They say in life there are no bad experiences, just lessons learned. If so, interviewing the wonderful cast and crew of the web television show “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” was one hell of a life lesson.
We wanted to do this interview with the whole cast and crew together, but the series had wrapped, and so the only chance we had to do it was at a bar — the St. Francis — in Hollywood. They were doing some transmedia stuff to give the show its “After the Happily Ever After” on social media. We had one shot before they all “went their separate directions.”
Turns out, there are two bars in Hollywood called the “St. Francis” — one in West Hollywood and one in Hollywood proper. I picked the wrong one. By the time I got to the right one, it was too difficult to do a group interview, so we had to then interview them one by one, starting with some of the more ancillary characters on the show. And then, right in the middle of our interview with Jay Bushman, the night manager of the St. Francis threw us out of the bar for not having a “filming permit.” So we couldn’t even do interviews with the main characters. Annoying, right?
And then, somewhere along the way, after we made the following transcription, all the interview footage we’d shot disappeared as well. Long story short, I think this “Lizzie Bennet Diaries” interview might have a curse surrounding it. But we managed to do interviews with all the main characters, and as such, we’ve now managed to talk to most of the “Lizzie Bennet Diaries” family. So today, for part two of our “Lizzie Bennet Diary” trilogy, feast on our delightful interviews with the supporting cast and a couple of the crew. And don’t be surprised when the interview comes to an abrupt end — it seemed only fitting for this story.
How did you come to be associated with “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries”?
Jenni Powell (Producer): I have been friends with Bernie Su and Hank Green, which are the two creators of the show. Ironically, I had been having conversations with Hank Green about adapting a novel to YouTube for a while, and then, independently, he actually ran into Bernie Su at a YouTube event, because the big piece of the puzzle Hank was missing was that both he and I are not writers. I’m a great producer, he’s wonderful at many things, but neither one of us is a creative writer. So he ran into Bernie Su at a YouTube event, and, through conversation, they realized they both knew me and that kind of formulated the trifecta that started this whole journey on its way.
Jessica Jade Andres (Caroline): Well, it was interesting because I was submitted by my agent, but then my friend actually knew Bernie from working on a series, and she told him ‘cause she knew they were casting that part. She was like, “I know a great girl who would be good for it,” so it was actually two things working at the same time, and then just came in and read and then back and read with Ashley. And yeah, Bernie called and was like, “Hey.”
Allison Paige (Gigi): I got an audition from my agent, and like any good actor I did my research and watched pretty much I think like 60 videos in a night on YouTube, and I got sucked in [laughs]. I started watching a couple to sort of do my research and then I ended up getting sucked into the story.
Maxwell Glick (Mr. Collins): I auditioned for it just like any other audition. I went in, I read the actual first episode that Mr. Collins was in — and that was my scene — and I actually read with Ashley, who plays Lizzie.
Be honest — had you read “Pride & Prejudice” before you got the part?
Jessica: I read it a long, long time ago in then — I don’t even know — 7th grade or 8th grade, and then when I was auditioning I re-read it not because I was auditioning, but it just so happened that I was reading it and the audition came up, and I was like, “Oh, that’s cool.” And it’s awesome! Actually, it’s a really great book.
Allison: I read “Pride and Prejudice” back in like freshmen year or sophomore year of high school, and then I saw the movie as well, so I was pretty familiar with the story.
Maxwell: Yes, actually read it in high school with my favorite English teacher, so I remembered it very well.
Julia Cho (Charlotte): I did read “Pride and Prejudice” back in high school initially, required reading. We had to read it and had to study it and write about it, but right when the web series started, I did go back and revisit the novel, ‘cause I have my own copy [laughs]. So yeah, I was actually reading along with the show for a while once the episodes aired, and it was really neat to just kind of compare the two, the original source and our web series, and how the show kind of translated the novel to modern times.