Elliot Cowan (Lost In Austen) Interview

Coming soon to ITV1, Lost In Austen is a reinvention of the classic novel Pride And Prejudice, in which Jane Austen’s story is thrown off track by a very modern heroine. Elliot Cowan plays Mr Darcy.

What interested you in the role of Mr Darcy?

I was really intrigued to hear that this renowned story was being written in a new light by Guy Andrews. Putting Mr Darcy, who is an iconic literary figure, into new circumstances seemed a challenge and a great opportunity not to be missed.

What preparation did you do for the role?

I read Pride and Prejudice and did some research looking into the history of this period, the characters and the artwork. I also watched Collin Firth’s portrayal of Mr Darcy because I think there are some references in Lost in Austen to this interpretation that had a profound effect on the country’s consciousness.

How does your Mr Darcy compare to your predecessors’?

I only ever played Mr Darcy dead straight. For me it was important to mask a certain vulnerability in him.

How does Amanda Price compare to Elizabeth Bennet?

They are independent, honest and direct women. They see Darcy as an arrogant and very proud man and their frustration with him is very similar. Amanda has the benefit of having read the book so she can pre-empt the decisions, choices and even dialogue that Darcy is about to say before it happens.

What does Mr Darcy make of Amanda Price?

Initially, Mr Darcy is very suspicious of Amanda, but on a subconscious level he finds Amanda intriguing and attractive. A man of his stature isn’t in touch with his emotions so I think he’s under a lot of pressure to remain impartial. He takes quite a long time to warm to her.

How does Mr Darcy feel about Amanda’s presence in his world?

He keeps himself aloof and his comments to a minimum. One of Darcy’s characteristics is to protect others, particular Charles Bingley who he encourages to keep away from Amanda.

What are Mr Darcy’s motivations?

Darcy believes everything should have a social order. I think Darcy has an over reaching need for marriage and to have a soul mate although his attitude towards this feels resigned and professional.

How does Mr Darcy feel about the Bennet family?

From the outset, Mr Darcy makes it very clear that he regards them as being greedy, very opportunistic, false and vulgar.

Tell us about Mr Darcy’s relationship with Captain Wickham?

Their relationship is born out of many years of conflict and disappointment. They are opposites, Darcy is very proud with upstanding values which Wickham seems to have underlined and obliterated.

In the series Mr Darcy finds Amanda’s copy of Pride and Prejudice. What does he make of this?

It’s an exceptional discovery. Darcy is totally unaware that his story has been written so he believes it’s a satirical journal that will be published and talked about in society. He believes this to be a complete undermining of the trust, friendship and hospitality that Amanda has received.

How did you find playing opposite Jemima Rooper?

It was wonderful. Jemima is full of energy and very creative. I’m glad that when we met we had the right chemistry. Our acting styles are very different and because of this we were able to challenge each other.

What’s your most memorable moment from filming?

It was whilst we were filming last November. Thankfully it was a beautiful blue sky day, but I had to swim around and submerge myself in seven degree water in nothing more than my shirt and britches whilst declaring my undying love. It was all I could do to stop my teeth from chattering.

Tell us about the locations used for Lost in Austen.

I thoroughly enjoyed working in Yorkshire. I personally thought we were all very lucky to be stepping out into the beautiful horizon of some fantastic stately gardens. Being able to walk around these gorgeous properties was a privilege.

What’s next for you after Lost in Austen?

I’m in a play called The Revenger’s Tragedy at the National Theatre.