It seems as though Hollywood has rediscovered Jane Austen after 2020's well-reviewed Emma., so now Netflix is getting into the romance game with a modern-day adaptation of Persuasion starring Dakota Johnson. Persuasion is perhaps Austen's most underrated novel, telling the story of 27-year-old Anne Elliot who is faced with the return of her first love, Frederick Wentworth, now that her formerly wealthy family's situation has drastically changed. Anne previously refused Wentworth's proposal at the urging of a family friend due to his lack of prospects, but now he's made his fortune while she has fallen on hard times. Can these old lovers rekindle the flame after nearly a decade of separation? Fans of love letters should probably check this one out.
Johnson is already on board as Anne, and Deadline announced today that Crazy Rich Asians and Last Christmas star Henry Golding has also joined the cast. However, despite getting his start in romantic comedies, Golding is not playing Wentworth. He has instead been cast as Mr. Eliot, Anne's cousin and a conniving rival for her affections. According to Deadline, Golding was interested in the role as a way to play against type. At this point, no additional casting has been announced.
just found out henry golding is playing mr elliot and not captain wentworth pic.twitter.com/PWCclHoDWg— anna (@softlydarcy) May 5, 2021
Still, Jane Austen fans were more than a little disappointed at the fact that he wouldn't be the romantic lead. "Casting Henry Golding in a romance as a side character and not the romantic lead is a hate crime," tweeted one frustrated fan.
so this is my modern day adaptation of persuasion as you can see we have a fantastic lead in dakota johnson and joining us is romcom favorite henry golding as the ASSHOLE COUSIN which is exciting because -- pic.twitter.com/BBxI5L65pM— meagan (@avocadomooon) May 5, 2021
This isn't the only version of Persuasion in the works. A period accurate adaptation is in pre-production starring Succession's Sarah Snook and Game of Thrones' Joel Fry as Anne and Wentworth from director Mahalia Belo. Still, Netflix's take follows in the footsteps of beloved modernized Austen tales like Bridget Jones's Diary and Clueless, so it certainly has big shoes to fill.