The Lizzie Bennet Diaries Youtube web-series is an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that has expanded the world of Austen so effectively that we have fallen head-over-heels with the newly developed characters.

You won’t find any hate against the Pride and Prejudice source material here, we adore Jane Austen’s novel (not to mention Mr Darcy). But what The Lizzie Bennet Diaries has managed to do is improve on those supporting characters who Austen just didn’t have the space to develop in her original novel. We believe this in-universe expansion is only a good thing.

Given the choice between added scenes involving zombie hunting, added sex scenes, and expanded character development – we’ll take the third option. It’s not about “fixing” Austen, it’s about bringing this 200 year old story to a modern audience. These reinventions have been so effective by the team behind The Lizzie Bennet Diaries that there are four supporting characters who have been standouts in the web-series in a way that would have been impossible in Austen’s original novel.

Charlotte Lu

While the diverse casting is wonderful, the most interesting thing about Charlotte is not how her surname has changed, but the ways her character has. For the first time, we can actually see that Lizzie and Charlotte’s friendship was based on more than mere proximity. Portrayed by the wonderful Julia Cho, we see Charlotte standing up to Lizzie at various points in the series, making their friendship both more interesting and more believable.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries have also striven to show Charlotte as a character in her own right. She is a successful woman in her new job, which is the modern twist on the Collins proposal. And Charlotte is also forced to take responsibility for the way she convinces Collins to offer her the job, an aspect which is usually left unaddressed. Their reunion is the better for these changes, and their relationship provides a grounding to the show and to Lizzie herself.

Lydia Bennet

The development of Lydia has been the most dramatic (and often controversial) reinvention. Lydia’s actions provide the impetus for the entire final section of the novel, but usually we are only told that Lydia is the bad guy, shaming her family and being a general nuisance. We haven’t see the reasoning behind Lydia’s decisions, the hurt she feels after being left out by her older sisters, or the real attraction she has to Wickham – not until now.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries has not diminished Lydia. Instead, through some spectacular acting by Mary Kate Wiles, we see her slowly falling for Wickham and becoming alienated from her family. So can we blame her for her actions? In past adaptations (and the novel) the audience has been just as judgemental of Lydia as Elizabeth is. How refreshing to see an adaptation that makes Lydia’s journey just as important as Lizzie’s.

Caroline Lee

Caroline was an unlikely candidate for development, given her relative unimportance in the grand scheme of Pride and Prejudice. But suddenly in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, we understand the way in which Caroline subtly manipulates everyone around her, as shown wonderfully by Jessica Jade Andres. The decision to make Caroline and Lizzie friends has allowed Caroline to be a more powerful personality, using Lizzie’s own prejudices against her.

Making Caroline aware of the videos (while Bing and Darcy remained in the dark) gave her the trump card. Her faux friendship with Lizzie allowed Caroline to push her own agenda (spoiler: she wants Darcy), by being sneaky, pushy, overbearing and underhand. And she was surprisingly effective. Interestingly, one of the best episodes to date was “C vs. C”, which featured two generally ignored supporting characters – Charlotte and Caroline.

George Wickham

How do you approach a character who an audience is destined to dislike? After all, if fans weren’t aware that he would be the downfall of poor Lydia, it’s unlikely that his portrayal on The Lizzie Bennet Diaries would have been met with such vitriol. We know we aren’t supposed to like him, and we know (or we think we know) how his story will end up, so why bother with the pretence of innocence? He’s the bad guy, after all. Well – not quite.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (and spin-off The Lydia Bennet) have gone to great lengths to demonstrate that there are two sides to each story, even to Wickham and Darcy’s. Wickham may be manipulating Lydia to some extent, but do we know that he does not care about her? The fact that we are even prompted to have these conversations is a testament to the work by the LBD writing team, and some superb acting by Wes Aderhold.

And everyone else

These four may have received the largest rewrites, but we believe that every character has benefited greatly from the close attention of the production team. Every character is treated empathetically, becoming much more than simply the props in Lizzie and Darcy’s drama.

Fitz Williams (Craig Frank) has become an unashamed ‘Dizzie’ shipper. Jane (Laura Spencer) has become a measure of self-awareness for the other characters. Gigi Darcy (Allison Paige) is not just the sidekick to Wickham’s story, but a wonderful character in her own right who is still being developed (now with her own spinoff on the Pemberley Digital channel).

Charlotte’s little sister Maria (Janice Lee) was instrumental in bringing Charlotte and Lizzie back together. Ricky Collins (Maxwell Glick) isn’t ridiculous, he is merely passionate about his work. Mary (Briana Cuoco) becomes a cousin who refuses to be Lydia’s last resort. And finally, while we haven’t yet seen a huge amount of Bing Lee (Christopher Sean), but we have big hopes that the closing arch of the novel will focus on his development as well.

And what about the big two? The developments made in the characterisations of Darcy and Lizzie warrant their own article, but it is safe to say that neither have suffered from the empathy shown to their surrounding cast. In a show that has taken pains to help us understand even the most minor of characters, Lizzie and Darcy both appear in the most accurate representations of Austen’s original characters that we have ever seen.

So thank you Lizzie Bennet Diaries, for reminding us why we love Pride and Prejudice so much. You have breathed new life into a story which didn’t need it, but has benefited greatly from it all the same.

Who is your favourite ‘Lizzie Bennet Diaries’ supporting character?

The upcoming 25th anniversary edition of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast includes a couple of first looks at next year’s live-action adaptation.

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been a quarter of a century since the animated Beauty and the Beast hit movie theaters. To celebrate the occasion Disney is putting out an anniversary edition, and its special features section includes a treat: Our first look at Cogsworth and Lumière in the live-action installment, as well as a glimpse of a scene within Gaston’s tavern.

As confirmed by producer Jack Morrissey on Facebook, this photo of Cogsworth (played by Ian McKellen) and Lumière (Ewan McGregor) is concept art, but it gives us a sense of the style that director Bill Condon is shooting for:

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The upcoming 25th anniversary edition of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast includes a couple of first looks at next year’s live-action adaptation.

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been a quarter of a century since the animated Beauty and the Beast hit movie theaters. To celebrate the occasion Disney is putting out an anniversary edition, and its special features section includes a treat: Our first look at Cogsworth and Lumière in the live-action installment, as well as a glimpse of a scene within Gaston’s tavern.

As confirmed by producer Jack Morrissey on Facebook, this photo of Cogsworth (played by Ian McKellen) and Lumière (Ewan McGregor) is concept art, but it gives us a sense of the style that director Bill Condon is shooting for:

cogsworth-lumiere-live-action-beauty-and-the-beast

While it’s nice to finally see a glimpse of a couple of the characters, a big question remains unanswered: How will these objects look once they have faces on them? (Cogsworth’s face might be hinted at in the center of the clock.)

Also on the Beauty and the Beast 25th Anniversary Edition is a shot from the the “Gaston” musical number. From left to right we see Alexis Loizon as Stanley, Josh Gad as LeFou (just over Gaston’s shoulder), and Luke Evans (with his back to the camera) as Gaston.

live-action-beauty-and-the-beast-gaston

Update: And here’s another look at the movie, courtesy of this person on Twitter — this time we get to see Dan Stevens as human Beast!

human-beast-dan-stevens

We’ll be curious to get our hands on the anniversary edition in September, because we expect we’ll see more from the new movie than the two stills above.

Disney released the first trailer for the live-action Beauty and the Beast in May. It was very much a teaser trailer, as it didn’t provide any looks at the characters — except Belle (Emma Watson), appearing through the glass casing protecting the film’s iconic rose.

In fact, the trailer’s first looks at the various settings (Namely the Beast’s castle) fell in line with the visual style we see in the above concept art.

Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens hit theaters March 17, 2017.

Apple — always one to push the boundaries by simplifying their products as much as possible — is reportedly looking to remove the all-important Home button in next year’s new iPhone.

Apple loves making their products as simple as possible. The iPod was a success because of how clean it looked compared to other MP3 players. With Apple TV, Steve Jobs bragged about how few buttons the device’s remote had.

But since 2007, every new iPhone has had the same number of physical buttons, switches, and ports: A ringer switch, a lock button, volume up/down buttons, a USB port, and a headphone jack.

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Apple — always one to push the boundaries by simplifying their products as much as possible — is reportedly looking to remove the all-important Home button in next year’s new iPhone.

Apple loves making their products as simple as possible. The iPod was a success because of how clean it looked compared to other MP3 players. With Apple TV, Steve Jobs bragged about how few buttons the device’s remote had.

But since 2007, every new iPhone has had the same number of physical buttons, switches, and ports: A ringer switch, a lock button, volume up/down buttons, a USB port, and a headphone jack.

That changes next month, when Apple is expected to announce that the iPhone 7 will be lacking a headphone jack. Instead, users will be listening to music via the Lightning port (which you currently use to charge and sync your iPhone).

And for 2017, Apple will reportedly go one step further by removing the Home button.

Ah, the Home button. It’s always been there for us — it’s our captain for navigating the iPhone. We use it to switch between apps, we use it to get to our Home screen, we use it to summon Siri, and we use it to read our finger print. Back in the “old days,” we used it to force quit apps when they froze on us.

In a new report, Bloomberg says Apple is planning to remove the Home button for the 2017 iPhone, which will presumably be called iPhone 7s. It’s billed as a “major redesign of the iPhone for 2017 that focuses more heavily on the display.”

Previous rumor mill reports have suggested that Apple will ditch the Home button in order to decrease the size of the top top and bottom bezels, thereby making the phone not as tall, or using the freed up space to add more screen.

Here’s a mock up of what that could look like, via TapSmart:

borderlessmockup1

What remains unclear is how users will be able to unlock and navigate their iPhone without the Home button. Reports have suggested that the whole screen will serve as a TouchID surface and a Home button (using the 3D Touch feature Apple launched last year).

Interestingly, next month’s release of iOS 10 will introduce a new way to unlock your iPhone: You’ll have to press down on the Home button to activate an unlocking. Previously, all you had to do was rest your finger on the Home button while your lock screen was awake.

Disney is making another live-action movie, and this time it’s James and the Giant Peach, to be developed by Director Sam Mendes.

To refresh your memory, James and the Giant Peach is the terrifying delightful children’s movie directed by Henry Selick and based off of the Roald Dahl story. It features nightmare-inducing adorable stop-motion animated bugs that helped James float away from his mean aunts in a — you guessed it — giant peach.

The original film was an interesting mix of live-action characters in the beginning and at the end, with stop-motion animated sequences throughout the middle.

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Disney is making another live-action movie, and this time it’s James and the Giant Peach, to be developed by Director Sam Mendes.

To refresh your memory, James and the Giant Peach is the terrifying delightful children’s movie directed by Henry Selick and based off of the Roald Dahl story. It features nightmare-inducing adorable stop-motion animated bugs that helped James float away from his mean aunts in a — you guessed it — giant peach.

The original film was an interesting mix of live-action characters in the beginning and at the end, with stop-motion animated sequences throughout the middle.

Now, according to Deadline, Disney is developing an all-live-action remake of the film. Nick Hornby will write the script, while Joe Roth is in negotiations to sign on as a producer.

If Mendes’ name sounds familiar, it’s because he directed the last two James Bond features, both Skyfall and Spectre, as well as 1999’s American Beauty.

You can check out the trailer for the horrifying original film below:

As of late, Disney has been announcing live-action versions of its properties left and right, including The Nutcracker (which has a huge cast of well-known actors), The Little Mermaid (with Lin-Manuel Miranda attached to help write the music), Beauty and the Beast (starring Emma Watson), and Cruella (starring Emma Stone), among others.

With the amount of remakes — especially in the live-action department — it’s no wonder James and the giant Peach is the latest to be announced.

Do you want to see a live-action ‘James and the Giant Peach’ movie?