“Love & Friendship” is an adaptation of young Jane Austen’s novella Lady Susan, believed to have been written in the mid 1790s but revised up to a fair copy prepared in 1805. The novel was finally published by her nephew, James Edward Austen-Leigh, in 1871. The film was picked-up by Amazon Studios at Sundance this year, and will be released through the studio in 2016.
Set in the 1790s, earlier than most Austen tales, LOVE & FRIENDSHIP concerns beautiful young widow Lady Susan Vernon (Kate Beckinsale) who has come to Churchill, the estate of her in-laws, to wait out colourful rumours about her dalliances circulating through polite society.
Whilst ensconced there, she decides to secure a husband for herself and for her daughter, Frederica, played by Morfydd Clark.
Chloë Sevigny, who starred with Beckinsale in Stillman’s The Last Days of Disco (1998), plays Lady Susan’s friend and confidante Alicia Johnson, with Stephen Fry as her husband, the “very Respectable” Mr. Johnson.
The waters are troubled by the arrival at Churchill of the handsome, eligible Reginald DeCourcy (Xavier Samuel) and silly but cheerful — and very rich — Sir James Martin (Tom Bennett).
Lady Susan’s designs are vehemently opposed by the DeCourcy clan: Reginald’s sister, Catherine DeCourcy Vernon (Emma Greenwell); his mother, Lady DeCourcy (Jemma Redgrave) and father, Sir Reginald DeCourcy (James Fleet). But Susan’s brother-in-law, magnanimous Charles Vernon (Justin Edwards), prefers to see her, and everyone, with a benevolent regard.
After a series of dramatic turns at Churchill, Lady Susan finally risks destruction when her jealous rival, Lady Lucy Manwaring (Jenn Murray), arrives in London to make a shocking revelation, leading to the denouement of denouements.
LOVE & FRIENDSHIP is produced by Whit Stillman, Katie Holly and Lauranne Bourrachot, and co-produced by Raymond van der Kaaij.
Amazon Studios presents LOVE & FRIENDSHIP, a Westerly Films, Blinder Films, Chic Films production in co-production with, Revolver Amsterdam & Arte France Cinema in association with Protagonist Pictures, Soficinema 11 & Cinemage 10 & the Netherlands Film Fund & with the participation of Bord Scannán na hÉireann/Irish Film Board.