In August, I talked about this fabulous book, Unleashing Mr. Darcy by Teri Wilson, which is a fun modern P&P rewrite. Now, with the new year ringing in we also have the treat of seeing this awesome retelling in film form. Hallmark Channel’s version of Unleashing will air January 23rd, 2016 and I for one just can’t wait! I’m also dying to know if they kept my favorite scene for the movie.
Starring General Hospital‘s Ryan Paevey and Heartland‘s Cindy Busby, we are sure to have a gem to add to our Jane Austen DVD libraries!
Author of the book-turned-movie, Teri Wilson, graciously agreed to talk with me about the book, the movie, and what it was like to hear it would be produced.
Emmy: What inspired you to write a modern version of Pride & Prejudice?
Teri: I first had the idea for Unleashing Mr. Darcy while I was at a dog show. I used to show my Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Bliss and Finn. There’s quite a bit of down-time at dog shows between grooming the dogs and waiting for your turn in the ring. I was hanging out ringside reading Pride & Prejudice, as it’s always been a favorite book of mine. (I also love all the retellings, too!) Showing my dogs always made me really nervous, and I just kind of started wondering what it would be like if Mr. Darcy was the judge. It would certainly be intimidating (and also amazing). I tossed the idea for the book around in my head for nearly a year before I actually began writing it. I honestly thought no one would ever be interested in it. I though it was too much of a niche idea. But I kept dreaming up scenes and conversations between the characters, and I finally had to just get it down.
Emmy: What is your favorite scene in the book?
Teri: My favorite scene in the book is when Mr. Darcy takes Elizabeth and her dog to the Orangery at Kensington Palace in London. Kensington Palace Gardens is probably my favorite place on earth, so that particular scene is very special to me. I actually moved that scene around several times and almost deleted it entirely because it just wasn’t working, but as soon as I moved it seven chapters forward in the book, it worked. I also have a soft spot for the scene at the champagne bar at Harrods. I should probably mention that the movie takes place in the U.S. instead of the U.K. but the spirit of the story is very much the same as the book.
Emmy: The Orangery is my favorite scene in the book too! I’m so happy you kept it. Did you ever think you’d see the book on screen and what did you do when you heard it had been picked up for shooting?
Teri: Oh my goodness, no. I never imagined it would be a movie. In the beginning, the sales for this book were not stellar. But it’s held on. It’s actually done pretty well now. When my agent called and told me it had been optioned for film, I broke down and cried. I just couldn’t believe it. Of course I cried again when I found out that it was going into production…I was writing at my favorite cupcake bakery when I got that call, and I think everyone in the bakery thought something was wrong. Then a friend showed up with champagne, and I got myself together enough to share the news. It is ridiculous how many tears I’ve shed throughout this movie experience. I’m not actually a big crier, but this has been such a dream come true that sometimes I’m just a weepy mess.
Emmy: I’ve been watching the progression of this whole process on your Facebook page and I have to admit, I’ve shed a few tears of happiness as you’ve passed certain landmarks. What an awesome thing to watch and your enthusiasm for the situation is infectious! Have you already seen the movie, or are you going to be watching it with the rest of us? Will you have a party?
Teri: I have not seen the movie, and I highly doubt I will before it premieres on January 23
. The movie was filmed on an accelerated schedule because the network was really keen on airing it in January. My producer tells me they will be working on all the details up until the last minute. I’ve read the script, though. And I was on-set for some of the filming, so I have a really good idea of what the movie will look like. I couldn’t be happier. From the casting to Mr. Darcy’s mansion to the costumes…even the dogs. Everything is exactly how I always pictured it in my head.
I’m having a viewing party for my family and close friends the night of the premiere. We’ll be watching the movie live on a big movie theater screen, and we’ve got a red carpet and everything. It should be an amazing night.
Emmy: So exciting! If you could see any of your other books on film, which would you choose next?
Teri: Unleashing Mr. Darcy would have been my first choice, hands-down, simply because so much of myself is in that story. It’s hard for me to choose what I’d like to come next. Any of them, to be honest! ha ha. But if it were up to me, it would be either Unmasking Juliet or Alaskan Homecoming. I love ballet, so I would really, really love to see Alaskan Homecoming onscreen as it has a ballerina heroine. Unmasking Juliet would also be gorgeous because it’s set in the wine country, has a chocolate theme and some really great dogs.
Emmy: I agree. Unmasking Juliet runs a close second to Unleashing as my favorite book. I’ve yet to read Alaskan Homecoming, but I love the idea of Alaska and ballet together. I don’t think I ever seen that before. Where can readers find out more about you and your books?
Emmy: Do you have any new books coming out?
Teri: My newest book is Alaskan Sanctuary, which is part of my Alaska series for Harlequin Love Inspired. I’m very excited about this book because it’s set on a wolf sanctuary and was great fun to write. The print book is in stores now and the Kindle version comes out on January 1.
I also have a new classic retelling coming out in March from Tule Publishing called The Art of Passion. It’s a fun romantic comedy version of the Pygmalion/My Fair Lady story with fine arts theme. I loved writing this book and incorporating all sorts of fun artsy details.
Emmy: Ohhh! I can’t wait to read these. Thank you for joining me here on the blog. I know your readers are going to love hearing about your journey. Is there anything you’d like to say to the readers?
Teri: Thanks so much for this! I’d love to encourage everyone to watch the movie when it premieres on January 23 and to live-tweet their reactions during the show using the hashtag #unleashingmrdarcy. Let’s get Mr. Darcy trending!
Thank you so much Teri for chatting with me. And now, for a special treat, the trailer of Unleashing Darcy premiering on the Hallmark Channel January 23rd, 2016. Synchronize your watches for swoon!
Tagged: cindy busby, hallmark, love, movie, mr. darcy, romance, ryan paevey, teri wilson, unleashing darcy