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Transcript of Joe Wright's P&P DVD Commentary (Part 1)

Here's the transcript of the Director's Commentary by Joe Wright - Credit and thanks to my friend Liz (aka mahsuri1284) and fellow forum Mod (over @ the P&P forum) for compiling this transcript. This was originally posted on P&P's IMDb message board by Star-struck (big thanks too) around January 2006.  

The transcript is very long and will contain 5 parts (of blog entries to be posted here, esp. for those of you interested in JW's funny and interesting DVD Commentary further. See previous post here related to this). 

So... sit back on your comfortable chair, relax, and enjoy reading!


The first time I saw this logo and heard that music,

I just nearly wet myself.

It starts with the blackbird, which we
chose as Elizabeth Bennet's bird.
So often, throughout the film,
when something's happening to Lizzie,
you hear a blackbird.


The original idea was not to have an opening shot
and to start directly on a close-up of Elizabeth.

I like the idea of it setting the story,

that this is about a girl who falls in love.

In a way, there, she's reading the story that's about to happen to her.

Um, like the idea of her crossing the bridge.
Gave her an independent spirit.

So there's two suns. A bit cheeky,
but I don't think anyone really notices.

We wanted to create an atmosphere
where you got led into the environment with Elizabeth.
Um, we got to know them with her.
And the mess.

The idea that it's a house full of hormones,
basically I'd planned lots more shots through windows
which are all about veils of perception,
um, the pride and prejudice,
you're seeing people through the windows of your own understanding,
if that makes any sense.

Anyway, like that shot. Was filming it with the music in my ears.
And wept like a baby. You have to fall in love with all your characters,
and I certainly felt in love with all of this lot.

Jena Malone doing her pretty faultless English accent really.

We nearly cut Mary out.
But I think the balance of having four rather than five would've been wrong.

I cast Donald Sutherland, uh, because I saw him in "Cold Mountain" and he reminded me...of my father. And sometimes you just have to go with sentimental reasons

So that's Groombridge House in Kent.

Has a moat, which you never really see,
but I like the idea of five virgins on an island surrounded by a moat.

[Meryton assembly]

And then this here is the only set we actually built for the film.
Um, they really didn't exist, the assembly halls, anymore.

And this, I think, was probably my favourite four days of shooting.

We had a lot of people and we designed the set so it felt crammed.
...a proper English knees-up, and to create that sweaty, hot atmosphere.
So we kept the cameras back.

So all the cast weren't kept separate.
Often on sets cast are kept separate from extras
and there's a kind of elitism going on,
but we tried to integrate everyone.
A lot of gay Australians amongst the dancers there, um...


I wanted to hold back looking at Darcy,
seeing Darcy, for a while.
So you don't really see him clearly until Elizabeth sees him.
The whole idea of the film is to make it as subjective as possible.
So you're constantly seeing the world through her eyes.

We set the film in 1797 so we didn't have to go with
the empire line dresses the whole time.
I love Brenda in that shot, bless her. Always getting in there.

And then Caroline comes in wearing her empire line
and that means that she's the height of fashion, London fashion.

Not well shot, this whole section, I don't think.
It's a bit boring, which is a shame, seeing as it's the first time
they meet properly, but anyway... I just find that a bit flat.
But they're all doing lovely stuff.

Simon Woods, who plays Bingley, I dyed his hair red for this film.
And weirdly, it's continued to grow red, and he resents me deeply for that.
He was actually blond.

They're very cute together in this.
I like that move of Simon's there.
He almost goes the wrong way. I like the fact the dancing isn't perfect.

I think one of the great things about Matthew is his voice.
I think he has a beautiful voice, a real layered depth to his voice.

And it was a really lovely time with these people
from Lincolnshire where we shot it.
And they weren't professional extras, they were just locals,

Got all the actors to improvise as much as possible
to give it a kind of reality and a freshness.

She was a revelation to me, Keira Knightley,
and I learnt a lot from her.

[Elizabeth & Jane under the covers] 

Mmm, that was heaven, shooting a scene
under the covers with these two.
I wanted to kind of create a closeness.

These two spend their youth and childhood sleeping in the same bed and the story's really about who they
will end up sleeping in a bed with.

So they start very, very close, and then get further away from each other until, um, Jane is sleeping with her back to Elizabeth.
And Elizabeth can't talk to her anymore.

The relationship in the book between Jane and Elizabeth is a bit too syrupy.
I think Austen, actually, Jane Austen, was flattering her sister
a little too much.

Ooh, not sure about this shot.

Don't know if I'll be going quite so deeply
into the world of CGI in the future.

[Breakfast table at Longbourn]

This is an important scene. This scene, when we were shooting it, we kind of realised what the family was about.
They eat like a real family.
And they don't need to talk to each other,
they don't need to ask for things, ...they work as a unit.
Like swallows.

During the shoot, the dogs and the animaIs
were just left to wander as they wanted to.
That created a nice atmosphere.

When we first went to this house, I took the cast before I took any crew,
and told them this was their house and that the crew would be coming to visit.
And that they had to claim ownership of the house.

And they all played sardines on the first day
to find all the hidden corners of the house.

I think the rain looks appalling in that shot, but anyway...

Again, a nice touch from my designer, Sarah Greenwood,
dyeing ribbons with beetroot.

Another CGI shot. The sky is painted in afterwards and...
It's better than the other one. 
It's better than the moon.

Part 2 is coming up soon...so check back here to read more!



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