek to decry it?
    You have caused them unpardonable pain!"

    "No, of course not," he replied with a smirk.
    "So what if I acted the jerk?
    Charles should wed a duchy,
    And I'll have no stench touch me---
    After all, I am Colin Firth!"

    Elizabeth decided to disperse
    With the formalities of this verse.
    Saucily: "Really?
    Well I'm Jennifer Ehle,
    And you've three hours left, buster---it gets worse!

    And this too requires no comment. Those crazy Pemberleans.

    Time to start queuing

    More Macbeth pot-banging from Newsday.

    Macbeth. (Previews begin June 13, runs through July 9 at Delacorte Theatre, Central Park; free.) Clearly the place to camp this summer, the Public Theater continues its 50th anniversary with one of the most intriguing recent Shakespeare enticements. Liev Schreiber, who won a Tony Award in the revival of "Glengarry Glen Ross" last year, returns to his classic roots as the Thane of Cawdor, arguably the most wife-whipped man in world literature. Jennifer Ehle, unforgettable in her 2000 Tony-winning performance in "The Real Thing," makes her park debut as the little woman. Moisés Kaufman ("I Am My Own Wife," "The Laramie Project") directs.

    Can anyone spare a ride to NYC?

    Sunday, May 28, 2006

    Belton House

    Do you recognise this house?
    It was used as Rosings in Pride and Prejudice and is now being used to shoot the new Jane Eyre. And, by an unusual turn of symmetry Tara Fitzgerald, who was Jennifer Ehle's co-star in The Camomile Lawn, is playing Mrs Reed. Just for your information.

    Photo Essay: Actors in Character

    Photographer, Howard Schatz photographed many actors 'doing' certain faces. Rosemary Harris was one of them. The best, I think. If you click on the link, she's number 7.

    These are the faces she does:
    1. You are a loving wife after a visit to an assisted-living facility, where your husband can no longer remember your name

    2. ...reading a New York Times obituary of the man who was your first lover.

    Friday, May 26, 2006


    Village Voice's summer guide adds to the buzz around Macbeth.

    Delacorte Theater,
    Central Park, near West 81st Street entrance,

    June 13–September 3: As the new artistic director of the Public Theater, Oskar Eustis has acquitted himself quite well, but nothing will test his mettle like his oversight of the Public's most famous phenomenon, its summer season of Shakespeare plays in Central Park. For his inaugural effort, Eustis has programmed one Shakespeare play, Macbeth (June 13–July 9), and one by Brecht, Mother Courage and Her Children (August 8–September 3). He's secured some excellent actors: The dishy Liev Schreiber and the possibly dishier Jennifer Ehle will play Shakespeare's Lord and Lady M., while Meryl Streep will hitch her star to Mother Courage's wagon. SOLOSKI

    Oh yeah, check out the poll on the side bar. Paradise Road is ahead by a nose at the moment.

    Download Charlie Rose interview for $0.99

    Hoorah for the internet! Instead of having to buy the expensive hard copy, Google Video now allows you to download the Charlie Rose program from May 4th, 2000 for USD $0.99. This show features interviews with Jennifer Ehle and Stephen Dillane about The Real Thing and a clip from the play. Have a look at the transcript at the fansite.

    It's not an entirely smooth process. Firstly you need to set up a Google account. Then go to the video and click "buy" once you've logged in. To pay you need a credit card and American address (but only the state and post code need to match up eg. NC 28779). You may or may not have to download the Google Video Player which is only available for Windows 2000 or XP. You can download the file in three formats - Windows .avi, iPod Video or PSP. I've found that using VLC allows me to watch it on Mac OSX. If you're having trouble go to the help center.

    Once you've paid, you should be able to download the file any number of times, so it's not a problem if you want to watch it on different computers or your connection cuts out. The file is a whopping 219mb so be prepared for a long haul even on broadband. The Real Thing segment starts at 30 minutes in and lasts about 11 minutes.

    Pst, you can get a taste of the show at EhleNews.

    New Rosemary Harris pics

    She herself has sent in two photos for the Presenting Rosemary Harris site, from Notorious Woman (1975) and Peter Pan (1959). Luther's also found a new photo from The Chisholms (1979-80)

    Here's the update on the What's New page.

    Once again received a package from Rosemary! It contained 2 new photos. One for Peter Pan and one for Notorious Woman. I also found a photo from Chisholms. Rosemary was no stranger to flying by wire for Spiderman2 since she did Peter Pan and enjoyed flying by wire in 1959. I also updated the Jennifer Ehle link having just found out that the site was moved. Nobody told me!! This site is now going on six years.

    1995 Sven Arnstein photo

    From Photoshot.

    Wednesday, May 24, 2006

    Mix of Reviews

    Slow news day so here are some reviews to tide you over.

    Disclaimer: I have neither read the original novel by A.S. Byatt (though now I definitely plan to) nor have I seen the French Lieutenant's Woman. By only basis for comparison is as a neutral viewer, though admittedly one with a preference for romantic comedies.
    Having said that, I was completely mesmerized and swept away by this movie. From the first note of the subtle yet soothingly rich score, Possession just draws you in - a love story set in two different eras with evolving standards for love. It's really a simple story, but it delves into the different and often heartbreaking facets of love. Jennifer Ehle delivers one of the main lines and themes of the movie, "No one can stand in a fire and not be consumed." We see how love can both devour and awaken a person, and how beautifully twisted it is.

    Though Gwyneth Paltrow headlines the movie, it really belongs to the two leading actors - Aaron Eckhart and Jeremy Northam. Aaron Eckhart, in my opinion, really gives a standout performance. His performances in Erin Brockovich and Nurse Betty were good, but he seemed to be stuck in one-dimensional roles that hardly showcased his talent. In Possession, he finally breaks out of his white-trash male persona to amazing results. He actually lets us see his face sans beard (and it is fiiine and chiseled!) and into the soul of what we ladies desire - the sensitive alpha male. Jeremy Northam once again epitomizes the quintessential Englishman of yesteryear - regal, handsome, and genteel. It's truly an irresistable combination. Jennifer Ehle is wonderful as always. She showcases why she was last year's Tony Award winner for Best Lead Actress. She provides the passion, the heart that Gwyneth Paltrow's character invariably lacks.

    This movie is perfect for a Friday night with your man or one of your girlfriends. The scenery alone is worth the trip - the shots of Yorkshire are really breathtaking. Who knew dreary England could be so lush and beautiful? It honestly makes you want to book a trip, a honeymoon to England. Let yourself be caught up in this movie - you'll be glad you did when the lights go on and you realized you forgot to breathe.

    This Year's Love
    Another one of those charming, in your face comedies based on La Ronde. You know the sort of thing. A bunch of mates and eclectic twentysomethings are brought together, have a fling and move on over the course of a few years.

    So we have Dougray Scott as Cameron getting off with just about every woman in the movie using the opening gambit: "You have wonderful bone structure"; tattooist Danny (Douglas Henshall) leaving his wife and going off for flings with most of the women Scott leaves behind; Jennifer Ehle is Sophie, a stunning single mum going deaf in one ear who looks great in dreads but has rejected her upper class roots. She hates the word nice but can't tear herself away from what she is. An inverted snob.

    Ian Hart as Liam is by far the saddest character in the movie. A comic book fan who defines the word intense and when he sees his flatmate in bed with another woman, goes off and slashes his wrists. He ends up with singer Mary (Kathy Burke) and when a gag involving a tipple goes pear shaped, he storm off. Liam believes that time goes backwards and in one of the bleakest developments of any movie, by the end of the film, he actually goes mad.

    Yes, this isn't your average rom com where there's loads of happy endings and that's what makes it a lot more believable than most movies in its class.

    Good direction by screenwriter David Kane and an excellent soundtrack make this very easy entertainment while the cast is superb.

    Sunshine gives us 100 years of Middle Europe, when Jews tried to be Hungarians, and Hungarians wouldn't let them.

    Butterfly gives us nine months of Spain just before the civil war in 1936, when a young republic went to school until Franco's fascists shot the teachers.

    Ralph Fiennes stars and stars and stars in Sunshine. There are three of him.

    With a beard, he is Ignatz, who changes his name from Sonnenschein to become a judge in the Austro-Hungarian empire.

    With a mustache, he is Adam, son of Ignatz, who converts to Catholicism so he can fence at the Berlin Olympics.

    Clean shaven, he is Ivan, son of Adam, who gets out of Auschwitz to become a secret policeman in the Stalinist regime, before they remember he's Jewish.

    At least as interesting as Budapest, Vienna, wars and revolutions, are the women who throw themselves at Ralph: a stunning Jennifer Ehle, who grows up to be the equally beautiful Rosemary Harris (Ehle's mother in real life).

    And there's Molly Parker, who marries Ralph the second in spite of a prior commitment, and Rachel Weisz, who sleeps with Ralph the second, even though she's married to his brother, and Deborah Kara Unger, who goes into the woods with Ralph the third, risking both their lives. And I haven't even mentioned William Hurt, nor the sunshine tonic that made the family rich.

    Monarchy, fascism, communism, anti-Semitism and the sex appeal of Ralph are a lot to think about, even in three hours. But something else seems to be on director Istvan Szabo's mind.

    If the Sonnenscheins don't help themselves by selling out their Judaism, what are we to make of the filmmaker who keeps popping up to lick the hand of whatever master feeds him? There are dark shadows in Sunshine, not quite dispelled by the radiance of Jennifer Ehle and Rosemary Harris.

    Tuesday, May 23, 2006

    Ahead of time

    The days we post - Mon/Wed/Fri/Sun - are by Australian Eastern time. So if you're in the US or Europe, it might actually be Sun/Tue/Thu/Sat for you.

    Monday, May 22, 2006

    Lip-locking laurels

    The Calgary Sun on the best on-screen smooches ever.

    A lot of people here in the news room insist we mention Colin Firth kissing Jennifer Ehle in the TV movie version of Pride & Prejudice.

    PS. The design should be fixed now, thanks to the CSS chops of Richard. If it still doesn't work for you...bully! No, seriously, please let us know.

    Macbeth casting press release

    Here are the interesting bits from the casting press release we got sent the other day (we count as media?!). The names of cast members are the same as posted earlier.

    Directed by Moisés Kaufman, Macbeth will begin previews at the Delacorte Theater on Tuesday, June 13th. Performances will continue through Sunday, July 9th. The press opening will be Wednesday, June 28. Shakespeare in the Park will mark the culmination of The Public's year-long 50th Anniversary Celebration.

    This seems to confirm the July 9th closing as opposed to what's being reported by Playbill and BroadwayWorld.

    Oskar Eustis stated "This summer's shows in the park will be a perfect manifestation of what The Public Theater stands for: our nation's greatest actors performing the world's greatest plays under the direction of thrilling and boundary-breaking directors free for the people. The fact that both of these magnificent classics speak to a world at war is a powerful reminder of how, in the hands of remarkable artists, great plays of the past can speak to the state of the nation better than any politician."

    A clue to how the play will be interpreted, perhaps?

    And a reminder of how to get tickets, in case you missed it:

    Performances of Shakespeare in the Park will be Tuesday Through Sunday at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are FREE and will be available on the day of the performance (two per person) at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park beginning at 1:00 p.m. and at The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street (near Astor Place), from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. The closest entrances to the Delacorte are at 81st Street and Central Park West or 70th Street and Fifth Avenue.

    Jennifer Ehle's BBC catalogue

    Wow, this is handy- the BBC's open catalogue lists Ms Ehle's involvement with the BBC (though it's not necessarily comprehensive). Here are some of the interesting findings:

  • She was a guest on Talking Movies, a discussion program in 2002.
  • A Pride and Prejudice blooper, something about a shattered lightbulb on Auntie's Brand New Bloomers (I recall reading somewhere that there was swearing action)
  • An on-location interview about Wilde in 1997
  • Another interview from the Olivier Awards in 2000
  • Some kind of involvement in Alan Cumming, Uncovered, a video diary by this Design for Living co-star
  • Strangest of all, she was a reader for Something Understood: An Anthology of Spiritual Verse in 1993. It's a 6-part program on Radio 4, with themes like animals, despair, childhood, ordinary lives, personal faith and the nature of God (!).

    There are also brief synopses of radio plays Keystone and Playing the Wife, as well as the TV play The Maitlands.

    Keystone: Peter LOVESEY's thriller is set among the real stars of silver screen in the heyday of silent movies. Starring Mark STRAKER, Jennifer EHLE & Roger GARTLAND.

    Playing the Wife: Written by Ronald HAYMAN. Derek Jacobi makes a rare radio appearance when he reprises his performance as the Swedish playwright August STINDBERG, seen at the Chichester Festival Theatre.

    The Maitlands: Performance presents the first production of the witty & tragic family drama by Ronald Mckenzie. With Eileen ATKINS,Jennifer EHLE & Edward FOX.

    The pages are particularly useful because they contain dates and BBC broadcast numbers, which probably means you can request them at the British Library's National Sound Archive. Keystone and Playing the Wife can be found by searching "Jennifer Ehle" in the catalogue. You have to be a registered member and book in advance.

    The BBC open catalogue also has a page for Rosemary Harris. It seems we missed her in Hotel Cristobel, a play on Radio 3 in March 2005.

    Hotel Cristobel. By Caryl Phillips. A Caribbean island provides the setting for an intense and personal three-way struggle for control of a fading hotel.
  • Sunday, May 21, 2006

    Let's go see the Scottish Play

    There are a group of Live Journal-ers from 'bbccostumedrama' who are talking about Jennifer Ehle in Macbeth and are planning on going to see it! So if you're in the area, or not in the area and want to go with someone, talk to these guys.

    The River King UK Release

    Here is the date for the UK release of The River King DVD according to DVD Times.

    Momentum Pictures have announced the UK DVD release of The River King for 17th July 2006 priced at £15.99. Based on the critically acclaimed and best selling novel of the same name by Alice Hoffman, the film stars Edward Burns and Jennifer Ehle and is a supernatural thriller with an emotional kick from director Nick Willing.

    Features including DD5.1 Surround and a Trailer.

    Friday, May 19, 2006

    Full Macbeth cast

    This is reported in both Playbill and BroadwayWorld; quotage is from the latter. Note the multiculturalness of the names.

    Joining previously-announced Tony Award-winners Liev Schreiber in the title role and Jennifer Ehle as Lady Macbeth will be Joan MacIntosh, Ching Valdes-Aran, and Lynn Cohen as the Weird Sisters, Herb Foster as Duncan, Jacob Fishel as Malcolm, Pedro Pascal as Bloody Sergant/Murderer 2; Mark L. Montgomery as Lennox, Philip Goodwin as Ross, Teagle F. Bouegere as Banquo, Andrew McGinn as Angus/Murderer 1, Sterling K. Brown as Macduff, Sanjit De Silva as Donalbain, Graeme Malcolm as Seyton, Florencia Lozano as Lady Macduff, Tolan Aman as Boy. Seth Duerr, Amefika El-Amin, Stephanie Fieger, Hollie Hunt, Michael Markham, Lucas Near-Verbrugghe, and Clancy O'Connor will be featured in the ensemble.
    Ehle, who recently starred in the Old Vic production of The Philadelphia Story, Ehle is an acclaimed stage and screen actress. She won the 2000 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for the revival of Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing, and most recently appeared on Broadway in Design for Living. Her film credits include Possession, Sunshine and Wilde, but she is perhaps best known for playing Elizabeth Bennet in the wildly popular 1996 A&E/BBC miniseries of "Pride and Prejudice." She also won a BAFTA for her portrayal of the willful Austen heroine.

    The dates are being reported as June 13 to July 7 in the articles, whereas the Public Theatre site still says July 9.

    Romancing Rosemary

    The Retropolitan, on hotness transcending age:

    Apparently, one of the side-effects of Wellbutrin is that it makes you start thinking that Aunt May from the Spider-Man movies is actually pretty hot for an old woman. I’m gonna have to write a letter to make sure that this gets listed on the side of the bottle, because it’s a pretty shocking thing to have suddenly happen.

    Even though she’s almost eighty, I’d still slow dance with her. Buy her some flowers. Then we can have conversations about old time radio. I think I may have just found my dream girl.

    Or, should my May-December romance fail, it turns out that Rosemary Harris has an incredibly attractive daughter.

    She’s only ten years older than me, but I think we can make it work.

    Melissa DVD cover has the cover of the Melissa DVD due on June 12th. They also say that there will be an interview with Alan Bleasdale.

    ZetaMinor has a whole list of other vendors.

    Billed 4th? Bah.

    Pride and Prejudice DVD in French

    In March, a French-language dubbed version of Pride and Prejudice was released.

    Nice to see the enthusiasm and the war of adaptations aren't limited to the Anglophone world. (Rough trans only)

    Ayant vu la version télévisulle avant le film, je trouve au contraire que Jennifer Ehle correspond beaucoup mieux au personnage du roman de Jane Austen que l'actrice du film qui ressemble à une gamine mal dégrossie. Dans le roman le personnage d'Elisabeth n'est absolument pas une rebelle. Et la retenue des sentiments ressentis dans le livre est beaucoup mieux retranscrite dans le téléfilm. Le film au cinéma est beaucoup trop romantique par rapport au livre.

    Having seen the TV version before the film, I find on the contrary that Jennifer Ehle corresponds with the character in Austen's book much better than the actress in the film who resembles a scruffy kid. In the book, the character of Elizabeth is absolutely not a rebel. And the emotional restraint felt in the book is transcribed much better in the miniseries. The cinema version is much too romantic compared to the book.

    Je suis d'accord avec l'internaute précédent, Jennifer ehle s'inscrit parfaitement dans le personnage du roman, elle s'exprime de façon authentique et juste. Quant à Keira Knightley, elle est énervante et insuportable dans son rôle qui correspond davantage à celui de lydia . Le téléfilm est de toute façon brillant et ne supporte pas la comparaison avec ce film ridicule sans consistance, sorti dernièrement.

    I agree with the preceding commenter, Jennifer Ehle fits perfectly in the character of the book, she expresses herself in an authentic and accurate way...

    Comme les 2 internautes précédents, je trouve que le jeu de Jennifer Ehle reflete parfaitement l'esprit de l'oeuvre originale.

    Like the two preceding commenters, I find that Jennifer Ehle's performance perfectly reflects the spirit of the original work.

    Ravie de retrouver Colin Firth mais surtout la belle et lumineuse Jennifer Ehle, si rare à l'écran dans l'adaptation la plus juste des romans de Jane Austen ! Esperons que d'autres adaptations de la littérature anglaise suivront!!!

    Delighted to rediscover Colin Firth but especially the beautiful and luminous Jennifer Ehle, so rarely onscreen, in this most accurate adaptation of Jane Austen's novels! Let's hope that other adaptations of English literature will follow!

    There are however some complaints about the lack of subtitles, either in French or English. Though if you're reading this it's probably not a problem, right.

    Wednesday, May 17, 2006

    The Making of Pride and Prejudice

    From the book "The Making of Pride and Prejudice" by Sue Birtwistle and Susie Conklin. These are the Jennifer Ehle related bits that aren't available on the internet.

    Jennifer Ehle on learning the dialogue:

    "It's the hardest dialogue I've ever had to learn. Shakespeare is a doddle compared to Jane Austen. I think this is essentially because the sense of the line comes at the end of it and also the lines are much longer. When I get to the end of a sentence I usually say, "Oh, I see!" and then I have to go back and read it again. Sometimes the thoughts are quite convoluted - you do all these hairpin bends - so it takes some getting used to. But it's like anything - by the end I found it much easier to learn. It's like learning another language."

    Jennifer Ehle on why she wanted to play Elizabeth:

    "Elizabeth is such an incredible part. I first read the book when I was about 12, and it was the first grown-up romance or classic that I read. I had tried to read Wuthering Heights but couldn't understand it - the passion in that is very grown-up. With Pride and Prejudice, I was able to fall in love with both Darcy and with Lizzy. I didn't have any concept of being an actress at that time, so I didn't want to play Lizzy, I wanted to be her very much. In fact, I probably pretended I was for a couple of days.

    She's a wonderful role model. She's independent. She manages to be a free spirit in a society that doesn't encourage free-spiritedness, which is something that I think appeals to young women today because they can sympathize with her. So she's quite easy to identify with. I love her wit and her intelligence. There aren't that many female role models in literature or film who are as bright as she is. She is certainly no victim.

    It's so lovely to read a book by a woman that one is able to understand at the age of 12 and to know that it was written in 1813. You realize that you're not the first person to feel all those things. And it's wonderful to go through the fantasy of falling in love - it's so flirtatious and yet so safe; nothing really sexually threatening happens in it. It's a lovely fantasy to have.

    When I was called in for a screen test I had no idea how many other potential Elizabeths were being tested. I was so nervous, of course, but I really enjoyed it. I'm afraid the costume didn't help me much because it was far too small so the back wouldn't fasten and I had to have the microphone wire tied up round the middle! But the wig and make-up were a great help. I've never confessed this before, but I cheated a bit. I knew that everyone was worried about the fact that I am a blonde because they felt that Lizzy should be dark. So the night before the screen test, I dyed my eyebrows darker and deliberately didn't wash my hair that morning so it wouldn't look as fair. Everyone kept saying, "We didn't realize how dark your eyebrows were. It's great! You'll look fine in a darker wig!"

    I could tell things had gone well, but waiting to hear was an anxious couple of days. It was so exciting when my agent called to say that I'd been offered the part. My parents took me out to dinner to celebrate. I was the luckiest person in the world to be able to spend an entire summer being Elizabeth Bennet."

    About Jennifer Ehle's makeup and hair:

    "Because her hair is fair and was the wrong length we knew right away that we would have to wig her. We thought we'd have at least two wigs, so one could be prepared while the other was being used, but in fact we ended up with three. As she was going to be wearing a wig for five months, she decided that she wanted her own hair cut really short to make it more comfortable. But it made our job a lot more difficult because we didn't have any of her own hair to use to cover the nape of her neck where the wigs fitted. The front of the wigs would be relatively easy because they were knotted on to very fine lace, rather like the lace a ballet tutu is made of, but because of the shape of the head wigs don't fit in quite the same way at the back. I felt sorry for Philippa, who was in Jennifer's make-up artist, because there were a lot of nape shots in which the camera was shooting right up behind her ear. Philippa and I drew some sharp intakes of breath at various stages, but Rob Southam, the focus puller, who is married to a make-up artist, would always call us when he knew we needed to adjust things before a shot."

    Jennifer Ehle on the read-through:

    "The read-through was terrifying. I think I was the second person to arrive. Lucy Davis [Maria Lucas] was already there. I was paralyzed with fear for most of it. You are aware that everybody is going to be judging to a certain extent, and that's scary. And the way it was set up made me feel I was giving a performance. If I can, I will always sit in the very back corner, hidden away, but we had name cards, so it was impossible to do that. I would have read from the loo, I think, if I'd been allowed!"

    Jennifer Ehle and Elizabeth Bennet:

    "I was so excited when we first began filming. I knew I would only have five days off during the entire five months of shooting, as Elizabeth is in nearly every scene, but I didn't feel daunted by that at all. I learned the first month's worth of dialogue before we began. This made me feel secure and meant that I had time to get to know everyone rather than having to rush back to my hotel room every night to learn new lines.

    It took nearly two hours every day to get costumed and made-up, so my call times were always very early, between 5.30 and 6 a.m. Because time away from location became so precious, I got quicker and quicker at getting out of costume and make-up at the end of each day. I would often take the pins out of my hair as I sat in the bath.

    I thought I was the luckiest person in the world to spend an entire summer being Elizabeth Bennet. What a fantastic thing to do! But after ten weeks of filming, I felt exhausted. People would say encouragingly, "It's alright; we're halfway there," but suddenly I found it all terrifying. Elizabeth is a wonderful character, but it can make you go a bit loopy being someone else every day for a long period, especially if you are physically so different. Fortunately, at that point, we had a five-day rehearsal period in London, so the days were shorter and I could live at home. I just slept and slept whenever I could, and I built up the strength to face then next ten weeks. I learned to pace myself and rest when possible. I would sometimes fall asleep between set-ups, while the lighting was being changed. Unbelievably, I once even managed to nod off, sitting up, between the first and second takes of a shot!
    The last scene I had to shoot was the one with Lady Catherine de Bourgh. When it ended and Simon called, "cut!" I was in a state of shock. I couldn't believe it was all over. It had not been like acting in a play in the theatre for five months, because there you have a life of your own during the day. This had been five months away from everything normal - rather like being on a ship. It was good to get back to my own life, but I was sad too that it was finished. My summer as Elizabeth Bennet had been wonderful."

    New-found photo

    Here's a long-lost picture from Nothin' Like a Dame that hasn't been posted. If you want to see the larger image, go here. There are also lots of photos of Rosemary Harris available at that site.

    Tuesday, May 16, 2006


    Love it? Hate it? Looks weird in your browser? Have some suggestions? Any feedback via comments, tagboard, e-mail or pigeon would be much appreciated!

    Edit #1: apparently the redesign goes haywire when viewed in Internet Explorer. Please bear with us as we try to figure this out (any advice from people with CSS skills would be very helpful!).

    Meanwhile...tabbed browsing. You know you want it.

    Edit #2: alright, back to the old template while the new one is fixed. Here it is at our test blog if you want a look.
    Lesson: test before launch.

    Monday, May 15, 2006

    Pride and Prejudice anniversary DVD features

    Thanks to Meng from EhleNews for this. Amazon is allowing pre-orders for the 10th anniversary limited edition collector's set of Pride and Prejudice, due on September 26th. Unlike the UK anniversary DVD, it looks like this will actually feature different content from the old special edition version (the one with a making of feature sans Colin Firth or Jennifer Ehle). And yay, remastering!

    DVD Features:

    * Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
    * 10th Anniversary Limited Edition Collector's Set
    * Gold embossed green fabric slipcase
    * Newly remastered widescreen print
    * Bonus Disc Features:
    * Jane Austen BIOGRAPHY episode
    * An exclusive new retrospective documentary about the making of the classic series
    * A 120 page deluxe companion book The Making Of Pride and Prejudice
    * Interviews with cast and crew

    Wouldn't get my hopes up about new content with Ms Ehle, cos the "new retrospective documentary" might be the same as the Drama Connections one which you can view online. Hopefully, they might include the extended cast interviews that were cut out on the old DVD. We've posted before a video of her being interviewed about Lizzy. If you have access to the Perspectives on Pride and Prejudice educational set (try your uni/state/school library), that has the full footage with her.

    Oh look, turns out AustenBlog picked this up two months ago. Oopsies. Check out the first comment.

    Latest on Road to the Sky

    This is from someone who worked on the film.

    As far as I know, they haven't settled on a title yet. Jennifer plays the wife of Linus Roache's character, Henry Moores, who runs a tea plantation.

    I believe her character's name was changed to Laura (in previous drafts which were used during the casting process, the name was Fanny).

    As for the release dates, I doubt there is one. Last I heard, Santosh finished a rough cut and the producers (who have "Water" currently in theaters) seem very happy.

    Santosh is a talented cinematographer and the state of Kerala is lush. The film promises to be easy on the eyes.

    Cannot. Wait.
    Why yes, I am cheating. It's Monday in Russia ok.

    Sunday, May 14, 2006

    Mother's Day Special

    As it's Mother's Day, I thought this article about Jennifer Ehle and Rosemary Harris would be appropriate. It's from the TV Guide Insider. Must have been some time ago as it was soon after the Tony win.

    Life is just a bowl of cherries for actress Jennifer Ehle these days. She recently picked up a Tony Award for her riveting performance in The Real Thing, and her turn in the film Sunshine has "Oscar nomination" written all over it. Who knows? Maybe she'll compete with her own mother, Rosemary Harris, again. Ehle and Harris competed against each other at the Tonys and share the same role in the Ralph Fiennes drama but, Ehle tells TV Guide Online, she's not stalking her mother.
    "Istvan Szabo [the director] said to the casting director, 'I might want Jennifer Ehle [to play young Valerie],' and he said to Ralph, 'Do you have any ideas for the older Valerie?' And he said, 'What about Rosemary Harris?' Neither of them knew that we were mother and daughter at that point. The casting director said, 'You do realize they are somewhat related?'

    How do they deal with their complicated professional relationship? "We might be massively in denial but it does seem to work very well," Ehle says. "It did cross my mind, my God, what would a shrink say about all of this? She'd say, 'Where's your sense of identity?' But it doesn't seem to be a [problem] for either of us. It's lovely and wonderful."

    Ehle, who was born in North Carolina but raised in England, has resisted acting in America to save face, literally. "I've always been slightly weary of trying my hand here as an actress. I don't want to put myself in a position where I resent the years passing and aging and [then] cut my face open and inject."

    A Tony winner shouldn't have to do that!

    Friday, May 12, 2006

    Pick of the blogs

    Chez Chintz Cottage, a River King review.

    I spent the evening watching The River King, a slow-paced mystery starring Edward Burns and Jennifer Ehle. I liked it so much I may watch it again before I send it back to Netflix. Both Edward Burns and Jennifer Ehle are compelling actors. Based on a novel by Alice Hoffman, the writing is v. good, and there’s a lovely series of epiphanies at the end.

    And a non-partisan review of both versions of Pride and Prejudice from barbiedoll73's LJ.

    It was with much trepidation that I set about watching the film adaptations of Pride and Prejudice. I absolutely love the novel and feared a dry and long retelling with the 1997 Mini-series, and was even more suspicious of the most recent film. Hollywood has a such a penchant for ruining good stories, but after my father informed me that Pride and Prejudice was the best film he had seen this year, I added them both to my Netflix queue.

    Pride and Prejudice Mini-Series 1997
    This is not something that can be watched in an evening, unless you are capable of not moving for long periods of time, but it is definitely worth devoting a couple of nights to it.
    The story follows the book almost perfectly, but it is not a dry, page by page retelling. The actors are cast perfectly, and they all bring such life and believability to their characters. Jane Austen's wonderful and clever dialog is so fresh and delivered so well that it is hard to believe the book was first published in 1813 (almost 200 years ago!). From his safe, Austen-free study, B kept asking me what was going on, because I literally kept laughing out loud. Some of the best lines are Mr. Bennet's:

    "You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. They are my old friends. I have heard you mention them with consideration these twenty years at least."

    "You and the girls may go, or you may send them by themselves, which perhaps will be still better, for as you are as handsome as any of them, Mr. Bingley might like you the best of the party."

    "You forced me into visiting him last year, and promised if I went to see him, he should marry one of my daughters. But it ended in nothing, and I will not be sent on a fool's errand again."

    My only complaint was with the casting of Mr. Wickham and Mr. Collins. The actors played the parts well, but I really pictured Mr. Wickham as being much more handsome. Especially for Elizabeth Bennet to favor him over Mr. Darcy (his personality isn't that great, all he has is some sob story about how Mr. Darcy slighted him, I suppose I just pictured him being at least as good looking as Mr. Darcy, otherwise, what else does he have to offer?). I just kept telling myself that, at that time, in England maybe he was considered better looking... Mr. Collins was just over the top horrible. His long speeches and endless talk of Rosings and Lady Catherine were spot on, and certainly enough to make him completely disagreeable. He was just so greasy and unattractive - who wouldn't turn down his marriage proposal? All though I was amused by the giggles and exasperation he produced in the Bennet girls:
    "Lord yes, he's threatened to dance with us all."

    Jennifer Ehle is perfectly cast as Elizabeth Bennet. Her face is so expressive - you know exactly what she is thinking without her saying a word. And Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy... I suppose I need not say anything, except that I have developed quite a crush...

    Best for last...Zoomeister. Too bad she's already spoken for.

    Coming soon, my hilarious campaign to get Jennifer Ehle to marry me. Put more simply, a load of letters i'm going to make up for a big laugh. I shall be putting on my best writing hat, so jimmy me lord!

    Abby Tierney wrapped?

    This is from molassey the Pride and Glory insider:

    I think her part is mostly, if not completely, done filming. I know Jon Voight is finished filming as well. If she comes up again, I'll be sure to post it.

    R1 Pride and Prejudice anniversary DVD

    The North American edition of the Pride and Prejudice 10th anniversary DVD is due in September 2006, according to Deep Discount DVD. Thanks to Pinky from EhleNews for the tip.

    Thursday, May 11, 2006

    Sunshine on Buffalo telly

    This falls into the time-critical category.

    11:30 PM [5] "Sunshine" ('99) Ralph Fiennes, Rosemary Harris. Three generations of a Jewish family are caught up in the successive political upheavals affecting their native Hungary. (CC) (2:00) 98879

    I'm guessing this means Sunshine is on Channel 5 today in Buffalo and environs.

    Wednesday, May 10, 2006

    And looky again!!

    How cool are these! Click to embiggen as always.

    Best Look Ever methinks.

    Stills from Melissa, Self Catering, and Pleasure

    Since it's near impossible to get your hands on the latter two; Self Catering and Pleasure, here are some stills available at the Diplomat Films website.


    Self Catering:


    There are also synopses of each production:
    Melissa, Self Catering, Pleasure

    Tuesday, May 09, 2006


    It's a Tuesday, but just had to show off this new absolutely loverly picture! Click to see it bigger.

    Thanks a million to the sender!

    Monday, May 08, 2006

    Rest for the wicked

    Alrighty. Starting today, Monday 8th, we're going to post every second day, not every day. That is: every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday. If there's time-critical news on the days in between, we'll still post it up. Or if there's lots of blog fodder, or if we feel like it. But only the aforementioned days are guaranteed.

    Why the change? There just isn't new news every day (at least now - we expect June to be busy), and there's a finite, diminishing store of old news, and we have degrees to pass. This doesn't mean our loyalty's waning! We'll still be keeping an eye on the mass media for any signs of big news.

    However, just a single additional editor would allow the daily blogging to continue. So if you're interested, please, pretty please, email us at

    Land Breakers progress

    Those of you that are fans of John Ehle's work might be interested in keeping track of the Press 53 blog. It seems like they're providing regualrish updates on publishing The Land Breakers.

    Harper Lee called Sheryl last Saturday to tell her she just received her copy of The Land Breakers and was looking forward to reading it again. Ms. Lee wanted to make sure she still had time to write her blurb for Mr. Ehle. Sheryl assured her that she had plenty of time and we will wait patiently for her response.
    Sheryl and I spent yesterday at her house proofreading the first three chapters of The Land Breakers. Twenty-four to go.

    PEERS reviews Pride and Prejudice

    What's a Jennifer Ehle blog without any Pride and Prejudice references? This review brought to you by the Period Events & Entertainments Re-creation Society.

    The greatest problem with screen adaptations of Austen’s novels is that the screenplay tends to concentrate on the romance and to ignore the irony and wit. But in Langton’s Pride and Prejudice much of the ironic wit of Jane Austen’s dialogue and narration survives intact - along with the most romantic "realistic" love story ever written.

    Elizabeth Bennett (Jennifer Ehle ) has a wonderfully expressive face and a deliciously wicked wit; in this production she’s very much her father’s daughter, ironically leading fools and rogues on with a straight face - and watching with relish as they make fools of themselves. Her later conversations with Wickham and Mr. Collins are worthy of Mr. Bennett himself.

    Colin Firth is a reserved but dangerous and sexually magnetic Darcy - quite a Byronic characterization. We see him fencing like Basil Rathbone ("I will conquer this" he murmurs to himself), intimidating Wickham with a glance, and forcing a door open that the infamous governess Mrs. Young tries to shut in his face. This is not a man to cross. And his verbal duels with Elizabeth are electric.

    And, for once, almost everyone seems well-cast. Mr. Bingley (Crispin Bonham-Carter) has more charm and more backbone than one usually sees (He’s furious with Darcy when he learns of the intrigue to separate him from Jane). Jane herself (Susannah Harker) looks like a touchingly vulnerable Helen of Troy. Not inappropriately, Mr. Collins resembles Rowan Atkinson’s Blackadder in both appearance and manner. The Gardiners are very convincing as a genteel middle class couple with far more refinement than most of the gentry in the story. Masterpiece Theatre viewers will recognize former ingenue Joanna David playing a youthful Mrs. Gardener with real rapport with her favorite niece Elizabeth. The really pleasant surprise is Lydia (Julia Sawalha, better known as Saffie from Absolutely Fabulous) who, for once, is played exactly as Jane Austen wrote her - as a voluptuous teenager keenly enjoying her own seduction.

    And a few interesting historical inaccuracies:
    Elizabeth and Darcy look so graceful executing their pas de boureé step while verbally sparring in "Easter Thursday" that one can almost forgive the inaccuracy of the choreography (In reality, in Jane Austen’s time only the first couple is active at the beginning of the dance!).

    ...Elizabeth and Mr. Collins should not have been first couple in the opening dance of Mr. Bingley’s ball. That honor of opening the ball belongs to the lady of highest precedence in the room who chooses to dance (In this case, probably Charlotte Lucas, the eldest daughter of a knight), and Elizabeth would never stand above her beloved elder sister Jane in an opening dance. The lovely country dance music and "incidental" party music is all period, but the bluestocking Mary would not have needed to bring her sheet music nor would the Italian songs have been sung in translation.

    Sunday, May 07, 2006

    Behind-the-scenes of The River King

    Whitetiger76 from Livejournal was an extra on The River King, and gives us some behind-the-scenes action. Alas, not including Ms Ehle but still interesting!
    Ok so for people who don't know I was in a hollywood film called The River King. It hasn't come out in theatres yet but it will. I have a close up in it....if it didn't make the cutting room floor. lol

    Here is the movie page so far: THE RIVER KING MOVIE Ok there is one thing I want to show you...because Rachelle Lefevre played a couple pranks/jokes on me! So here is a replay of the scene I did. (she looked like this. This was taken on the day we did the scene) *Picture above*
    ME: "oh my god...oh my god....look at her hair." *speaks to my twin making fun of her* (all this is slient on camera)

    During one of the takes she put her middle finger up and the cast/crew started laughing their asses off. I was like "don't laugh....don't laugh...can't laugh"

    yeah end of story. If you read this Rachelle Lefevre I will get you back........for all the pranks you pulled on me while on set. (that is if i ever see you again. GAME ON)

    Your favourite quotes

    Here at, they have two Jennifer Ehle quotes:
    “Half of this award should go to my wigs [1996 BAFTA Awards talking about her wigs]”

    “I remember when we were about to make our version of Pride and Prejudice, there were so many letters to The Times and other newspapers saying how dare the BBC spend money on remaking this when the definitive film version already exists with Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson. So you never know. Nobody owns Pride and Prejudice. It's out there in the public domain, and it's good that people are taking a fresh look at it.”

    Best part is, you can get them printed on a t-shirt, jersey, cap, even a teddy bear, and more!
    Oh, and choose the colour and size!

    Saturday, May 06, 2006

    Macbeth Showtimes

    From the New York Times, here are the first five shows of Macbeth playing in June.

    Opening Date: Jun. 13, 2006
    Closing Date: Jul. 9, 2006

    Next Five Shows:
    Jun. 13, 2006 8:00 p.m.
    Jun. 14, 2006 8:00 p.m.
    Jun. 15, 2006 8:00 p.m.
    Jun. 16, 2006 8:00 p.m.
    Jun. 17, 2006 8:00 p.m.

    Public Theater - Delacorte Theater
    Central Park
    New York, NY 10024

    Ticket Price: Free
    Ticket Information: Tickets required; pick up day of show at 1PM at Delacorte Theater or Public Theater Box Office

    Firth's encounter with PM

    From a Times article about Colin Firth, here's a little encounter story he had with Tony Blair while he was watching Ms Ehle in The Real Thing.

    "It’s years now since Darcymania subsided, but the old wariness is intact. Quite recently he and Livia went to the theatre—Sam Mendes’s Donmar Warehouse, to be precise—to see The Real Thing, starring, as it happened, Jennifer Ehle, who was Lizzie Bennet to Firth’s Mr Darcy (a relationship that extended off screen). Who should the Firths find themselves sitting next to but those quondam Islingtonians, Mr and Mrs Blair. Firth says that, before the lights went down, he could just feel the eyes of the entire audience waiting for the two parties to acknowledge each other. You sense that he would happily have curled up and died."

    Friday, May 05, 2006

    Bridget Jones quote

    I'd heard that there was some reference to Jennifer Ehle in Bridget Jones' Diary but never saw it quoted until now, in this analysis by Cecilia Salber.

    The difficulty in separating the real, that is, the Austenian prototype, from the imagined appears again when Bridget confronts the real life affair between the Pride and Prejudice costars Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle:

    "I stumbled upon a photograph in the Standard of Darcy and Elizabeth, hideous, dressed as modern-day luvvies, draped all over each other in a meadow: she with blond Sloane hair, and linen trouser suit, he in striped polo neck and leather jacket with a rather unconvincing moustache. Apparently they are already sleeping together. That is absolutely disgusting. Feel disoriented and worried, for surely Mr. Darcy would never do anything so vain and frivolous as to be an actor and yet Mr. Darcy is an actor. Hmmm. All v. confusing."

    The photo at the bottom of this page sort of fits the description.

    Saving the Alpha Male clip

    Someone on IMDB has just posted instructions about how to save the Alpha Male clip to your computer, instead of having to watch it embedded in your browser.

    The solution is to open this link in Netscape:

    This is the link to the embedded "object".

    You may have to wait for the whole clip to load before you can download it. Once the clip has loaded, click on the down arrow button on the lower right corner of the movie window. Then select "Save as Quicktime Movie". The filename will be something that doesn't look like a movie filename. You can change it to "" so it can play with Quicktime.

    In future, you can get these embedded links yourself by using netscape's "Page Info" feature from the "View" drop-down menu. When the page info window opens, go to the "media" tab and look for the line that has the URL for the embedded object. Go to that URL and you can either download the result after it loads, or if it's even further embedded, repeat the page info process until you get to the root.

    I've found that in Firefox you can save by clicking on the link above and waiting until the file loads (warning, it's 16mb). Then go to "File > Save page as" and save the page with a .mov name.

    Thursday, May 04, 2006

    Extra Ebay stuff

    You can bid on The River King- it's at 99c currently.

    Here's Metrolife Magazine 2005 with an interview with Jennifer Ehle in which she talks about The Philadelphia Story.

    "Fiennes, Ehle, Harris Play Across Generations in Sunshine"

    This article is from
    Three Tony Award winning Broadway stars -- Ralph Fiennes (Hamlet), Jennifer Ehle (The Real Thing) and Rosemary Harris (A Delicate Balance) -- play the leads in Istvan Szabo's $25 million epic film drama, Sunshine, opening Friday, June 9.

    Running more than three hours, Sunshine spans four generations of a Jewish family and covers the entire 20th century that saw two world wars, the rise and fall of a monarchy, fascist dictatorships and the communist regime in Hungary.

    Set primarily in Budapest, the film traces the partilineage of the Sonnenschein family through grandfather, father and son, all of whom are played by Ralph Fiennes. The first is Ignatz, a judge who changes his Jewish name to advance his career. The second is his son, Adam, who converts to Catholicism to win a spot on the fencing team and dies in the Holocaust. The grandson is Ivan, who joins the Communist secret police to avenge his father's death.

    Mother-daughter actors Harris and Ehle both play Ignatz's wife Valerie. Originally called The Taste of Sunshine, the film is a huge saga about a Hungarian-Jewish clan locked in a camouflage battle with history. Along the way, the life of each man played by Fiennes is complicated by an illicit romance.

    Directed and written by Szabo (Academy Award winner for Mephisto and Colonel Redl), the film's screenplay was co-written by American playwright Israel Horowitz.

    "It's a wonderful, wonderful film that opened at the Toronto Film Festival," Harris told "My daughter Jennifer Ehle and I play the same role. She plays the first 40 years, and I play the next 40 years of the same part. Ralph Fiennes plays three parts. William Hurt is also in the film."

    Harris and Ehle previously played across the generations in the 1992 British television drama The Chamomile Lawn.

    "At the same time that Istvan was thinking about me for Valerie," Ehle told Newsday. "He asked Ralph who should be the older Valerie. And he's alleged to have said, 'What about Rosemary Harris?' And they hadn't known we were mother and daughter."

    With music by Maurice Jarre, the stories in Sunshine parallel the experience of the Jewish middle-class in Central Europe from the decline and fall of the Habsburg Empire to the aftermath of the Hungarian revolution of 1956. It is both historical and artistic.

    "I've always been selective of the films I take on," Harris said. "Film is the lazy way out of acting. It's not nearly as hard work as the stage. I also have a family. I have a daughter who I adore, and I never wanted to be just an actress. I wanted to be a mother first and an actress second. So I was always putting my family first. My husband, Johnny, is a writer. He was able to take a pad and pencil, and we would put Jennifer in our pockets and go off and do a project."

    Likewise, Szabo has said in interviews that Sunshine centers on the family: "It started in my mind with how in the whole of Middle Europe, not just Hungary, people's private lives have been influenced by history and politics. I wanted to tell the story of one family and how their whole life is deeply affected by the various movements in Europe. All human beings seek out a sense of comfort in their lives and in the last 150 years we have faced enormous challenges and difficulties which threaten our safety and that can lead to losing ourselves. So I wrote this story, showing how these supposedly different regimes -- be they an Empire, a republic or a foreign dictatorship -- have put individuals under pressure.

    "All regimes promise happiness," Szabo continued, "but dreadful things have happened in that name. Authority uses people. When it no longer needs them, it throws them away or destroys them. This enormous experience is only the experience of the 20th century. It is extraordinary that in one life, say that of my grandfather, a man could experience the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Nazi and the Communist Regime. Instead of showing one life through different ages, I thought it might be more profound to tell the story through three generations. I therefore created three characters - a grandfather, a father and a son - all at similar ages. I always knew that I wanted one actor to play the three parts, of Ignatz, Adam and Ivan and so I asked Ralph Fiennes to create these for me."

    Fiennes said he wanted to work with Szabo because he is a fan of Mephisto and Colonel Redl: "The script works on so many levels. Not only is it a story of personal relationships across three generations, but it is set against a very specific historical and social background of Hungary from the turn of the century through until the 1960's. It is deeply humane without being sentimental. It is as rich as any great novel and it is all from Istvan Szabo who is an extraordinary human being."

    In the press packet, Fiennes describes Ignatz as "a lawyer who wants to be accepted as a member of the establishment of Hungary. He is a middle class Jew who wants to be assimilated successfully; he wants to feel the safety of the Establishment and the legal system. The infrastructure of the Empire is what gives him his raison-d'etre, to the point of neglecting the woman he loves.

    By contrast, his son Adam is an Olympic athlete. "He lives through his body, he's a championship top athletic fencer and his motivation is to succeed as an athlete," Fiennes said. "He too wants to be assimilated, but he's a physical man and has the linear vision of any sportsman. He is blind to social change, to the rise of Fascism, so in one sense he is quite limited. But in another he is the most romantic because he is a bit of a swashbuckler."

    Ivan, Adam's son and Igantz's grandson, may be the most complex. "Ivan is the most crippled and wounded psychologically by seeing his father murdered in a concentration camp," Fiennes said. "He's the most conflicted; he has literally no roots. He comes out of the war with a kind of Messianic determination to fight for Communism and take revenge on the Fascists. It's only when he sees the corruption of the Communist Regime and recognizes it as the same mindless corruption as Totalitarianism that he is able to make a change. He does it in the most fundamental way, by changing back to his family name."

    Sunshine also stars Rachel Weisz (The Mummy, Chain Reaction), Deborah Kara Unger (The Hurricane, Crash), Molly Parker (Kissed, The Five Senses), James Frain (Elizabeth, Hilary & Jackie) and Academy Award winner William Hurt (Children of a Lesser God, Broadcast News).

    Wednesday, May 03, 2006

    525 600

    Forget sunsets and cups of coffee, this is how you measure a year in a life: 365 days of daily posting, 800-odd posts, about 61 000 visits and 147 000 page views, far too many Google/eBay/Factiva/blog searches and reviews, countless emails and PM's and forum posts, thousands of pointy brackets, much shameless publicity, one spectacular interview, equal parts stress and squeeing, much goodwill received from many quarters, new skills learned, new friends made across the country and the world.

    Yes, dear readers, it has been exactly one year since this blog was born. And what an amazing ride it's been! Permit me to get a bit Oscars-acceptance-speechy on you and thank some of those who have helped keep this thing afloat:

  • Chelsea, fabulous co-conspirator, without whom this blog and probably my sanity would've collapsed long ago.
  • Mary, Sands and Evelyn, for their friendship and support.
  • Everyone who has sent in tips and photos, or shared their reviews and stories. Notably Josie, who has sent a whopping number of photos. Thanks also to those who have answered our questions.
  • The folk of other fandoms who have put up with our pot-banging, such as Pemberley and various Kevin Spacey and Colin Firth sites.
  • People who have helped backstage, particularly the crew of Colin Firth 24-7.
  • All our readers, especially those who have written to encourage us. We really appreciate it!
  • Last but certainly not least, the blog's raison d'être. For her unprecedented generosity, for being the inspiration for all this, and for her work which continues to move and entertain after countless reviewings.

  • Now to the future. When the blog was first created, the goal was to keep up daily posts for a whole year. Not exactly an easy task. So with this anniversary past, we'll be reviewing our posting frequency. Nothing has been decided yet but most likely we'll still guarantee regular posting, just not every single day. Many hands make light work however, so we're renewing our appeal for anyone interested in being a co-editor. You only need to be enthusiastic and committed to a couple of days a week; the technical side is fairly easy. Drop a line to if you're up for it or have any questions. It's good fun, promise.

    Here's to another year of sharing Jennifer Ehle news then!

    Camomile Lawn DVD review

    This is the first review for the Region 1 Camomile Lawn DVD, from Metronews.

    The Camomile Lawn
    Acorn/Paradox DVD box set
    *** 1 / 2 (out of five)

    This 1992 miniseries adaptation of Mary Wesley's novel is set mostly in wartime Britain, a world recognizable from movies and TV — ration books and bomb shelters, cardboard gas mask cases, air raid wardens, blackout curtains, black markets and last, desperate leaves before heading into battle.

    The overdue innovation was to show how war and death changed society, and young people, irrevocably. There's a case to be made that the sexual revolution didn't begin in the '60s with a demographic bulge of restless young people, but 20 years earlier with their parents, eagerly seeking out love, sex and comfort with the reasonable certainty that they might not be alive to deal with the consequences.

    Jennifer Ehle and Tara Fitzgerald play cousins who watch the complacent moral certainties of the upper middle classes, in which they've been confidently raised, get shredded under the pressures of war. Ehle's Calypso, the beauty of their circle, admits that she loves the war — the thrill and adventure, the abundance of young men in uniform, the sense of life being lived to its fullest. Her quieter cousin Polly (Fitzgerald) also "liberates" herself in the new wartime society, discovering that she's in love with twin brothers, who seem content to share her.

    Almost everyone, in fact, ends up breaking away from social convention by the time the first bombs of the Blitz start dropping, including the girls' aunt Helena and her stuffy husband Richard, whose marriage becomes a very open one after they swap partners with a Jewish refugee couple. Almost all of the characters inhabit a world where breeding and manners are supposed to compensate for pathological rudeness and self-centredness, a tone that Kenneth Taylor captures very nicely from Wesley's novel. While it might be hard to sympathize with Wesley's characters — Calypso is particularly heartless — the truth of her depiction of life during wartime is hard to deny.

    Rick McGinnis/Metro Toronto

    Harper Lee to blurb Land Breakers?

    This is from Press 53, an independent publisher which is going to reprint John Ehle's book The Land Breakers. It's due sometime in June/July.

    I think this is the same event as the one reported below - the "really beautiful, and funny passage" must be from Last One Home. Here's a little photo of Mr Ehle doing the reading.

    Sheryl and I attended a fundraiser last night for the North Carolina Writers' Network, where John Ehle and his wife, actress Rosemary Harris, we[re] the guests of honor. Mr. Ehle treated everyone by reading a passage from Last One Home. This event took place the day after Mr. Ehle's book, The Land Breakers, was selected by the Forsyth County Public Library for their community reading program, On the Same Page, which will take place this fall. Sheryl and I are very excited about all the readings, discussions and other programs during this five-week celebration.

    After Mr. Ehle read last night, I followed by honoring him by reading three of the blurbs we've collected from other well-known writers: Ron Rash (Appalachian Writers Association’s Book of the Year Award for his novel One Foot in Eden), Pinckney Benedict (Dogs of God), and Robert Morgan (Oprah pick, Gap Creek). What I couldn't read, and what I am only going to mention here until we actually receive the blurb, is that Harper Lee ("To Kill a Mockingbird") has promised to also write a blurb for our reissue of The Land Breakers. Sheryl has spoken to Ms. Lee by phone three times; she and Mr. Ehle are old friends. Now it seems that she and Sheryl are becoming good friends. I have not had the honor of speaking to Ms. Lee, which will teach me to be the one taking notes next time Mr. Ehle pulls out his address book.

    Tuesday, May 02, 2006

    Bits and Bobs

    This Live Journal-er met Rosemary Harris and John Ehle at an event that she attended.
    Last night I went to this reading sponsored by the North Carolina Writer's Association that Dr. Zehr invited me and Miriam to. Cindia forced me to wear makeup, and she did my eyes, which was totally unneccessary and stressful. But at least I didn't get poked this time.

    The event was...strange. It was in somebody's loft, which I didn't expect, but they were rich and I was afraid to touch anything. Fifty bucks a head and they only had two cheese platters and three bottles of wine (of which I didn't get any.) And then we had to mingle and crap...and I'm really bad at that. No networking skills here. A few people asked if I was an author, to which I answered, "Um...kind of?"

    It was awkward, to say the least. But John Ehle read a really beautiful, and funny passage. I don't know what the book was called. But that part was enjoyable.

    And Rosemary Harris shook my hand.

    An excited Ryan recieved Rosemary Harris' autograph
    I was really hoping this would come through. I wrote to Rosemary at "The Other Side", a Broadway play she was doing. It wrapped up a few weeks ago and when I didn't have a success by then I was skeptical about possibly getting one. But there was no need to worry. Today my "Spider-man 2" photo and the index card I sent her to sign, both came back signed & personalized. I understand "Spider-man 3" is filming now so I'm sure very soon Rosemary will be filming her scenes as "Aunt May" for the movie.

    And the Live Journal-er on Vaguely Alive was shocked to see Jennifer Ehle's hair in This Year's Love.
    I say. Blonde Jennifer Ehle=v.scary. No, really. But even scarier is blonde, dreadlock-ed Jennifer Ehle. ::shudders:: Will now watch Elizabeth Bennet version for awhile to calm frazzled nerves. Guh.

    Monday, May 01, 2006

    Source of pride

    Tatiana Siegel's article for Reuters/Hollywood Reporter is probably the source of the gazillions of reports about Ms Ehle replacing Samantha Morton a couple of days ago. The text is excerpted in Chelsea's post below. These gazillions are all essentially the same so we're not posting them, but it's heartening to see how widely reported this news is.

    Witch Child clips

    Posted this ages ago but the link has moved. This Realplayer clip of Witch Child from BooksOnTape also extracts a different part of the audiobook, I believe, starting from the beginning.