During what appeared to be his 13-year hiatus of directing, Whit Stillman moved to London and was trying to mount film productions there, which wasn’t an easy feat. Essentially, if one didn’t have the BBC and Film 4 involved on their project, it was hardly a go. One of the takeaways during this period for Stillman was his feature adaptation of Jane Austen’s unfinished novella Lady Susan about a sassy widow (Kate Beckinsale) who isn’t just trying to find a husband for herself, but her daughter, too. Sevigny is along for the ride as Lady Susan’s friend Alicia (Chloe Sevigny). The film is a U.S.-European co-production with Ireland, France, Netherlands and London’s Protagonist Pictures providing backing. Love & Friendship marks the onscreen reteam of Beckinsale and Sevigny, who were last seen in Stillman’s 1998 film The Last Days Of Disco.
At the Saturday premiere, the audience left the theater in stitches with Love & Friendship providing the perfect marriage between Stillman’s absurdist wit and Austen’s period manners, further propped by Beckinsale’s vibrant, rhythmic hysterical performance. After doing overtime on genre films such as the Underworld series and Total Recall, the actress returns to period comedy with the greatest of ease, reminiscent of her breakout role in 1995’s Cold Comfort Farm. During the fest’s onset, it was announced that Roadside Attractions was partnering with Amazon Studios on the theatrical release. As Stillman told Deadline during a dinner prior to the Love & Friendship premiere, “It’s the perfect date movie.”
Deadline’s Sundance production team includes Leica Camera USA, Rotolight, Ben Turok and Sydney Cahoon as camera operators, John Kreidler as DP and Sal Castellanos as editor.