Special Collaborative Post: Recasting Jane Austen AdaptationPart II – Mansfield Park

Today I bring you the second one of our collaborative Austen Recasting Series with a fellow blogger, and fellow British actor aficionado, Anna from Defiant Success blog. The first one we did was Sense & Sensibility, this time we’re tackling the screen adaptation of Mansfield Park. If you haven’t read the book or seen any film adaptation of Mansfield Park, this Sparknotes article gives a good insight about its characters.

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Anna’s Picks

Sophie Turner as Fanny Price

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Admittedly, this choice is the result of watching too much Game of Thrones. Knowing what her character of Sansa Stark goes through on the show (well, at least up to “The Mountain and the Viper”), Turner seems perfect for the role of Fanny. (Then again, what Fanny goes through is practically idyllic compared to Sansa’s ordeal.)

Ben Whishaw as Edmund Bertram

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I was initially considering Whishaw for Edward Ferrars on the Sense and Sensibility casting post, but I realized he was must better suited as Edmund. A few of his roles have him as kindhearted but naive, which easily sums up Edmund.

Rebecca Hall as Mary Crawford

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It was Hall’s work in Parade’s End that made me think she’d be right for this role. Her character of Sylvia Tietjens uses her looks and charms to conceal her more deceitful nature, much like what Mary does throughout the book.

Dominic Cooper as Henry Crawford

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I must thank Andrew from Encore Entertainment for this suggestion because quite frankly it’s almost impossible to cast the men in an Austen adaptation. (Key word: almost.) Cooper could easily play a man who thinks he’s entitled to any woman he fancies, regardless whether they return the affection or not. (It doesn’t hurt that he had previously played another Austen cad.)

Stephen Dillane as Sir Thomas Bertram

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Dillane has done his fair share of authoritative roles (Game of Thrones comes to mind) and often times they’re not that sympathetic. With Sir Thomas, Dillane could continue that role and have the chance to become kinder towards the end (particularly after a “my God, what have I done?” moment).

Natalie Dormer as Maria Bertram


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Okay, last Game of Thrones actor, I promise. Anyway, Dormer could easily play a woman who’s arrogant and thinks she’s entitled to anything (or anyone) that catches her eye. (It would certainly be satisfying to see her comeuppance towards the end.)

Emily Blunt as Julia Bertram

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Similarly, Blunt could play a character like Maria albeit in a less vain manner. (At least Julia gets a happier ending than Maria.)

Emma Thompson as Lady Bertram

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There’s just something about seeing Thompson in a role that would have her being lazy and indifferent most of the time that sounds so appealing. After all, she’s played so many prim and proper roles throughout her career. It would be nice to see her to do a role like Lady Bertram.

Imelda Staunton as Mrs. Norris

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Likewise, most of the roles I’ve seen Staunton in had her as the kind matronly figure. Suffice to say, it would be a bit of a shock to see her being absolutely vile to the main character.

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Ruth’s Picks

Jessica Brown Findlay as Fanny Price

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I LOVED Frances O’Connor as Fanny in the 1999 adaptation so it’ll be hard to top her in my mind. I think of Fanny as a strong young woman who keeps to herself a lot as a result of her circumstances. Growing up in her wealthy uncle’s estate, she often gets belittled and degraded, especially by her aunt Norris, but she remains dutiful and patient. She’s gentle but does NOT mean she’s a feeble character. In fact, her strong moral compass and sound mind makes her indispensable to the Bertram family. After seeing Findlay as Lady Sibyl in Downton Abbey (and the unfortunately dreadful Winter’s Tale), I think she’d make a suitable Fanny. She’s effortlessly likable and sweet, but she’s also steadfast in her will, as evident in her refusing Henry Crawford no matter how hard he tries.

Sam Reid as Edmund Bertram

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After seeing the Belle movie twice the last couple of months, I’ve been quite taken with the 27-year-old Aussie-native. In fact, as I watched his character John Davinier in Belle, I knew immediately he’d make a fine Edmund. In the book, Edmund desires to be a clergyman and Davinier was the son of a vicar. Sam Reid is classically handsome but he has a kindness about him, an earnest demeanor that’s perfect for this character. Edmund is Fanny’s only true friend in Mansfield Park, and it’s easy to see why Fanny would fall for him.

Lara Pulver as Mary Crawford

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I LOVE Lara Pulver in BBC Sherlock and Robin Hood. I think she’s absolutely stunning and is the kind of girl that can make any man fall for her. Mary is charming and bewitching, as she practically steals Edmund’s heart. There’s a certain seductive quality about her as well that Lara would be perfect for.

Tom Hardy as Henry Crawford

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Henry is as equally charming as his sister Mary. He’s what you’d describe as a bad boy, perhaps even more so than Willoughby is in Sense & Sensibility. Tom Hardy simply oozes charisma and sex appeal, plus he has that playful quality that would make him quite an irresistible scoundrel. I think Hardy can display a certain sensitivity for the role for when Henry falls for Fanny and he ardently pursues her.

Iain Glen as Sir Thomas Bertram

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I’ve always liked Iain Glen since he played the villain in the first Lara Croft movie. Yes he even out-shined pre-Bond Daniel Craig in that one. Later on he popped up in the later season of BBC Spooks and now he’s in Game of Thrones. There’s a certain gravitas that commands respect which makes him suitable to play a wealthy landowner who’s tough on his children. His authoritarian style drives away his eldest son Tom, and he’s quite harsh to Fanny when she refuses to do what he says. But in the end he realizes the error of his ways and I think Iain can also display vulnerability when the scenes call for it.

Gemma Arterton as Maria Bertram

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Maria is described as vain and pretentious, and she’s a bit of a bully to Fanny. She’s obviously materialistic as she only marries Rushworth for his money. I could see Gemma play this role. She may look like a sweet English rose but there’s an icy quality about her that could work well for the role.

Rose Byrne as Julia Bertram

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Julia is not as mean nor cocky as Maria and deep down she resents her sister for being so over-indulgent. Seems that Rose has been in a lot of American comedies lately, I’m curious to see her in a period drama like this one.

Helena Bonham Carter as Lady Bertram

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I always see Helena being so feisty all the time, I’d like to see her play a rather lethargic character. Lady Bertram is described as neurotic as she’s dependent on her pills and all she does is lounge around in the house doing absolutely nothing. There’s something childlike about this character that I think Helena can pull off with aplomb.

Brenda Blethyn as Mrs. Norris

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Having played Mrs. Benett in Joe Wright’s Pride & Prejudice, I somehow think it’d be interesting to see her play a mean-spirited character here. I absolutely loathe Mrs. Norris, especially her treatment to Fanny, always reminding her of her *place* in the family in the cruelest way. Blethyn often plays comedic character and sometimes comedic performers often make convincing villains.


Previous Jane Austen Recasting Post:

Recasting_SandS


Well, those are our picks for the main characters Mansfield Park. Let us know your thoughts and feel free to offer your own picks in the comments!

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46 thoughts on “Special Collaborative Post: Recasting Jane Austen AdaptationPart II – Mansfield Park

  1. Ooh, I really like your choice for Lady Bertram. I was actually considering Pulver as Mary Crawford initially (with perhaps Richard Armitage as Henry). I could definitely see Hardy as a charming bastard. And when you told me you were choosing a Game of Thrones actor for Sir Thomas, I just knew it was going to be Glen (which, by the way, is a great choice). Now I’m now very familiar with your other choices (Blethyn aside), but I’m sure they’re right for their respective roles.

    1. Ahah, well Pulver and Armitage already played brother/sister in Robin Hood. But I suppose the resemble each other well. I love Iain Glen, he’s a Scot so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I haven’t seen Sophie in anything since I don’t watch GoT but she sounds like a good pick. Oh I LOVE your pick for Dillane too, I think he’d be great as Sir Thomas. Surely Lady Sati would approve 😀

      So I presume you’re not familiar w/ Sam Reid (most people aren’t yet, I always have a penchant for the rather obscure actors). Who else are you not familiar with? I don’t know if you watch Downton Abbey but Jessica plays an important role in that one.

      1. Well, I say “not familiar” in the sense that I haven’t really seen any of their work, not in the sense that I hadn’t heard of them prior to today. I don’t watch Downton Abbey (though I might in the near future), but I know that Findlay was on the show until recently. (I also know that Glen was on the show at one point.)

        1. Yep yep that’s what I meant. I’ve heard of the GoT actors from reading people’s posts too, but I haven’t seen their work yet.

          Oh right, Glen was in DA too in the later season. I’ve only seen season 1 so far.

  2. Tickled at the idea of the two versions having the Schlegel sisters as the Lady Bertrams. Emma and Helena both would fit the character but in such different ways. (The same goes for the Brenda and Imelda, who would definitely relish the opportunity to do meanness.)

    I’m familiar with Brown and Turner only from their TV shows and both seem to have limitations as performers which weirdly makes them workable for Fanny. (Fanny is, by far, my LEAST favourite Austen heroine.)

    My favourite from Anna’s cast is Ben and Tom from Ruth but both these versions sound workable. (And, you know, I WOULD like to see Rose Byrne in a period piece.)

    1. Hi Andrew! Interesting that Fanny is your least fave Austen heroine, I’ve been reading that too but I actually quite like her.

      It’s interesting that Byrne hasn’t been in a period piece, I’d think she’d be perfect in one.

  3. Geez, what a cast! I am embarrassed to say I have not read or seen anything having to do with Mansfield Park. gulp. So I will trust your list is perfect. I sure love many actors you have listed like Rose Byrne, Imelda Staunton, Emma and Emily and Tom. I’d go to see this cast! 🙂

    1. Thanks Cindy! Mansfield Park (1999) is in Netflix Instant I believe, worth checking out if you’re in the mood for some period drama 🙂

  4. Fun post although I feel terribly ignorant. I don’t know the movie or the characters. But I did see an Emily Blunt picture so that automatically makes it great! 😉

    1. Mwahaha, well I’m glad there’s someone you like here Keith. You should check out some Austen, who knows you might enjoy it 😉

      1. LOL Ruth! I knew you would appreciate my Blunt reaction. I really do need to check out some of these movies. While it doesn’t always seem that way, I really do have a pretty wide range of movies that I enjoy. I should give them a shot.

        1. Y’know Keith, you should give Young Victoria a shot. Emily is so lovely in it and it’s quite well-done. I think you’d enjoy that one.

        1. Ahah, I expect that reaction from you 🙂 I kind of feel the same w/ Toby, everyone else doesn’t even compare anymore. Not by a long shot.

  5. Great post, both of you!

    Ruth, any movie that casts Rose Byrne, Gemma Arterton, Helena Bonham Carter AND Tom Hardy would have me hooked! (Though that would require quite the casting budget.) 🙂

    1. Hi Josh! Ha..ha.. I figure people who aren’t familiar w/ the story might be intrigued by the cast. I love all of the actors I cast here. I was actually thinking of casting Haley Atwell as Mary Crawford but then realized she has played that role in the BBC version, so talk about spot on, eh? 😀

      1. You were certainly thinking like someone who gets paid to do this sort of thing. And for good reason – it’s the sort of role, I suspect, in which Haley Atwell would shine.

        1. Ha..ha.. well I’ve always wanted to be a casting director one day. I always enjoy doing this kind of thing. Atwell is lovely in the role, she’s the best thing in the Mansfield Park adaptation I saw this weekend.

  6. I haven’t read Mansfield Park nor seen any of its screen or tv adaptations. Got to do something about that. Regardless, I’d choose Ruth’s Picks with a twist – Stephen Dillane as Sir Thomas Bertram.

    1. Hi there, welcome to FC! I highly recommend the 1999 film version if you’re interested.

      Glad you like my picks! I wouldn’t mind seeing Dillane as Sir Thomas either actually.

  7. Instead of a “laughing out loud” is there a “sighing out loud?” If so I would use that right now to describe my sentiments after reading both of those. Anna – I love all your Game of Thrones references, to die for, because as Ruth knows I am a huge fan and if those actors can portray what they have been through on that show, well like you said then in Mansfield Park it’s nothing! My fave picks have to be Stephen Dillane and Dominic Cooper. Thumbs up!

    Ruth – UGH again SOL (sighing out loud). Jessica Brown Findlay I am slightly obsessed with her right now. I was just thinking of her the other day and my inspiration for who I want to see on Game of Thrones. Every time I think of her in Downton I just want to cry. She’s so beautiful, sweet and tender, I would love to see her playing against your Toby as well. She would make an awesome Fanny and the guy from Belle… ohhh yes please!!!!!

    1. Sighing out loud! I LOVE it! I’ll be using that term for my tumblr now 😉

      Have you seen Winter’s Tale? She’s lovely tho the movie is terrible! She’s my 2nd fave character in Downton after the Dowager Countess, she’s so beautiful and sweet! OH MY!! I’d love to see her in a romance w/ Toby, tho he’s much older than her I think that’d still be smoking hot like in Jane Eyre!! Sam Reid is VERY crush-worthy, you need to see BELLE soon and you’ll know what I mean. He’s a red head just like my Toby!

      1. I make myself LOL some days. Pretty much anything British/Jane Austen/1800-1900’s is SOL worthy. I haven’t seen Winter’s Tale because lately anything that is romantic with Colin Ferrell in it, is usually really craptastic. But I am planning on seeing it for Jessica’s sake. Yes but their romance would be seriously swoon-worthy…an older gentleman, a broken hearted younger noble girl, I can see it now! Yes mam he is adorable. Seriously my sister and you both have a thing for redheads! Ladies ladies! My personal preference is blondes so I understand, give me an Alexander Skarsgard type any day and I am happy!

        1. I LOVE that we’re so similar! Yes those are so SOL-worthy indeed!

          Winter’s Tale has an intriguing concept but the execution is just crap! I didn’t care for Farrell in it tho he did his best. I might like it more if Toby were in the role but then again I wouldn’t want him to be involved in something THAT bad.

          Y’know I was NEVER into any red-head actor before and I mean NEVER. I always go for the dark-haired ones w/ piercing eyes but something about Toby is just soooo fetching. His hair was quite dark in The Machine (where I fell for him after being a casual fan for years), but man those freckles!! Now every time I see a freckled person, man or woman, I think of him. Yes I am hopeless!! Check out this comment that I found on youtube, I love it so much I made a tumblr post of it. It describes my Toby-itis perfectly!!

          “Welcome aboard the Toby express. Once you have embarked upon this journey, there is no hope of recovery from this affliction!!!! No cure has been discovered as yet, maybe in years to come there maybe some advancement in technology which could treat the symptoms… LOL”

          1. Winter’s Tale may have been better with him in it, but maybe it was the script. That is not the movie i would want to see him either in or in the sense of being introduced to a larger audience. It has to be something better. Black Sails is definitely a cool start.

            Omg you are too funny! The Toby-itis is strong! Once you have that affliction that is it, there is no cure for it! No anti-Toby pills exist and if they did the Tobettes would destroy it!

  8. Ooh, interesting choices. I love both casts, but I haven’t seen any version of Mansfield Park. I should probably get on that. 😉

    1. Hi Josh! Well I did a comparative review of two MP adaptations. I highly recommend the 1999 version w/ Frances O’Connor. She’s a talented yet underrated actress.

    1. Hi Fernando! Lara has impressed me in two BBC shows (Sherlock & Robin Hood) so far. She’s so beautiful and talented, I hope she gets more film roles. Seems that Hollywood’s starting to notice her as she got a bit part in Edge of Tomorrow.

  9. Pingback: » Movie Review – Adjustment Bureau, The Fernby Films

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