Dakota Johnson has signed on to star in a modern adaptation of Jane Austen‘s last novel, Persuasion, for Netflix. Theatre director Carrie Cracknell will make her feature directorial debut.
She directed Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Sturridge to Tony nominations last year in Sea Wall/A Life on Broadway. Ron Bass (Rain Man) has co-written the script with Alice Victoria Winslow.
Austen’s novel revolves around Anne Elliot, a non-conforming woman with modern sensibilities who lives with her snobby family on the brink of bankruptcy. When her dashing ex Frederick Wentworth comes crashing back into her life, Anne must choose whether to put the past behind her or listen to her heart when it comes to second chances.
Netflix and MRC Entertainment, who are developing the project together, describe the adaptation as “modern, witty approach to a beloved story” that will still remain true to Austen’s novel, which was published just after her death in 1817.
The book has been adapted several times before for both television – miniseries in 1960 and 1971, made for TV films in 1995 and 2007 – and the stage – five adaptations between 2010 and 2018 – but curiously, never for film.
Johnson has consistently acted in interesting projects over the last few years, including genre films like Suspiria and Bad Times At The El Royale, and indies such as The Peanut Butter Falcon and Our Friend.
Her interesting resume looks like it will continue, as she’s got Maggie Gyllenhaal‘s directorial debut The Lost Daughter lined up, as well as Stephanie Allynne and Tig Notaro‘s indie Am I OK?
Production on Persuasion is expected to begin next month. We’ll wait and see how the film turns out. If it’s a success, don’t be surprised to see Netflix commissioning other Austen adaptations.