The Official Website of Stephenie Meyer
January 21, 2013
Such exciting news! Hooray for Fickle Fish Films!
SONY PICTURES WORLDWIDE ACQUISITIONS BUYS AUSTENLAND IN A WORLDWIDE DEAL WITH SONY PICTURES CLASSICS TO DISTRIBUTE FILM IN NORTH AMERICA
Park City, UT (January 21, 2013) — In its first purchase of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (SPWA) today picked up worldwide rights to AUSTENLAND with Sony Pictures Classics (SPC) to domestically distribute the film. The film played to exuberant sold-out crowds in Park City since its Eccles premiere last Friday. The deal was negotiated by SPWA's Michael Helfand (Executive Vice President, Business Affairs), Joe Matukewicz (Senior Vice President, Acquisitions) and Jon Freedberg (Vice President, Business Development) with UTA Independent Film Group co-head Rena Ronson and Jim Meenaghan and Irwin M. Rappaport on behalf of the filmmakers.
Produced by Twilight creator Stephenie Meyer in association with Moxie Pictures, AUSTENLAND stars Keri Russell (Waitress), who plays a woman obsessed with the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice and travels to a Jane Austen theme park in search for her perfect gentlemen. Rounding out the cast are Jennifer Coolidge, Jane Seymour, JJ Feild and Bret McKenzie.
AUSTENLAND marks the directorial debut for Jerusha Hess (co-writer, Napoleon Dynamite), who also serves as writer on the project along with Shannon Hale, who's novel of the same name provided the basis for the screenplay.
In a statement from Sony Pictures Classics, "We love this movie. It announces the birth of a major filmmaker and Stephenie Meyer is truly a force of nature. We look forward to bringing AUSTENLAND to American audiences."
"We loved making this movie and were fortunate enough to screen it at Sundance," said producer Stephenie Meyer and director Jerusha Hess in a joint statement. "The fact that Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions and Sony Pictures Classics has chosen to distribute AUSTENLAND is beyond our wildest dreams—they treat their films with the utmost care, and we are thrilled to be associated with such a prestigious distributor."
Stephenie Meyer and Jerusha Hess are represented at UTA.
ABOUT SONY PICTURES WORLDWIDE ACQUISITIONS
Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (SPWA) is a Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) company. SPE is a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE's global operations encompass motion picture production and distribution; television production and distribution; digital content creation and distribution; worldwide channel investments; home entertainment acquisition and distribution, operation of studio facilities; development of new entertainment products, services and technologies; and distribution of filmed entertainment in more than 159 countries. Sony Pictures Entertainment can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.sonypictures.com.
November 29, 2012
Are you sitting down? Two post in one week! New record!
Happy, exciting news! The little indie film I produced two summers ago —Austenland— was just accepted into Sundance Film Festival! All of us who were involved are thrilled and can't wait to share it.
February 11, 2012
Have you ever read a book and thought to yourself, "This would be a great movie! I would love to see a movie of this story"?
That is exactly how Austenland the movie got started for me. My good pal Shannon sent me her first adult novel (by which I mean not written for children; sometimes people misunderstand that description), and I loved it. It was funny and romantic and I could see it all so clearly. What a great movie it would be. Shannon and I talked about how much fun it would be to take a video camera to England and film it ourselves, possibly using sock puppets for actors. We agreed that we would do so in ten years.
And then the lovely Jerusha Hess called Shannon to talk about directing a screen adaptation of one of her novels, and one thing led to another. And so, as some of you already knew, I've spent the last many months working on a little indie film called Austenland, based on the novel by Shannon Hale. It's really something to be intimately involved with a movie from the conception on through the filming and editing, and quite an education, too, with still more to learn as we get into post production now. Working with an author, rather than being the author, was a fun change. It helped that the author in question was my bestie.
Shannon and I on the set of Austenland with some of our actors.
I have to say, while certainly dramas can be equally enjoyable as comedies in the viewing, comedies are so much more fun to film. Nothing makes a night shoot bearable like constantly laughing yourself into hysterics.
Our cast was unbelievably funny—I'm sure most of you are familiar with Jennifer Coolidge's superlative comedic talent, and if you've seen Flight of the Conchords then you are already a little bit in love with funny, funny Bret McKenzie. (Congrats on the well-deserved Oscar nomination, Bret! I've got all my fingers and toes crossed for "Man or Muppet"!) I was really behind the times—this was my first exposure to James Callis, Georgia King, and Ricky Whittle, who I truly love, because they make me laugh. A lot.
At the heart of all this hilarity is the heroine of our story, sweet, lovable Keri Russell—whom I've been devoted to ever since Waitress, well, no, it goes all the way back to Felicity, really—and dreamy JJ Field, our resident Mr. Darcy. To top it all off, Jane Seymour plays our gorgeously frosty hostess.
Yes, it's pretty hard not to enjoy all of that. And it didn't hurt that I got to live in the English countryside for a summer, looking at this sort of thing all day long:
Stunning West Wycombe Manor, which doubled as our Pembroke Park.
One of the highlights of working on this particular movie was being part of Jerusha Hess's debut as a director. Jerusha is one half of the Napoleon Dynamite/Nacho Libre/Gentleman Broncos duo, which her husband Jared directed. She is brilliant and hilarious, and I think she brought both qualities to this mad fantasy world that I'm dying to visit in real life. That's the real bottom line here. I want an Austenland resort to exist. Bad. Can somebody get on that for me?
It's still going to be a while before Austenland makes its way toward theaters, but I will be sure to let you know when it gets close. In the meantime, here's a fun article from Screen Daily: www.screendaily.com/austenland/5037223.article