Friday 13 May 2011

Interview with Bonnie Mae, writer and director of A Modern Pride and Prejudice

I joined the Calgary chapter of the Jane Austen Society of North America just over a year ago.  One of the benefits of joining is receiving regular updates, via their website and newsletters, of what is happening in the Jane Austen world.  It was through one of these newsletters that I first learned about Bonnie Mae and her soon to be released movie A Modern Pride and Prejudice.  The movie stars Maia Petee, Caleb Grusing, Christina LaFon and Mark Mook.  Although she is in the midst of editing, she had a few minutes to spare for my questions on her soon-to-be-released film.

Samantha:  Is A Modern Pride and Prejudice your first movie?

Bonnie Mae: No, this is not my first Feature Film.  Since and before A Modern Pride and Prejudice I have directed several other films.

S:  How did you get into directing?

B:  I've been directing movies and theater since high school and it is something that I always wanted to do since I was a little girl.  Most little girls had pink rooms filled with Barbies and dress-up stuff; I had a Directors Chair, old film posters of Ron Howard, James Cameron, S.S (Steven Spielberg) and more plastered on my wall.

S:  Why did you decide to make a modern version of P&P?

B:  I have been a HUGE fan of Jane Austen since high school and really started to think about it and write it down a couple of years later. It has been a ton of years in the making. I wanted it to be modern because there were so many period adaptations and I wanted it to be fun and fresh, so I decided to make it modern, but still use the language of the period, society, estates etc...It’s a very different version :)

S: Tell me about the process of turning Jane Austen's work into a modern script?

B:  Doing the screenplay was fun because I got to insert my own modern day flare into the script. The challenge was trying to put modern day into the script but also keeping the period version of the dialogue.  I (kept asking) myself, "What Would Jane Austen Do?" The most fun of the script was the last proposal scene.  In the book they walk off and then they are married. I added my own period dialogue with an extremely intense and romantic proposal scene.  It turned out great!  We actually filmed it two different ways with and without have to wait and see what we ended up using :)

S:  What was the process for selecting your cast?

B:  The cast process was LONG.  Even though it was only six days worth of auditions and call backs we had a ton of people to audition that came from Colorado and as far as the UK.  Everyone wanted to be a part of this film and we went through thousands of auditions live and via the internet.

S:  Was one character more difficult to cast than the others?

B:  The hardest part was casting Elizabeth because I wanted a modern day girl but also someone that could do period dialogue, (be) feisty and passionate. I also wanted a girl that was the same age as the Elizabeth in the book. We ended up casting everyone the same (age) as in the book, even Darcy. I didn't plan on everyone but it just happened that way so that was pretty interesting. I was fortunate enough to have a great cast.  We had a blast on set and off set as well. There was a very abundant amount of laughing! The film is filled with a ton of Love.

S:  When do you hope to release your movie?

B:  We are hoping we can release the movie very soon but I want to post the trailer first, which I'm hoping will be done within the month of May. Keep Posted:)

S:  How can people keep posted on your movie?

B:  Find us on facebook at: or on the official website:

S:  What do you plan to work on next?

B:  I'm hoping to do Persuasion next as a part of a modern series with JA novels.
I already finished the script for "Persuasion" which is my favorite novel of JA so I'm hoping to do that JA novel next.

For right now I'm working on some other feature films and trailers that I hope to have out in the future. I've also been hired as a Director to do some local things and one Giant thing in LA which I will be a part of at the beginning of fall, if everything goes as planned.

S:  Why did you start with Pride and Prejudice?

B:  I have a ton of people ask me why I did P and P first if I love Persuasion more.  The answer is P and P is more well known and I hope to have great results from A Modern Pride and Prejudice (so I can) do "Persuasion." (Fingers and Toes Crossed).  

S:  Is there anything else you’d like to say to your readers?

B:  I also want to say Thanks to all the fans that have supported this version and this vision. I also want to give a BIG shout out THANK YOU to everyone in front of and behind the camera that worked on this film. We spent three months together and I had a blast!!

If anyone wants to send Fan Mail to any of the actors or crew they can send it to: PaperCut Studio Productions PO BOX 7069 Woodland Park CO 80863 Please send a self addressed envelope for cast pics. Thank You!

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