A conversation with director, screenwriter and author Whit Stillman, whose latest work, Love & Friendship, is both a film and book. Hosted by Richard Wolinsky.
Early in his career, after directing such films as Metropolitan, Barcelona and The Last Days of Disco, Whit Stillman was called “the WASP Woody Allen.” Then he hit what he calls “director’s prison,” and it took him well over a decade before he returned to directing with Damsels in Distress. His latest film, Love & Friendship, is based on an early Jane Austen novella, and not only has been getting the best reviews of his career, but has become an arthouse hit. At the same time as the film was released, his novelization was also published. The book contains not only his work, but the original Jane Austen story.
Love and Friendship is based on the Jane Austen story, Lady Susan, and features a heroine who seems far more contemporary than most characters of the same era. It’s why Whit Stillman was drawn to the story. That it was in the public domain obviously helped, as Stillman points out. The result is a witty film that forces the audience to think. The book takes the screenplay and reimagines it as a defense of Lady Susan written by her nephew several years after the events take place.
In this wide-ranging interview recorded on June 9, 2016, Whit Stillman discusses the book, the film, Jane Austen, and his career as a director. A shorter version of this interview airs on the Bookwaves radio program.