Brace Yourselves: Jennifer Love Hewitt Is Adapting Pride and Prejudice for Lifetime

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Dec. 12 2012 4:42 PM

Brace Yourselves: Jennifer Love Hewitt Is Adapting Pride and Prejudice for Lifetime

Jennifer Love Hewitt.

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Hollywood greenlights its share of ridiculous projects, but the news that Jennifer Love Hewitt had sold an update of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, tentatively titled Darcy's Town, to Lifetime seems particularly insane. Or maybe not: Lifetime's brand was most recently defined by a Lindsay Lohan-fronted trainwreck biopic of Elizabeth Taylor, and the network already has Hewitt playing a hooker on The Client List. Still, none of the parties involved seem like a match for one of the most beloved novels of all time.

Pride and Prejudice isn't an easy book to move into the modern era. It was one thing for Amy Heckerling to reimagine the romantic meddling of Emma as 1990s Beverly Hills in Clueless, because that's a story that emphasizes its heroine's independence and privilege, rather than the extreme pressure on her to marriage, if only so she could move out of her family home. The drama and compromises of Pride and Prejudice are all tied to the very real and very scary risk becoming an old maid. Whatever pressures single women feel to settle down in contemporary American society, they aren't remotely equivalent to what P&P's Elizabeth Bennet faced.

Bride & Prejudice, the 2004 quasi-Bollywood musical from director Gurinder Chadha, was able to recreate its source material's tension by moving the action to a small Indian city and a social milieu where women were still expected to live at home until they were married. The story may have expanded to fill continents, and made the prospect of premarital sex explicit rather than implicit when Lakhi, the movie's equivalent of Lydia, runs off with Wickham, who's become a globe-trotting beach-bum rather than a regiment-hopping British soldier. But a character like Lalita (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan), a brilliant woman who would never really be able to take over her father's farm, or to build a satisfying life as a single woman in a small town that didn't have an outlet for her talents or her intellectual interests, still worked. Moving Pride and Prejudice to small-town Virginia doesn't seem likely to produce the same result.

Alyssa Rosenberg writes about culture and television for Slate’s “XX Factor” blog. She also contributes to ThinkProgress and


Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race

How Facebook’s New Feature Could Come in Handy During a Disaster

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

View From Chicago

You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney

Or at least trade it for something.

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Terrorism, Immigration, and Ebola Are Combining Into a Supercluster of Anxiety

The Legal Loophole That Allows Microsoft to Seize Assets and Shut Down Companies

  News & Politics
Oct. 19 2014 1:05 PM Dawn Patrol Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s critically important 5 a.m. wake-up call on voting rights.
Business Insider
Oct. 19 2014 11:40 AM Pot-Infused Halloween Candy Is a Worry in Colorado
Oct. 17 2014 5:26 PM Judge Begrudgingly Strikes Down Wyoming’s Gay Marriage Ban
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 17 2014 4:23 PM A Former FBI Agent On Why It’s So Hard to Prosecute Gamergate Trolls
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Oct. 17 2014 1:33 PM What Happened at Slate This Week?  Senior editor David Haglund shares what intrigued him at the magazine. 
Oct. 19 2014 4:33 PM Building Family Relationships in and out of Juvenile Detention Centers
Future Tense
Oct. 17 2014 6:05 PM There Is No Better Use For Drones Than Star Wars Reenactments
  Health & Science
Space: The Next Generation
Oct. 19 2014 11:45 PM An All-Female Mission to Mars As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.
Sports Nut
Oct. 16 2014 2:03 PM Oh What a Relief It Is How the rise of the bullpen has changed baseball.