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Sundance comedy 'Austenland' headed to theaters

By Mary Richards | Posted - Jan 25th, 2013 @ 10:27am

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SALT LAKE CITY — A movie with plenty of Utah connections has been doing well at the Sundance Film Festival this week. It should come to mainstream theaters this summer.

One of the minds behind "Napoleon Dynamite," Jerusha Hess, is back at Sundance with another film, "Austenland," which she co-wrote and directed.

"Austenland" is about a woman obsessed with Jane Austen novels who goes to what's being called an Austen theme park or resort in England.

"In one sense it's really a lovely story and a fairy tale. In another sense it has a lot of room for comedy," Hess said. She added that although it is like a fairy tale, it is also absurd.

"It's not as absurd as our other movies, of course, but people have noticed, 'I see where she fits in that writing partnership.' All our movies have a sweetness to them," Hess said.

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Twilight author Stephanie Meyer produced the film. Shannon Hale wrote the book that the movie is based on, and co-wrote the film with Hess.

"She is so sweet. Writing a script with her was so fun," said Hess.

She said audiences have been laughing in all the right places during Sundance screenings.

"They just start laughing from the moment it starts. They are just giggling," she said.

The movie was just sold to Sony Classics, meaning "Austenland" should be in theaters this summer.


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