When I first began to hear whisperings about The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a web series created and produced by Hank Green (of vlogbrothers/Nerdfighters fame) and Bernie Su, I admit I was skeptical. I thought there was no room in my heart for another version of Pride and Prejudice.
The diversity of the cast is an obvious departure from the novel, and one of the series’ biggest draws. “The show could very well have been cast with all white actors—that’s often the norm,” says Julia Cho. “From the beginning, the people running the show wanted ours to be a diverse cast. As an actor of color, I’m grateful for that. It’s a much truer representation of the world we actually live in.”
Bernie Su points out that Pride and Prejudice has stood the test of time not just because of the love story, but because Elizabeth Bennet is such a strong character. “When you reimagine a woman as independent as Elizabeth Bennet, you have to think about the many choices women have today,” he says. “We wanted to talk about those options—especially career options—in our adaptation.”
“It would be absurd to create a modernized version of Elizabeth Bennet who wasn’t a feminist,” says Ashley Clements. “A woman who speaks her mind, holds out for what she wants, and is loved and valued for who she is—she was as feminist as she could be in 1813.”