Bronteana: Bronte Studies Blog Archives

July 29, 2006


Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 10:25 pm

More News on Biopic ‘Bronte’

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At last we have some idea of what this long- very, very long-awaited biopic of the Bronte Sisters will look like thanks to this article from the Observer:

Among the Morris dancers and Bronte tea towels, there is little today in the Yorkshire village of Haworth to dispel romantic images of Charlotte, Emily and Anne strolling on sunlit moors, gaining inspiration for tales that would one day busy the costume drama industry.
It is harder to imagine dungheaps and foul drains, the open sewer in the street and the cholera and typhoid that killed most children before their sixth birthday. It is this dark vision of Bronte country that will be evoked in the first major British biopic of the literary household.
Bronte, likely to be filmed from October in a Yorkshire village that has yet to be chosen, will not replace chocolate-box images with black clouds and tragedy. The £6 million movie will argue that what the sisters achieved in spite of the death and disease was a miracle of imagination and nothing short of heroic.

Charlotte, best known for Jane Eyre, will be played by Michelle Williams, the American actress who starred alongside her partner, Heath Ledger, in Brokeback Mountain. The role of Emily, author of Wuthering Heights, has gone to Nathalie Press, who appeared in the recent BBC adaptation of Bleak House and the critically acclaimed film My Summer of Love. Anne, who with The Tenant of Wildfell Hall never matched the literary reputation of her siblings, will be portrayed by New Zealander Emily Barclay, who was in the film In My Father’s Den.

Jonathan Rhys Meyers, seen opposite Scarlett Johansson in Woody Allen’s Match Point, plays Branwell, a failed artist who turned to alcohol and opium, while Ben Chaplin plays the Rev Arthur Bell Nicholls, who married Charlotte nine months before her death. Brian Cox, the veteran film actor currently appearing in Tom Stoppard’s Rock ‘N’ Roll on the London stage, plays the family patriarch, the Irish-born Rev Patrick Bronte, who outlived all his offspring.
The film seems to be a safe bet for producer AMC Pictures because of the world’s seemingly insatiable appetite for all things Bronte.

‘There was terrible disease in the town and burials in the ground around the Brontes every day,’ said Angela Workman, the film’s writer and director. ‘Yet within this trauma they created and turned it into a heat and a life force.’


‘There’s a fear of telling this story because there’s a fear it will be too depressing,’ added Workman. ‘There was great tragedy in their lives and they died young, but the lifespan for women in that region at that time was 25, and it occurred to me that the Brontes lived beyond that. For me, the story is about the way they defied death and created.’

From the suppressed emotion between Jane and Mr Rochester to the wild passion of Heathcliff and Cathy, many readers have speculated on the Victorian writers’ sexual lives. Workman, a Canadian of British descent who spent four months researching at Haworth, said: ‘Everyone talks about how passionate the books are. I think writing became an outlet for them. That will be in the film: a sexuality that emerges out of them in the way it does for people who can’t express it, who are physical and temperamental. It comes out in their fantasies as they’re playing, in the dirt, wind, rain, cold.’

Brian Cox said of his character, Patrick: ‘He lived until his eighties and saw them all off – he was an extraordinary man. Haworth was one of the wettest places in the world: they were living in a permanent state of damp and were doomed from the start.’

ETA: The page for ‘Bronte’ .


Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 4:24 pm

Confirmation of Jane Eyre on PBS

From today’s press release from PBS, we have confirmation of our earlier information that the BBC’s new mini series of Jane Eyre will appear on Masterpiece Theatre in January 2007:

MASTERPIECE THEATRE “Jane Eyre” (two two-hour programs, January 2007) A new adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s beloved gothic novel about the passionate courtship between a governess and her tortured master. Directed by Susanna White (“Bleak House”), the cast includes Georgie Henley (The Chronicles of Narnia) and newcomer Ruth Wilson as the young and grown Jane respectively, and Toby Stephens (son of Maggie Smith; The Queen’s Sister, Cambridge Spies) as Mr. Rochester.

Apparently some readers feared it would take years for the series to reach the US. You can all rest easy now. This synopsis gives me a new sense of pity for Toby Stephens. His first credit to his name is that his mother is Maggie Smith? And each interview I have found so far concerning this project has had much to say about the size of his sideburns (another reference to the man’s sideburns. In fact, none of the interviews I have about his part in the series do not mention them). Poor man.

Photo is of Cosima Littlewood as Adele in the new BBC production of Jane Eyre.


Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 12:05 am

In Which the Brontesque Returns with a Vengence

In the course of keeping this blog I have come across a huge number of films, books and and ‘other’ which are branded ‘Bronte’ or rather ‘Bronte-like.’ Things have been quiet for some time, but now Brontesque has broken out again. I am a little confused about this pair of Bronte references in a book review for Kept: A Comedy of Sex and Manners by Y. Euny Hong. The book is described thus:

The trouble with the aristocracy these days is that they just don’t sell as well as celebrities. With only middling beauty and brains, staggering debt, and a marked disdain for reputable employment, Judith “Jude” Lee—a descendent of Korean royalty with an utterly bourgeois fixation on class—is finally forced to turn herself over to a madam so upscale she makes Heidi Fleiss look untouchable.

And now, the Bronte references:

The secret, it turns out, to surviving in a city full of beauties and brains but few graces is a surfeit of sitcom-ready charm. This, for Jude, comes second nature, if not from her royal ancestors then from the ones she name-drops with far greater frequency—Becky Sharpe, Elizabeth Bennet, and Jane Eyre, and all the rest of those proto-capitalist players. With a flawless ear for hyperliterate one-liners (“Jung’s unchecked early years had made her untamed and feral, like a female Heathcliff”) and a sharp eye for a good deal (the adorable Kasporov double she chooses), Jude overcomes at least two dozen plot-breakers, easy as starving a peasant.

I am just trying to imagine someone who is at once like Becky Sharpe, Elizabeth Bennet, Jane Eyre and Heathcliff… The summary is far more comprehensible.

July 28, 2006


Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 1:26 pm

Quint and Nola in Wuthering Heights

Biedroneczka has found a site where you can view the Wuthering Heights fantasy of Nola. We saw Nola’s Jane Eyre fantasy earlier this week. Here’s the synopsis for both:

Nola was well known for her movie fantasies. In one of them, she dreamt she was Cathy to Quint’s Heathcliffe from the movie “Wuthering Heights” based on the novel by Emily Bronte. While Nola was in the hospital after giving birth prematurely to her daughter Kelly Louise (name later changed to Anastasia Louise), Quint brought Nola a bouquet of heather. Nola found this gesture to be very romantic, thus triggering her fantasy, as heather was significant in the movie. All the movie fantasies were beautifully performed by the actors. This particular video is included because it is exceptionally romantic and the actors look especially beautiful and the angles are flattering. Also heather was a significant symbol for Quint and Nola’s romance that was used repeatedly up through their honeymoon. Sadly after that, the powers-that-be seemed to forget about the significance and Quint never presented Nola with heather again.

Jane Eyre (Dec, 1981):
Nola’s first romantic fantasy about her future husband, she dreams that Quinton wants to make her mistress of the manor.

You can watch the Jane Eyre fantasy here.

All pictures are courtesy of


Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 12:38 pm

Bronte News

Jane Eyre: The Musical will be playing at the Edmonton Fringe Festival:

The festival contains a few small changes. The Fringe Website ( will have a page where patrons can review the shows they’ve seen – complete with a five-star rating system. Pre-seating is also being offered to patrons with reduced mobility.
Hi Yo Fringe – Away! runs Aug. 17-27 in and around Old Strathcona. The Performers’ Parade is at 7 p.m. Aug. 18; opening ceremonies are at 7:30 that same night in McIntyre Park.
Advance tickets go on sale Aug. 10.
For more information, check or call the festival information hotline at 448-9000.

Our list of other upcoming productions of Jane Eyre: The Musical can be read here.

And we have a compendium of views on the gendered education issue which seems to have taken Jane Eyre in its teeth once again:

“Why would any self-respecting boy want to attend one of America’s increasingly feminized universities?” asks George Gilder in National Review. “Most of these institutions have flounced through the last forty years fashioning a fluffy pink playpen of feminist studies and agitprop ‘herstory,’ taught amid a green goo of eco-motherism and anti-industrial phobia.” Christina Hoff Sommers, another conservative scholar who has hyped the “boy crisis” for half a decade now, chimes in as well and blames anti-boy feminists, who believe that “so-called male behaviors – roughhousing and aggressive competition – are not natural but artifacts of culture.” Her solution? Enforce discipline; stop making boys read Jane Eyre; and if they “don’t want to spend a lot of time talking about their feelings,” let them be!

While I fail to see the connection between Jane Eyre and a decrease in aggression, I do feel a little less placid after reading this paragraph.


Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 3:25 am

PBS to Carry Jane Eyre in 2007

As previously reported, the new BBC Jane Eyre will air in the US. Now we have more details regarding the schedule. According to, PBS will air the four-part Jane Eyre mini-series in January of 2007, just as I had surmised- which is nice to know. What’s even better, my birthday is in January so now not only can I plead that I won’t be needing the residence TV for anything else the whole year, and that I’ve been keeping this blog for ever so long… but it’s my birthday!

July 27, 2006


Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 11:59 am

Correction on Preview of Jane Eyre

In this previous Bronteana post, I reported that the leads from the BBC’s new production of Jane Eyre would be present at the British Film Institute screening. Diederick Santer, producer of Jane Eyre, has written to inform me that they cannot be precise about which actors or members of the production team will in fact be present. At this point, the most definite statement that can be made is that: ‘the screening will be followed by an onstage Q&A with key members of the cast and production team.’ I apologise for any confusion I might have caused.

He also writes that post-production is going very well:

You’ll be pleased to hear the post-production is going very well, and I hope there will be plenty to delight, surprise and stimulate Bronte fans and those who are new to the book when the show is transmitted on BBC 1 in the autumn.

And I am very sure that there will be- especially given what we have already seen!

July 26, 2006


Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 5:07 pm

Confirmation on Preview of Jane Eyre

Richard Wilcocks, recently elected chairman in council of the Bronte Society and editor of the Bronte Parsonage Blog has confirmation of our news from earlier this week that there will be a special preview of the first two episodes of the BBC’s new production of Jane Eyre at the National Film Theatre in London:

Thanks to the British Film Institute for providing the information that there will be a special preview of the first two parts of the new BBC Jane Eyre on Saturday 16 September, beginning at 5.50pm.

This does not yet appear in their publicity ( so it might be wise to check the time nearer the date.

Ruth Wilson, Toby Stephens and other cast members are booked to be on stage after the showing. Try getting hold of your tickets early. The BFI box office number is 020 7928 3232

So, does any kind soul out there in the UK want to do some reporting for a poor Canadian blogger?

ETA: CORRECTION: At this point there has been no confirmation on which cast members are booked for the screening at the British Film Institute.


Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 3:35 pm

Filming of New Jane Eyre at Haddon Hall

Well, this spring we had tips and even an on the ground report of the filming going on at Haddon Hall- the location for Thornfield Hall in the BBC’s new 4-part mini-series of Jane Eyre with Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens. After combing message boards today, I came across these photos taken in April while filming was about to begin at the hall. These gorgeous photos taken by NickyG:

July 25, 2006


Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 12:34 pm

Jane Eyre 1973 Available from Netflix

You can now rent the BBC mini series with Sorcha Cusack and Michael Jayston from Netflix.

This BBC adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel stars Sorcha Cusack as the plucky Jane Eyre, an orphan who muddles through harsh conditions to find love in the arms of her moody employer (Michael Jayston). After being raised by an abusive aunt, young Jane survives six years in a strict, humorless school and later becomes a governess. But within the walls of her new home at Thornfield Hall, a strange and terrible secret lies in wait.

I highly recomend it.

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