Emma (1996 theatrical film)
Conception and adaptation
Douglas McGrath "fell in love" with Jane Austen's 1815 novel '' Emma'', while he was an undergraduate at Princeton University. He believed the book would make a great film, but it was not until a decade later that he was given a chance to work on the idea. After receiving an Academy Award nomination in 1995 for his work on '' Bullets Over Broadway'', McGrath decided to make the most of the moment and took his script idea for a film adaptation of ''Emma'' to Miramax Films. McGrath had initially wanted to write a modern version of the novel, set on the Upper East Side of New York City. Miramax's co-chairman, Harvey Weinstein, liked the idea of a contemporary take on the novel. McGrath was unaware that Amy Heckerling's '' Clueless'' was already in production, until plans for ''Emma'' were well underway.
McGrath decided to bring in American actress Gwyneth Paltrow to audition for Emma Woodhouse, after a suggestion from his agent and after seeing her performance in '' Flesh and Bone''. Of his decision to bring Paltrow in for the part, McGrath revealed "The thing that actually sold me on her playing a young English girl was that she did a perfect Texas accent. I know that wouldn't recommend her to most people. I grew up in Texas, and I have never heard an actor or actress not from Texas sound remotely like a real Texan. I knew she had theater training, so she could carry herself. We had many actresses, big and small, who wanted to play this part. The minute she started the read-through, the very first line, I thought, 'Everything is going to be fine; she's going to be brilliant.'" Following the read through, the co-chairman of Miramax, Harvey Weinstein, decided to give ''Emma'' the green-light. However, he wanted Paltrow to appear in '' The Pallbearer'' first, before going ahead and allowing the film to be made. While she recovered from wisdom-tooth surgery, Paltrow had a month to herself do her own research for the part. She also studied horsemanship, dancing, singing, archery and the "highly stylized" manners and dialect during a three-week rehearsal period.
Jeremy Northam revealed that when he first tried to read ''Emma'', he did not get very far and was not a fan. When he read the script for the film, he was initially considered for another role, but he wanted to play George Knightley. He stated "When I met the director, we got on very well and we talked about everything except the film. At the end of it, he said he thought Knightley was the part for me, so I didn't have to bring up the issue at all." Northam added that Knightley's faith in Emma becoming a better person was one of the reasons he loved the character. Australian actress Toni Collette was cast as Harriet Smith. Collette also struggled to get into the Austen books when she was younger, but after reading ''Emma'', which she deemed "warm and witty and clever", she began to appreciate them more. Collette had to gain weight to portray "the Rubenesque Harriet" and she explained "I think it's important for people to look real in films. There's a tendency to go Barbie doll and I don't agree with that at all."
Ewan McGregor was cast as Frank Churchill. He told Adam Higginbotham from '' The Guardian'' that he chose to star in ''Emma'' because he thought it would be something different from his previous role in '' Trainspotting''. McGregor later regretted appearing in the film, saying "My decision-making was wrong. It's the only time I've done that. And I learnt from it, you know. So I'm glad of that - because it was early on and I learnt my lesson. It's a good film, ''Emma'', but I'm just... not very good in it. I'm not helped because I'm also wearing the world's worst wig. It's quite a laugh, checking that wig out." Real-life mother and daughter, Phyllida Law and Sophie Thompson, portrayed Mrs and Miss Bates. Thompson revealed that it was a coincidence that she and her mother were cast alongside each other, as the casting director had their names on separate lists. McGrath initially believed Thompson to be too young to play Miss Bates, but he changed his mind after seeing her wearing glasses with her hair down.
Alan Cumming appeared as Reverend Elton, who falls in love with Emma. Cumming wrote on his official website that the friendship that developed between himself and McGrath was one of the most memorable things about his time working on the film. He went on to state that the worst thing about the shoot was his hair, which had been lightened and curled for the character. Juliet Stevenson portrayed the "ghastly" Mrs Elton, while Polly Walker and Greta Scacchi starred as Jane Fairfax and Anne Taylor respectively. Other cast members included Edward Woodall as Robert Martin, James Cosmo as Mr Weston and Denys Hawthorne as Mr. Woodhouse, in one of his last film appearances.
British costume designer Ruth Myers created and designed the clothing for the film. She wanted to mirror the lightness of the script within the costumes and give "a spark of color and life" to the early 19th century setting. During her research, Myers noted a similarity between the fashions after the Napoleonic Wars and the 1920s, saying that they had "the same sort of flapperish quality". The designer explained "The moment I set to research it, more and more it kept striking me what the similarities were between the two periods. It was a period of freedom of costume for women, and it was a period of constant diversions for the upper classes–picnics, dinners, balls, dances. What I wanted to do was make it look like the watercolors of the period, which are very bright and very clear, with very specific colors."
Myers went on to reveal that she did not want the costumes to have a "heavy English look" and instead she wanted "to get the freedom of bodies that you see in all the drawings, the form of the body underneath, the swell of the breasts." Myers told Barbara De Witt from the '' Los Angeles Daily News'' that using pastel-colored clothing to get the watercolor effect was one of her major challenges during the production. The designer was later criticised for being inaccurate, but she stated that she did not want the costumes to look old or sepia. Myers only had five weeks in which to create 150 costumes for the production, and she was constantly working on the set.
Emma's wedding dress was made from silk crepe and embroidered with a small sprig pattern, while the sleeves and the train were made from embroidered net. Of the dress, Myers stated "The inspiration for Emma's wedding dress began with a small amount of exquisite vintage lace that became the overlay. I wanted a look that would work not only for the period but also one that would compliment Gwyneth Paltrow's youth, swan neck, and incredible beauty. I was also hoping to evoke happiness and the English countryside; the sun did shine on the day we shot the scene!"
The musical score of the film was written by British composer Rachel Portman. It was released on July 29, 1996. Portman told Rebecca Jones from the BBC that her score was "purely classical". She continued "It is an orchestral piece, by which I mean that there is nothing in it that you wouldn't find in a symphony orchestra. It was influenced by my roots and my classical background." Portman used various instruments to give a voice to the characters. She revealed that "a quivering violin" would represent Harriet's uneasy stomach, while "a bittersweet clarinet" would accompany Emma though her emotional journey. Josh Friedman from the '' Los Angeles Times'' believed Portman's "crafty score guides the audience through the heroine's game playing, and ultimately, to her romantic destiny." He also thought the music had "a sneaky, circular feel".
'' Playbill's'' Ken LaFave commented that the score "underlined the period romanticism" in ''Emma'' and contained a "string-rich, romantic sound". Jason Ankeny, a music critic for '' Allmusic'', wrote that Portman's score to ''Emma'' employed all of her "signatures" like "whimsical yet romantic melodies, fluffy string arrangements, and woodwind solos", which would be familiar to anyone who had listened to her previous film scores. He stated, "it seems as if she's simply going through the motions, content to operate within the confines of an aesthetic that, admittedly, is hers and hers alone. By no means a bad score, ''Emma'' is nevertheless a disappointment – if you've heard a previous Rachel Portman score, you've pretty much heard this one as well." On March 24, 1997, Portman became the first woman to win the Academy Award for Best Original Score. The album contains 18 tracks; the first track is "Main Titles", and the final track is "End Titles".
Emma (1996 TV film)
Andrew Davies adapted Jane Austen's 1815 novel '' Emma'' for television. Previously, he was the screenwriter for the successful 1995 BBC TV serial '' Pride and Prejudice'' starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. Davies offered to adapt ''Emma'' for the BBC, but it had already commissioned Sandy Welch as screenwriter. Michael Wearing, BBC head of drama serials, stated "It was a very, very difficult situation. I had already commissioned Sandy Welch, one of our BBC writers, to do ''Emma''. We really were in a fix." In response, Davies and his team successfully made an offer to BBC's rival, ITV. ''Pride and Prejudice'' s entire production team reportedly joined Davies when he began adapting ''Emma''. It was his second adaptation of an Austen novel.
The production reportedly cost £2.5 million, and was shot during the summer of 1996.
* Broughton Castle, Banbury – (Donwell Abbey)
* Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire – (Donwell Abbey exteriors)
* Stanway House, Stanway, Gloucestershire, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire – (Donwell Abbey interior)
* Trafalgar Park, Salisbury – (Hartfield)
* Dorney Court, Dorney, Buckinghamshire – (Randalls)
* Lacock, Wiltshire – (Highbury Village)
* Thame Park, Oxfordshire – (Abbey Mill Farm, Hartfield interiors, etc.)
Emma (2009 TV serial)
Principal photography commenced with a four-day shoot in the Kent village of Chilham from 14 to 18 April 2009. Production design staff covered several roads with gravel to disguise the 21st-century road markings, and erected a fountain in the village square. Filming occurred from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day and was scheduled to coincide with the Easter school holiday to minimise local disruption.
Filming continued at the parish church of St Mary the Virgin in Send, Surrey on 24 and 28 April, where scenes of a wedding and a Sunday service were completed. Further filming took place at Squerryes Court, Westerham, Kent where many interior scenes were shot.
The scene that shows Emma and Harriet Smith on their way to visit the poor was filmed in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England. The church they pass along the wooded path is St. Etheldreda Church of England.