Emma has gotten a reboot, set to be released next February by Focus Features. The beloved Jane Austen classic has been adapted into a film starring The Witch actress Anya Taylor-Joy as Emma Woodhouse and directed by photographer Autumn de Wilde, who is making a move into filmmaking. (She’s directed a number of music videos for the likes of Beck and Rilo Kiley). As expected, the trailer is visually stunning, rendered in de Wilde's trademark buttery color palette.
In addition to Taylor-Joy, the cast includes British rom-com mainstay Bill Nighy as Mr. Woodhouse, The Crown’s Josh O’Connor as Mr. Elton, Mia Goth as the beleaguered Harriet Smith, and Lovesick’s Johnny Flynn as Mr. Knightley. In case you skipped some English classes, the plot of Emma goes like this: in 19th century England, upper-class, charming, beautiful Emma Woodhouse decides to embark on a matchmaking scheme. It does not go great (but all ends well). It is a very sweet story.
Emma has already been subject to multiple adaptations: there was a 1996 BBC series starring Kate Beckinsale and a Douglas McGrath film starring Gwyneth Paltrow–in which her accent was so good that everyone started thinking she was British–also released in 1996. But the most popular and enduring Emma adaptation might just be Clueless, the 1995 absolutely perfect teen film in which the Emma figure becomes a Beverly Hills teenager. No one can top Clueless. Amy Heckerling and Alicia Silverstone reign supreme. But Emma is a delightful property, and this new one looks fun!
Taylor-Joy seems to be having a rollicking good time in the trailer, in which she rolls her eyes at men and opens carriage doors with attitude and wears a really fabulous fur-trimmed look. It’s a different sort of role for the actress, who usually takes on darker material. “[As a child] I would go off into the woods and play out seven different characters,” she told W in a 2017 cover story. “I think I was purging emotions, and by putting them into a story, I felt lighter. I do feel things so intensely.”
Watch the decidedly not-dark trailer, below.