by director Cary Joji Fukunaga
When I last wrote to you (two years ago this month), my first feature Sin Nombre was about to open. I’d like to thank you for your support; I learned that some of our best runs were in Landmark theatres and it’s wonderful to think that many of you who read my last letter went out to see the film.
In the interim I’ve made another movie. It’s called Jane Eyre. Some of you may have been forced to read the book while growing up; I hope you will not hold that against me. While it is very much the traditional story of Charlotte Brontë’s unforgettable novel (we haven’t updated the action to the present, or sent Jane Eyre to hunt vampires), it’s also a new version—and hopefully more compelling than previous adaptations—of this classic story.
I am lucky to have cast two incredible leads, Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender, with an all-star supporting cast that includes Dame Judi Dench, Jamie Bell, Sally Hawkins, and Simon McBurney, amongst many others. If you’ve seen Mia in In Treatment, then you’ve seen a bit of the intelligence, fire, and poise she brings to a role like Jane Eyre. And if you’ve seen Michael in Hunger, then you’ve seen how thoroughly his striking intelligence, focus, and fierce charisma could embody an Edward Fairfax Rochester. The fact that we could make this movie with such talent is fortunate alchemy indeed.
The centerpiece of the film is the intellectual tête-à-tête between Rochester and Jane. Mia and Michael’s performances resonate with passion; the full impact and poetry of Brontë, the specificity of her words, becomes theirs. Simply said, they embodied those characters.
I feel both men and women will be able to relate to this particular adaptation, not only in the darker, more gothic interpretation of the text (which I believe is more faithful to Brontë’s intentions), but also in the universality of each character’s desires. Jane and Rochester are on journeys both physical and emotional; similar to Sin Nombre, each of them is yearning to find their place in the world, to know each other, and in the process discovering the dangers as well as the delights of love.
I hope that our Jane Eyre becomes a new favorite version for many, including yourselves.