The talk was all about tight budgets, “girly novels” and enviable wardrobes as director Robin Swicord and cast members Kathy Baker, Mark Blucas, and Maggie Grace gathered to discuss their new pic “The Jane Austen Book Club” at Monday’s screening at the ArcLight theater, sponsored by Variety.
Swicord spoke about the difficulties of making a feature film on a 30 day sked, 37 locations, six main characters, three cameras, and a budget of just under $6 million.
Among other money-and time- saving techniques, cast members subsidized film wardrobes with pieces from their own closets–a fact Swicord revealed when aud members inqurred about a sweater Maria Bello wore in the movie, which came from the actress’ own closet.
Swicord admitted the screenplay deviated from the original book, but she said she owed most of the film’s “sparkly dialogue” to the novel. And she worked hard during the casting to make sure her six main characters were appealing and likeable, especially to one another. For example, Swicord said she chose actor Kevin Zegers to portray Emily Blunt’s young love interest, because “he made (Emily) blush.”
When asked to discuss the enduring appeal of Jane Austen’s novels, Grace and Blucas spoke about Austen’s strong heroines and timeless plot lines. Agreeing with her cast mates, Baker mused, “Do we ask that question because (Austen) is a woman?”
Swicord also revealed she had been writing another Jane Austen screenplay when she decided to helm “Book Club.” Though that project was temporarily put on hold, she hopes to eventually see the film come to fruition.