Monday, September 12, 2011

Joy's Search for Jane Eyre

And the search for Jane Eyre continues! This time it resumes with a new follower of mine, Joy. I ran into Joy's blog, Turn Pages, Press Leaves, not too long ago and immediately fell in love with it. In her writing and photography dwells the true artistic spirit. She, like the rest of us slightly-insane lit lovers, is a true Jane Eyre fan who gladly accepted my invitation to do a guest post. I do, however, owe her an apology because I'm not the timeliest "email checker". If it had not been for my sporadic thought process, you might have actually gotten to read this great post two days ago when I told myself to check my email multiple times but never did. I just looked into my inbox a few minutes ago, and after reading this I felt it a matter of necessity to write up the introduction and put up the post as soon as I could. It's absolutely lovely, and I will be the first to say that I agree with everything that you're about to read. If you enjoy these opinions as much as I do, then I encouraged you to take a look at Joy's blog (and follow it). 

Joy's Search for Jane Eyre
Like so many others before me, Jane Eyre swallowed me up the moment I opened to the first page.  It’s an interesting thing, really, because it is everything I dislike in a novel: written in first person, with a female narrator.  The female narrator has been my bane for as long as I can remember. And yet along came Jane, and threw that out the window.  I’m not saying that I’m running around willy nilly looking for books that follow this formula – because I’m not.  But I will say that I discovered a sort of friend in Jane.
 Here’s another interesting point.  I very rarely concoct specific images of characters in my mind.  In fact, I never do.  They are all strangely faceless in my mind, but for some reason, that never seems to draw away from the experience.  It does make it particularly awesome when they adapt a story I like to film, and cast someone that just “clicks” in my head.  I will say that for Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender.  But as history has already dictated,Jane Eyre is so well loved that someone else is bound to make another adaptation in the next few years, and surely there are many options for new and wonderful Janes.  So why not enjoy the “what-if” factor here?  I will forewarn I have made a few unconventional choices.  But bear with me, folks.
 And may I take a moment to fangirl a little bit about guest posting on this terrific blog?  It’s such a pleasure to read an intelligent journal such as this one, written by an equally intelligent young writer, and it is certainly a privilege to get to write for it!
 And now...onto the Janes.
 Kate Maberly

 You may recognize Kate Maberly from 1993’s The Secret Garden, one of my childhood favourites.  Though her age is working against her now, I feel that she has a youthful enough appearance that she could pull it off.  But aside from such a cosmetic factor, Kate has great subtlety, and I wish she appeared in more films.  She isn’t conventionally pretty either; in fact I would say she’s rather plain (does this description sound familiar?), but she has the captivating eyes I always imagined Jane to have – mostly because Bronte said it was so.  Plus, if you’ve seen Secret Garden, you know that she can do the stubborn hiding-my-true-feelings bit pretty convincingly.  At least, she could when she was eleven.  I assume like wine, those sorts of things get better with age.
 Sarah Bolger

 I will admit up front I have not seen a whole lot of Sarah Bolger’s acting, other than some bits of the Tudors (which I sorely need to catch up on, if anyone cares to know), but from what I have seen, I’ve found her to be fairly good, and definitely worth looking out for.  She’s about the right age too (20), and if you imagine that Jane-esque hair style on her, I believe you might be surprised at what you find.  Although I will admit she would require colour contacts.  But I love her complexion for Jane, and though she’s really quite pretty, she’s not glaringly so.  Take away the lipstick and the mascara, and I think a fine Jane lies underneath.  And just look at her expression in that picture!  Well composed, and maybe even a little bit snarky; just how I always imagined her in those early conversations with Rochester.
 Elle Fanning

 Okay, okay, hear me out!  She is way too young at the moment, which I realize, but I believe that in a few years, Elle could make a really good Jane – even if she’s American.  Why not just throw Dakota into the mix then?  Well, I’ll tell you.  Dakota is good, but Elle has that ethereal quality that I always imagine Jane to possess.  I am a huge lover of fantasy, and I think that may be why I latched onto all those endearing comments of Rochester’s about Jane’s impish qualities.  Elle has already shown that she is capable of great things, and I think in some ways, she may even be more versatile than her sister.  Imagine some dark hair on that girl, and I think she may just be able to capture that magical aspect of Jane’s existence, and also that complete innocence to the ways of the world.  Paired with the right Rochester, I think Elle could pull it off. 
 Charlotte Riley

 If you’re a Wuthering Heights fan (which I admittedly am not), you’ll know Charlotte as Catherine.  I think she did a good job of playing that character, and her Northern accent is truly endearing.  Again, not classically pretty, but still a captivating actress to watch.  Judging from her performance as Catherine, I think Charlotte could bring a great deal of raw passion to Jane’s character, especially in the proposal scene.  And I think she would do excellently against whoever was cast as St. John.
 Now, I would like to give an honorable mention to Tamzin Merchant, who actually plays Mary in the new Jane Eyre.  I personally think she has the look...

 ...and I think she may even have the acting chops.  But I exclude her from my main list only because I loved her so dearly as Mary, and wish that there had been more of the character.  Alack.  Such is the way with feature film adaptations.
 Hope you enjoyed!  Cheers all!


Turn Pages, Press Leaves


  1. thank you SO much for this post and your compliment. I really appreciate you taking the time to write a few words for me.

    I loved your "Janes"! I must say that the Elle Fanning was a daring choice, but I absolutely agree with you. She is very pixie-like and much more pleasing to watch on screen than her sister. Sarah Bolger popped into my mind as well (and by the way, I am a great "Tudor" fan). I never would have thought of Kate Maberly, surprisingly, but you have a very good point. Of course, I haven't seen her in anything BUT the Secret Garden so I don't have much to go by. As for Charlotte Riley; another great choice with a great accent and great acting ability. She would be fully capable of bringing out the spirited side of Jane.

    I've probably read this post over and over and I only got it fifteen minutes ago! I hope to see more from you, and thanks again. :)

  2. You are absolutely welcome! It was great fun researching and writing this post for you. I'm glad you liked my choices...I have to say it was rather difficult, because you and Lady Disdain had found so many terrific candidates already. :)

  3. Ooh, I absolutely agree with your pick of Kate Maberly - you're completely right, she does have that youthful appearance and the captivating eyes. The Secret Garden's the only movie I've seen her in, though, but as you say she was very talented in that and very young, too, so hopefully she's only developed that talent. Have a strong urge to watch Secret Garden again. Or A Little Princess. *sigh*

    Elle Fanning's an interesting choice - she is very pixie-like as Lit Lover says, and I think would make a Jane when she's a few years older. Great post!

  4. Oh, and Tamzin Merchant played Georgiana Darcy in Pride & Prejudice 2005 right? I think I actually let out a little gasp of surprise at her appearance while watching Jane Eyre :P

  5. Yes, I loved Tamzin as Georgiana. She was also the fifteen year-old third wife (I think it was Katherine?) of Henry VIII in "The Tudors". Great actress. I love seeing her, though I don't think she would be quite right as Jane.