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In Retrospect: Brenda Blethyn, Donald Sutherland, Judi Dench, and Penelope Wilton joined Pride & Prejudice cast on this day a decade ago!

On this day, 10 years ago (July 14th, 2004), more cast for  Joe Wright's first feature film, Pride & Prejudice (2005) has been announced including the vets Brenda Blethyn as Mrs. Bennet, Donald Sutherland as Mr. Bennet, Judi Dench as Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and as Mrs. Gardiner. Read Joe Wright On Casting P&P '05 Actors.

Also, Tom Hollander as Mr. Collins and Simon Woods as Mr. Bingley were mentioned in the casting news announcement in the same day. No mention of the rest of the cast (ie. Carey MulliganTalulah Riley, Rupert Friend, Kelly Reilly, and Claudie Blakley).

But here are a list The P&P 2005 Official Cast: 

Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen, Rosamund Pike, Jena MaloneCarey MulliganTalulah Riley, Rupert Friend, Brenda Blethyn, Donald Sutherland, Judi Dench, Tom Hollander, Simon Woods, Kelly Reilly, Claudie Blakley, Peter Wight

The cast of Pride & Prejudice at the
P&P London Premiere, September 5, 2005.
"Got all the actors to improvise as much as possible to give it a kind of reality and a freshness." (Joe Wright)  
"The next decision was to cast the actors according to their characters' ages in the book. A young cast for the story about first love. The hunt for Elizabeth became easy once Tim (Bevan) said "Go to Montreal and meet Keira. If you like her and she likes you, you have a movie." We went, we loved her, Keira said "yes," and we had a movie. The search for Darcy was a long one. We meet everyone, but there was never really any doubt that it would always be our first choice, Matthew Macfadyen. Three of our teenagers had never acted before: Carey Mulligan ("Kitty"), Talulah Riley ("Mary"), and Tamzin Merchant ("Georgiana"). Balance was required, so along with Keira, we cast Jena Malone, at nineteen a veteran of more than 20 films. Donald Sutherland, Brenda Blethyn, Judi Dench added weight and experience to our youthful cocktail." (Paul Webster, P&P producer)  
Joe Wright on Casting Donald Sutherland, Brenda Blethyn, Judi Dench, Simon Woods, and Tom Hollander...

Donald Sutherland as Mr. Bennet 
Joe: Donald took a little bit more persuasion. Donald, I asked to play the role because I had seen him for many years over in many great roles and then lastly in Cold Mountain, which I thought he was extraordinary in and showed a great tenderness and I was interested in that aspect of his nature. So I offered him the role and we entered into a very long email correspondence during which he talked to me about what I thought of the history of agricultural farming in the late 18th to early 19th century [laughing] and other such questions, and tested me quite a lot. Then when he arrived for the first day of rehearsals he walked into the rehearsal studio and there were the five Bennet daughters and Mrs. Bennet and they all stood and curtsied for him and he practically melted on the spot.
Question: He plays a very powerful role without being outwardly powerful.
Joe: He's a powerful guy, he's the proper alpha male and I needed someone with that strength to control those five daughters.
Question: Was he able to?
Joe: Yeah perfectly.

Brenda Blethyn as Mrs. Bennet 
Joe: "It's a tricky part, as she can be very annoying; you want to stop her chattering and shrieking. But Brenda has the humor and the heart to show the amount of love and care Mrs. Bennet has for her daughters. Mrs. Bennet has a very serious problem, which nobody except she is taking seriously; she has five daughters, for whom she has to find husbands, and eligible men are not so common around Longbourn. When the militia are billeted in the village of Meryton, she's delighted."

Judi Dench as Lady Catherine 
Question: How about casting Judi Dench [and Donald Sutherland]?
Joe: Judi Dench I wrote a letter to saying, "I love it when you're a bitch. Please come and be a bitch for me," and she must have giggled or something and she did it.

Simon Woods as Mr. Bingley 
Question: And Simon Woods is cast as Mr. Bingley and is Rosamund's ex-boyfriend?
Joe: That was an interesting little dynamic. Simon and Rosa had a relationship some years prior, they'd been split up for like two years. They hadn't seen each other for two years, since they had broken up and on the first day of rehearsals they walked onto set and there they were playing opposite each other.
Question: When did they find out they were both in the film?
Joe: They'd only found out the night before the first day. [laughing]
Question: Was that you that held that back?
Joe: Well actually I tried hard not to cast Simon because I had cast Rosa and I didn't want to hurt anyone. I didn't want to make life difficult for anyone and I thought it might be awkward for them so I tried very hard to find another Bingley, but I had worked with Simon and I knew that he was brilliant and I knew that he was perfect for Mr. Bingley.

Tom Hollander as Mr. Collins
Q. How did you come to cast [Donald Sutherland and] Tom Hollander? And did you ever have to rein them in, particularly Tom Hollander?
A:I prefer actors who go over the top to those that don’t go far enough, because you can always rein actors in – it’s more difficult to bring it out of actors. It was quite easy to tell Tom he was going too far, and to pull it back a bit. We met a number of actors for Mr. Collins and each played it in a different way. One actor came in and played him as Tony Blair! Tom came in and you always want someone to surprise you, to not play it as you specifically imagined. He came in and played him as this weird little guy who couldn’t quite manage to communicate in the way that he wanted to, and couldn’t understand why not everyone respected him as much as he respected himself. They didn’t take him seriously and he’d tried all his life to be taken seriously, and I thought that was exciting and something I hadn’t seen. It surprised me, and I liked to be surprised.

Here's an article from July 14th, 2004...

From ScreenDaily.com:
Dench, Sutherland round out Pride cast

Judi Dench, Donald Sutherland, Brenda Blethyn, Tom Hollander and Penelope Wilton have joined the cast of Working Title Films’ Pride And Prejudice 

Principal photography starts on July 19 on the adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel. The film, which stars Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen, Rosamund Pike and
Jena Malone, will shoot entirely on location around England until October.
Joe Wright will make his directing debut on the film, which Deborah Moggach’s has adapted faithfully to the period of the novel.

Producing duties are shared by Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner for Working Title and Paul Webster. Executive producers are Debra Hayward and Liza Chasin, while Jane Frazer is co-producer.

LONDON -- Donald Sutherland, Brenda Blethyn, Judi Dench and Penelope Wilton have joined the cast of Working Title's upcoming adaptation of the classic Jane Austen novel "Pride and Prejudice."

Sutherland and Blethyn will play Mr and Mrs Bennet, the parents of the story's romantic heroine Elizabeth (Keira Knightley). Dench will take a cameo as the snobbish aristocratic aunt of the hero Mr. Darcy (Matthew Macfadyen). 

Pic is directed by Joe Wright and will be distributed by Universal. It starts shooting July 19 on location around England. Other cast members include Tom Hollander, Rosamund Pike, Jena Malone and Simon Woods.
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