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Monday, 29 March 2010

Emily Re-design.

The problem we've been having with Emily is that we haven't really spoke much about her character the way we have about Edward and Duke; here's what Ive been thinking:

We're all reasonably familiar with Pratchett heroines and we should keep them in mind for Emily, in particular I'm thinking Susan Sto Helit, a strong minded character who finds herself living a life she'd rather not be;

Emily should have Susan's attitude for getting a job done; she should resent the fact that she's been given a place in society that she didn't choose for herself; being married off to a foreign Count that she doesn't know or even like would be the final straw.

Emily though is not as hard as Susan; she has a softer side, her love for her falcon for example. Emily is a woman who would take a good pair of sturdy boots over ridiculous high heels but at the same time be secretly embarrassed that she wants the boots with the pretty silver laces.

She presents a cynical exterior that hides a more idealistic personality inside. This is why she is so attracted to Edward; he's a hopeless romantic and doesn't care who knows it; Emily loves that Edward will throw himself at any challenge without worrying that he will look foolish if he fails.

As a real-world actress reference I was thinking maybe:

Kirsten Dunst. She's lightly built, and often moves quickly; much like a small bird. She tends to play women that have tough exteriors that hide vulnerabilities.

Whatcha'll think?


  1. This at least explains the disagreements we've been having over the character design - I imagine Emily to be someone completely different!!

    I thought of Emily more as a person trapped by circumstance. Not someone tough as nails, or a natural born fighter, like Susan - who is sarcastic, cynical, and almost verging on unloving, after a tough upbringing, she's very rough around the edges -

    I thought of Emily as a girl who had lived a pretty pampered and wealthy life, never asked for much and never thought of life much further outside her own sphere. She is, after all, young and wealthy, in an 'Edwardian' society - a product of her time. I thought with parents who had little time for child rearing, absorbed in their own frivolities, she was saved the mercy of becoming a brat, and left to her own devices, she grew up a bored dreamer... think pride and prejudice, lizzy bennet!

    With the arrival or an arranged marriage however I'd imagine a change in her character, unhappy but resigned to her fate - again, the society thing - but falling in love with Edward, the places he'd seen, yaddah - I think this would spark a sudden sense of adventure, even if it's a naive one. Think of someone who'd say yes to robbing a train, and separating a carriage, just to get away - you'd have to be pretty naive, but basically up for anything. Kinda like... I dunno, someone coming into her own, basically.

    Thaaaaat was how I saw Emily... apologies for the essay...

  2. Having just posted that, I realise I see her more of a 'Tarzan & Jane' type character - someone who comes into her own as being more than perfectly capable, when she gets to it, just wasn't ever given the chance before, and then finds not only is she exceedingly competant, but thoroughly enjoys herself :D

  3. I agree that during the escape she's enjoying herself; and that she is a person trapped by her station in life. The escape with Edward is something she's always wanted to do.

    The only difference in our views of Emily is that I don't imagined that she'd have been outwardly idealistic. She feels a duty to be pragmatic and capable due to feeling guilty over her unearned privileged lifestyle.
    I think I may have over stressed her hard exterior; probably a young Sybil Vimes would better describe Emily than Susan Sto Helit.

    I feel a character with a sensible shell, used as a shield against the dreamer that she is inside balances nicely against Edward's gung-ho naivety. If they're both naive they couldn't put together such a well organized and daring escape.

    If shes always been a bored dreamer then the events of the film are just one more air-headed scheme in her life, she may soon tire of Edward.
    If, however, Emily is someone who is trapped in life, as well as in who she is; (because she feels a duty to her position), then this leads to a more natural progression in her character, and a more interesting one. the arrangement with the Count, just as she meets the dopey but fun and sincere Edward, leads to her deciding to act on her usually checked impulses.

  4. Je that photo is freaky =)

    I think perhaps it's important to focus on the struggle and conflict in the narrative. They are doing everything they can to escape an impossible situation so I think it's right that this is a once in a lifetime act of desperation, dangerous, albeit a thrill for both of them.

    Just thought I'd throw that in the fray...

  5. I agree.
    the more we discuss this the more apparent the theme of being trapped and of escaping become. Escaping, or flying from, confinement.
    This is the important thing, that and that we agree Emily is both exhilarated by the escape and also the one who was in charge of planning it.

  6. I agree some more.

    But I object to 'air-headed', and I'd also slightly raise question with 'well organised escape' - I think the whole escape IS completely gung ho and naive. They're bloody lucky they pulled it off. It's a romantic adventure story, more in the vain of the 3 musketeers or something - the fact the duke didnt shoot him, he didn't fall off the train, the fact it actually all WORKED is a miraculous feat, and owing in a large part to the naivity of their youth! They're hardly being pragmatic...

    Haha, I suggest a story meeting. We need to solidify the backstory etc at some point soon too?


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