Now Jane Austen gets the woke treatment! Dakota Johnson films Persuasion with co-star Nikki Amuka-Bird in Salisbury – with Netflix adaptation promising ‘a modern, witty approach’ and colour-blind casting
She’s set to play protagonist Anne Elliot in Netflix’s upcoming ‘modern and witty’ take on Jane Austen’s classic book Persuasion.
And Dakota Johnson was seen in character for the first time as she donned a white shirt and long black dress while filming in Salisbury on Saturday.
The Fifty Shades Of Grey actress, 31, sipped wine during the shoot and chatted to her co-star Nikki Amuka-Bird, 45, who is thought to be playing Lady Russell, in the adaption which has embraced colour-blind casting.
In character: Dakota Johnson was seen playing Anne Elliot for the first time as she donned a white shirt and long black dress while filming for Netflix’s Persuasion with co-star Nikki Amuka-Bird, 45, in Salisbury on Saturday
Dakota appeared to be in good spirits while relaxing on a swing and chatting, with the star cradling a glass during the conversation.
She sported a long charcoal grey dress with a thin long-sleeved shirt buttoned up over the top, which Dakota removed and swapped for a warm black jacket in between takes.
At one point, Dakota was even seen throwing the remnants of her drink into the grass and sporting an animated expression suggesting lively scenes await viewers.
Nikki, who has previously starred in TV series Gold Digger, donned a more period costume for the location shoot with her purple dress featuring ruffled long sleeves and a pleated skirt as well as a smart hat.
On location: The Fifty Shades Of Grey actress, 31, sipped wine during the shoot and chatted to her co-star Nikki Amuka-Bird, 45, who is thought to be playing Lady Russell
Getting notes? Dakota and Nikki attentively listened as another woman joined them on the the colour-blind casted set of the latest period drama getting the Netflix treatment
Nikki is thought to be playing Lady Russell, who is a widow after her husband Sir Henry died. She was a good pal of the late Lady Elliot and is the godmother of Anne, with Anne being her favourite of the Elliot children because she reminds her of her late friend.
Actresses to have previously portrayed the character include Marian Spencer in 1971, Susan Fleetwood, in thee 1995 film, and Alice Krige in 2007.
In April, Variety reported that Netflix’s adaption will be a ‘modern, witty approach’ on the classic tale, however it seems that the costumes will not be updated.
There is no official release date for the film yet, but filming has now kicked off with the stars being seen shooting the upcoming adaption on Saturday.
The Persuasion remake is the latest in a line of reinterpretations of Austen’s classic novel and period dramas opting to embrace colour-blind casting, most notably following Netflix hit Bridgerton.
In January Netflix’s vice-president of inclusion strategy revealed that Bridgerton’s racially diverse cast was the result of an ‘inclusion lens’ being applied to casting decisions.
Conversation: Dakota held onto the swing and looked up at her co-star, who was wearing a long purple dress, during the chat
Cheeky: She looked rather pleased with herself after throwing out the remnants of her drink while Nikki’s character watched
Looking good: Dakota donned a thin white shirt and had hair styled up for the shoot while Nikki’s role sported a more elegant look and carried black gloves
Another take: Several crew members could be seen filming the scene around the actresses, with them all wearing face masks
Verna Myers said the company supported diverse lead producers and showrunners for the series as well as its executive producer Shonda Rhymes.
Bridgerton is a romantic drama set in Regency London which re-imagines the period as one where black and white people were equal, with Phoebe Dynevor and Regé-Jean Page taking on the lead roles of Daphne and Simon.
It features a very diverse and talented cast which also boasts Adjoa Andoh as Lady Danbury, Kathryn Drysdale as Genevieve Delacroix, Golda Rosheuvel as Queen Charlotte and Ruby Barker as Marina Thompson.
Ms Myers told The Guardian: ‘We’ve got to get folks in front of the camera and behind the camera. When that happens you’re going to get something you’ve never seen before. Bridgerton is something we have never seen before.
‘We help out all of our creative folks in content and marketing with what we call an inclusion lens, when they’re casting and when they’re green lighting: see who’s there, see who isn’t.’
Ms Myers continued that the historical lack of black employees in the technology and entertainment industries is down to industry trends and said Netflix has put special emphasis on recruiting black employees.
Diverse: The Persuasion remake is the latest in a line of period dramas to opt for colour-blind casting, most notably following Netflix hit Bridgerton (pictured, Rege-Jean as Simon, the Duke of Hastings, and Phoebe Dynevor as Daphne)
Story: Bridgerton is a romantic drama set in Regency London which re-imagines the period as one where black and white people were equal (left, Adjoa Andoh as Lady Danbury and right, Golda Rosheuvel as Queen Charlotte)
Different approach: Bridgerton’s diverse cast was the result of an ‘inclusion lens’ (pictured right is Kathryn Drysdale as Genevieve Delacroix with Polly Walker as Portia Featherington, middle, and Ruby Barker, middle, as Marina Thompson)
‘Moving forward’: Channel 5’s Anne Boleyn drama also featured Jodi Turner-Smith as the leading lady, making her the first black actress to play the queen, with Henry VIII actor Mark Stanley defending the casting (pictured together in character)
Progress: Jodie (left) also said that she was ‘aware it’s going to be a stretch for some people’ to see her playing the role
She explained: ‘We had a special person to think about recruitment, specifically for underrepresented groups, and we started with people of colour, and we really emphasised black.’
The VP added she did not think the problem was specific to Netflix, continuing that companies should back up talk of diversity with action such as Netflix’s £350,000 investment scheme to help develop black creative talent.
Channel 5’s Anne Boleyn drama also featured Jodi Turner-Smith as the leading lady, making her the first black actress to play the doomed queen.
She did face some backlash for her casting, however Mark Stanley, who played King Henry VIII in the three-part drama, insisted such colourblind casting needs to ‘be the way forward’ to improve representation, and said Jodie’s performance was more about capturing the ‘energy’ of the Queen.
Speaking to Digital Spy, he said: ‘You look at people from that period, and of course the world was shaped in a certain way back then. But it’s not shaped like that now. And we’ve got to be able to make sure that people are represented.’
Quick break: Dakota and Nikki looked relaxed and chatted to each other in between takes of the new Jane Austen show
Bit of downtime: Dakota relaxed on the swing while waiting for Nikki’s dress to be fixed and paid attention to the repair
Smart: She sported a long charcoal grey dress with a thin long-sleeved shirt buttoned up over the top for most of the shoot
Previously seen: Actresses to have already portrayed the character ahead of Nikki (right) taking on the role include Marian Spencer in 1971, Susan Fleetwood, in the 1995 film (middle), and Alice Krige in 2007 (left)
Back then: Marian Spencer played Lady Russell and Ann Firbank played Anne Elliot in the 1971 TV mini-series of Persuasion
Versions: Persuasion was most recently adapted in 2007 with Sally Hawkins taking the role of Anne (right and left) with Searchlight Pictures are also preparing to adapt the book for their own film
The upcoming Persuasion film is set to focus on Jane Austen’s protagonist Anne, a woman who doesn’t want to conform to society’s rules, choosing to live with her near-bankrupt family instead.
Anne remains unmarried at 27-years-old, but when she reconnects with a man she once rejected she realises she has another chance at love.
Persuasion was most recently adapted in 2007 with Sally Hawkins taking the role of Anne and Searchlight Pictures are currently also preparing to adapt the book for their own version which will star Succession’s Sarah Snook.
Carrie Cracknell is set to make her directorial debut with the feature film, and made her name directing Jake Gyllenhaal in Broadway’s production of Sea Wall/ A Life.
It was also revealed that Ron Bass and Alice Victoria Winslow have adapted the book for the silver screen, and production is expected to begin in May.
All smiles: Dakota seemed to be in good spirits as she smiled at Nikki (left) and listened to what she had to say (right) while on the swing
All done: Dakota also emptied her glass as the stars walked past a large white screen which had been put up at the shoot
Simple: Dakota sported only a light touch of blusher and lipstick, with her hair mostly tied back apart from two sections at the front to frame her features
Also set to be joining Dakota in the star-studded Netflix film is Crazy Rich Asian’s star Henry Golding, with Deadline reporting he’s set to play Mr William Elliot.
Mr. Elliot is described as an unscrupulous charmer who is ‘black at heart’ with ‘no feeling for others’. In the novel, he is a distant relation of Anne’s who comes into a great deal of money after his heiress wife dies.
He then swoops in on Anne’s family who are facing serious financial problems after her profligate father spends them into debt.
Anne takes a liking to the dashing and charismatic Mr. Elliot who aggressively pursues her romantically and even plans to pop the question.
Knocking it back: Dakota happily sipped the drink during the countryside shoot, with Nikki also holding onto a fancy glass
Safety first: While chatting to another woman on the set, Dakota donned a plastic face shield and carried a bottle of water
Second look: She also sported a warm jacket with a fluffy hood over her black dress while not in front of the camera
Takes a team: The camera men and crew members all donned face masks while working on the upcoming Netflix film which is said to be a ‘modern and witty’ interpretation
Classic tale: Persuasion was Austen’s final book before her death in 1817, she also wrote other classics like Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Sense and Sensibility (Dakota pictured filming)
Her family adores William because of his money and status, which elevates them in the city of Bath by association, but Anne is less convinced.
She discovers he only married his first wife for her money – and she is also fielding the affections of her old flame Frederick Wentworth who returns to the scene.
Elsewhere, Cosmo Jarvis is said to be playing Anne’s love interest Captain Frederick Wentworth, and Nikki Amuka-Bird, who was seen shooting with Dakota on Monday, will also appear in the upcoming film as widow Lady Russell.
Suki Waterhouse and Richard E. Grant are also starring in the Netflix feature.
Refill: A man handed Dakota a fresh drink while she was sitting with Nikki who flashed a glimpse at her elegant frilly sleeves
One of many: Persuasion was most recently adapted in 2007 and Searchlight Pictures are also preparing to adapt the book for their own version (pictured Dakota filming the Netflix version)
Getting along: The two actresses seemed to be relaxed in each other’s company, with Dakota staying on the swing while Nikki stood close to her with a glass of wine
Joking: Dakota put on an animated display during one part of the scene with her on-screen godmother, who was a close friend of her character’s late mother Lady Elliot
Persuasion was Austen’s final book before her death in 1817, she also wrote other classics like Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Sense and Sensibility.
2021 is proving to be a busy year for Dakota, with the actress currently having several film projects in the pipeline, with one set to make its debut later this year.
She will also star alongside Olivia Colman and Peter Sarsgaard in Maggie Gyllenhaal’s upcoming directorial debut, The Lost Daughter.
The feature is based on Elena Ferrante’s 2006 book of the same name, which is centered on a woman whose encounter with another individual and her daughter causes a flood of suppressed memories to resurface.
Touchups: Crew pinned Nikki’s costume together and fixed her hair while Dakota chatted to another member of the team
Packed schedule: 2021 is proving to be a busy year for Dakota, with the actress currently having several film projects in the pipeline, with one set to make its debut later this year
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