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Whit Stillman Mines Jane Austen for ‘Love & Friendship’

It’s hard to believe that there is a Jane Austen work that has eluded adaptation. The beloved Regency author has inspired seemingly hundreds of movies, TV series, and even web series. But her early novella “Lady Susan,” written in epistolary form, is lesser known and never adapted–until now. Whit Stillman has expanded the story–about a acerbic widow–to make his latest film, Love & Friendship.

“[‘Lady Susan’ is] so funny and clever, but it’s kind of hard to read. I consider it a gold mine or a diamond mine, where there are a lot of good things in it, but it’s kind of in an inaccessible form,” Stillman tells The New York Times. “That’s why it seemed like a really positive thing to adapt it, so that I could pull out the diamonds and put them in a setting. Lines like, ‘Facts are such horrid things.'”