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Bret + Jane + Nelly

What happens with Flight of the Conchords star Bret McKenzie starts gyrating in Regency attire…

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of going to West Wycombe to visit the set of Austenland, which marks the directorial debut of Jerusha Hess (the wife and collaborator of Napoleon Dynamite director Jared Hess).

From the few hours I spent on set, this film already looks hilarious. It’s the story — adapted from Shannon Hale’s novel — of a somewhat geeky New York woman who is obsessed with Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy in Pride & Prejudice; she gets the trip of a lifetime to go on a Regency-themed holiday in the English countryside.

I witnessed Bret McKenzie from Flight of the Conchords grinding up on Keri Russell, all the while wearing regency finery. Oh, and did I mention a Nelly song was playing? What more do you want from a film, people?

The whole cast and crew was in hysterics as McKenzie (not a shy one!) was doing some impromptu choreography for this fantasy dance sequence, leading the gyrations from James Callis, Ricky Whittle, Rupert Vansittart, and JJ Feild (who producer Stephenie Meyer — yes, she of Twilight fame — touted as the next Hugh Grant or Colin Firth).

Screen Star of Tomorrow Georgia King was also gamely showing her comedy chops in an intentionally hammy choral piece at the piano.

Jane Seymour even got her personal camera out to take a snapshot to remember it by. All in all, it seemed like the happiest and most relaxed set I’ve ever visited. Although that was before night shoots were about to kick in…

Stay tuned to Screen in coming weeks for more about the film and my visit on set.

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