Bridgerton's overwhelming popularity has already made waves in the television landscape, bringing regency romance to the forefront of streaming entertainment. Masterpiece PBS has revived Sanditon in its wake; Dakota Johnson is bidding to be taken seriously by playing Ann Eliott in a new version of Persuasion. Now Netflix is adding to the Jane Austen adaptation list with a contemporary Pride and Prejudice remake in the vein of Clueless for Emma, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and others, with The Netherfield Girls, starring Maitreyi Ramakrishnan.
Pride and Prejudice is easily the most popular and well-known of Jane Austen's novels. The story has had a dozen officially named adaptations since 1938 and at least another dozen "rom-coms" that borrow heavily from the romantic aspects of the story. The Netherfield Girl promises to be a feast of references for the Janeite, starting with the film's name, an obvious reference to the novel's fictional estate, Netherfield Park. Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, who recently became one of Netflix's most recent teen breakout stars in Mindy Kaling's Never Have I Ever, will play Lizzie Bennet, though how much like her counterpart she is remains to be seen.
According to Variety, the movie is "a romantic comedy with literary pedigree" and described as "a fresh and contemporary take on Pride and Prejudice in the spirit of the Emma Stone teen comedy Easy A and 10 Things I Hate About You. Ramakrishnan will portray Lizzie Bennet, the protagonist of Jane Austen's classic novel who eventually discovers the man she thinks is Mr. Wrong is in fact, Mr. Right.
For the classic Jane Austen fan, that might not sound promising since it suggests the film will be losing the satire of social mores that defines Austen from other romances of the period. But the fact is, most of these "contemporary remakes" rarely transfer the wit and wisdom of the books because translating that sort of humor from the 1810s to the 21st century doesn't work so well. Both Clueless and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries did it by satirizing the high school experience and their respective eras (the '90s and the '00s). But unless the film plans a high school set romp, it's doubtful such things will translate.
Unlike Persuasion, which hurried directly into production upon being announced last month, The Netherfield Girls is not launching into filming right away. The project was only recently sold to Netflix by director Becca Gleason (Summer '03) from an original script she wrote. No word yet on who will play a young Darcy or Collins, but considering that Netflix tends to bring back the same talent from other projects, fans shouldn't be surprised if at least a few more recognizable names turn up on the roster in the coming months.
There is no release date for The Netherfield Girls as of yet either, though considering Netflix's tendency to work ahead by an entire year, viewers shouldn't be surprised if this turns up sometime in 2022.