EXCLUSIVE: Focus Features has found a writer for Longbourn, the period pic based on the novel that reimagines Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice from the point of view of the servants at the Bennet family estate. Angela Workman has come aboard to adapt the Jo Baker novel that Focus acquired rights to in February to co-produce with Random House Studio. The book is set to be published this fall by Transworld in the UK, Alfred A. Knopf in the U.S., and Random House in Canada. Workman, repped by Gersh and UK-based Sayle Screen, is no stranger to the adaptation game. Her credits include Snow Flower And The Secret Fan, based on the Lisa See novel, and she wrote the script based on Diane Ackerman’s nonfiction best-seller The Zookeeper’s Wife for Annapurna Pictures. She also penned the historical tale Bronte for DreamWorks, and she is just wrapping work on an untitled biopic of Depression-era photojournalist Dorothea Lange.to be produced by David Fincher and directed by Leslie Dektor.
Longbourn‘s story goes where Austen did not, focusing on the constant chaos swirling downstairs, the preparation for lavish balls, and the housekeeper’s real thoughts about the family patriarch. But it will also reveal the tragic consequences of the Napoleonic Wars and explore a romance between a newly arrived footman and a housemaid, the novel’s main characters. Focus EVP International Production Teresa Moneo is supervising Longbourn for Focus president of production Jeb Brody and Random House Studio president Peter Gethers.