A Second 'Persuasion' Adaptation is in Development with Dakota Johnson

Dakota Johnson in "Fifty Shades of Grey" (Photo: Universal Pictures)

What a time to be a Jane Austen fan: It looks like we're getting not one but two new versions of Persuasion headed to our screens in the not too distant future. According to The Hollywood Reporter, streaming giant Netflix is producing its own updated take on Austen's final complete novel with actress Dakota Johnson set to star.

A new feature film version of Persuasion is already in the works with popular Succession actress Sarah Snook in the lead role, so it may come as a surprise to see another version follow so quickly on its heels. But Persuasion is one of Austen's least frequently adapted works - and one of her most underrated. The novel is a story of missed opportunities, regrets, and second chances that features one of the authors' most relatable romances. (As well as her oldest heroine. We love to see it!)

It follows the story of Anne Elliot, now an old maid at the age of 27 after rejecting the proposal of dirt poor naval officer Frederick Wentworth seven years prior. But when a still-single Wentworth returns from war a decorated captain and his and Anne's paths cross, she begins to wonder if she made the right decision all those years ago. 

This new Netflix adaptation will reportedly update the original story by giving it a modern-day setting and a more contemporary feel. (I doubt Wentworth will be a naval captain this time? Just a shot in the dark.) Johnson, probably best known for her role as Anastasia Steele in the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy will play Anne, though there is no word yet on who exactly might play her Wentworth. 

Theater director Carrie Cracknell, who helmed the production of Sea Wall/ A Life on Broadway, will make her feature filmmaking debut with the project. The script comes from veteran writer Ron Bass (Rain Man, My Best Friend's Wedding) and Alice Victoria Winslow.

What do you think of the prospect of another new take on Persuasion in 2021? Let's discuss in the comments.

Lacy Baugher

Lacy's love of British TV is embarrassingly extensive, but primarily centers around evangelizing all things Doctor Who, and watching as many period dramas as possible.

Digital media type by day, she also has a fairly useless degree in British medieval literature, and dearly loves to talk about dream poetry, liminality, and the medieval religious vision. (Sadly, that opportunity presents itself very infrequently.) York apologist, Ninth Doctor enthusiast, and unabashed Ravenclaw. Say hi on Threads or Blue Sky at @LacyMB. 

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