Filmmaker Whit Stillman has long trafficked in films about manners – typically, very bad ones, but hilarious nonetheless – so his choice to adapt Jane Austen’s unfinished novella “Lady Susan” to the big screen as the film “Love & Friendship” is very much a natural fit. Austen’s books, revered for their own depiction of the wacky ways the supposedly civilized interact, also tend to be quite amusing, and “Lady Susan” is no different.
For his take on the tale of a ruthless and dedicated flirt and the people she entangles herself with, Stillman brought back a pair of familiar leading ladies in Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny. The “Last Days of Disco” stars again play best friends in the feature, with Beckinsale taking the lead as the untamable flirt Lady Susan and Sevigny serving as her far more steady American pal Alicia Johnson. The film follows Lady Susan’s various attempts to marry off her daughter, snag a man of her own and live off the goodwill of increasingly annoyed family and friends.
The film’s first trailer cannily shows off some of the worst of Lady Susan’s behavior in amusing fashion, while also finding the time to highlight a few of the film’s other big highlights, namely Tom Bennett as the uproariously dumb Sir James Martin. He’s bound to become your new favorite Stillman supporting character, which is pretty much what happened when the film debuted at Sundance earlier this year. The film also stars Xavier Samuel, Morfydd Clark, Emma Greenwell, James Fleet, Jemma Redgrave, Justin Edwards, Jenn Murray and Stephen Fry.
“Love & Friendship” opens on May 13. Watch the first trailer above.
Check out the trailer for Stillman’s classic “Metropolitan” below.