Persuasion Gets A New Adaptation Or Two

Great-Great-Great Auntie* of The Cool Table and notable author, Jane Austen’s final novel, Persuasion is the ultimate second chance romance. It also has two really lovely (in their own ways) adaptations from the decades of my youth. I’ve spent a lot of time watching the 1995 and the 2007 versions of Persuasion, and even more time dissecting which of them is better.

*download this episode of The Cool Table podcast for this reference

But it’s been awhile since we got a newer version of the best Austen novel on our screens (how is it we got NO Wentworth at all in the twenty-teens???), and now Persuasion, like its heroine, Anne Elliot, is getting its own second chance: twice over.

It was recently reported that Dakota Johnson is set to play Anne in a “modern, witty” adaptation for Netflix and MRC Film. No one knows what modern and witty is meant to mean in this adaptation, so don’t get your hopes up that you’ll be seeing Dakota Johnson in stays and an empire waist just yet. Depending on just how modern they decide to go, we may be getting “chapter seven” references instead of “retrenchment.”

Sarah Snook from HBO’s Succession is also slated to play the best of Austen’s heroines in a production for Searchlight Pictures. For this one we know a little more: we know her erstwhile and future hero, Captain Wentworth, is being played by Joel Fry (Game of Thrones). 

It’s not much to go on. It’s not much for a self-described Persuasion lover to decide if she’s wary or wired for these adaptations. In my book, the more Austen adaptations, the better. There’s something lovely about all of them, whether gritty or gorgeous.

And we can’t decide what we think about ANY adaptation of Persuasion without knowing who is playing the best role of them all: Elizabeth Elliot. Regency Regina George needs to come out to play, immediately. Then I’ll bite on which of these new projects is best.


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