Autumn de Wilde is a photographer lauded for her incredible images of rock bands, musicians and other stars. She also filmed short films in a famed ad campaign from Prada, starring Elijah Wood and many other famous actors and models. But for her, the true rock star is Jane Austen herself, and in an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk she revealed why.
In an interview on podcast Table Manners with Jessie Ware, Emma star Callum Turner revealed he believed his director, Autumn de Wilde, to be a “rock star director wth punk DNA.”
Asked about this, de Wilde had an answer for who is the true rockstar.
She said: “I think Jane Austen has punk DNA. They weren’t even allowed too be funny in that time period.
“Women weren’t allowed to be funny or witty in that time period and God, was she funny.
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Emma director praises ‘punk rock’ Jane Austen for THIS reason
“She created the first female anti-hero… I could be wrong about that but it seems pretty legendary to have created a character like that.
“I think women are very punk rock – we have to hide a lot – we’re not allowed to say we have periods in public. Somehow we’re still not OK with that.
“But it’s really interesting to go back in time and this story is so iconic – it could be translated so successfully like it was in Clueless to an American high school but I was really interested in time travelling as well.”
Speaking about her own background in bringing this story to life, there was a sense, for de Wilde, that doing something almost unexpected was the essence of “punk rock.”
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She continued: “Sometimes it feels punk rock to not be punk rock. A lot of the bands I’ve shot, when they heard I was going to do this movie, were like, ‘this is so perfect’ in that rock and roll atmosphere.
“My friend, a guitarist, said I used to bring the comfort into rock and I was always making and crafting and designing things and making their world a little dream like. It all makes sense to me.”
Of course, not only does de Wilde have a sense of rockstar sensibility to bring to Emma, which stars Anya Taylor-Joy in the title role and folk singer Johnny Flynn as Mr Knightley, but also the “outsider” view as an American making a quintessentially English film.
On this, she said: “I’m a fan of spaghetti western and that was an incredible thing of an Italian making an American western.
Emma and Mr Knightley together at the ball
“I think sometimes the outside view is really interesting – I have an obsessive outside view having an English mum but being raised in LA which is very far away from being raised in England.
“My own obsession with who I would be if I had been raised in England is part of the creativity of this.”
As well as an English feel to the film, de Wilde also brought her own stamp, which can also be seen in her Prada shorts where the vibrant colours are “delicious” for the viewer.
She added: “The similarity you see between the Prada films and this is accurate because the way I judge colour is if it feels edible.
Bill Nighy as Mr Woodhouse in Emma
“People are drawn to things that look delicious so it’s a really basic pastry shop technique.
“I think with the thousands of ways to do something, if it feels like the combination of colours is like delicious pastry or a chocolate shop, then you know you’re on the right track.
“I feel it crosses the ‘this is a girl thing’ and ‘this is a boy thing,’ because everybody likes cake… I think, I mean if you don’t, what’s wrong with you?”
She continued: “I think colour is such great storytelling tool and I love a pastel world of perfection with a real grumpy girl in it.
Callum Turner as Frank Churchill in Emma
“To me that is hilarious, so it can serve a purpose of being romantic and nostalgic and beautiful, but it can also be really useful in comedy.”
There certainly is a grumpy girl in it, surrounded by vibrant, iconic characters which many will remember from their time reading Jane Austen.
Big Austen fans will likely be champing at the bit to see this movie, and now they can.
Emma is in cinemas now