Last week, ABC committed to a pilot episode of Eligible, an adaptation of Curtis Sittenfeld’s Pride & Prejudice-inspired bestseller. Two CW alums and I. Marelene King, the showrunner of Pretty Little Liars, will work behind the camera to cast modern magic onto everyone’s favorite literary couple. Premiere date and casting announcements are still forthcoming.
Lizzie Bennet and her brooding beau have made several trips to the screen throughout the past few decades. Most famously, Colin Firth played Darcy in the 1995 BBC miniseries before returning to the role in the more loosely based Bridget Jones’ Diary. Since Keira Knightley’s turn as Lizzie in the 2005 Oscar-nominated film, the Austen classic has also found its way to YouTube before receiving a Walking Dead spin in last year’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
Eligible is a modern-day retelling set in the Prep author’s hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. There, Lizzie gets swept up into family dramas—namely: an ailing father, a harebrained mother, and vapid sisters—and into the path of neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy. A Hyde Park tudor has replaced Longbourn—the Bennet’s English estate in the original novel. Meanwhile, Lizzie and Darcy’s sexually-charged meetings often occur at a well-known Cincinnati chili joint.
The oldest Bennett sisters are in their late thirties instead of early twenties, and this gives Eligible a more realistic romantic timeline for a modern take on the pressure of marriage, children, and adulthood in general. From Jane's job as a yoga instructor to nerdy Silicon-Valley Cousin Willie, the updates to the old tale make a story we know and love into a completely different story. And may we just say, Mrs. Bennett is much more problematic in this new version. Throw in a Bachelor-style reality show twist, and you have a lighter take on the Austen classic that feels relatable and fresh. All in all, we can't wait to see how it comes to life on the small screen. Fingers crossed for that classic Pride and Prejudice sexual tension.
While we wait for more news about Eligible, download the book, and let us know who you’d like to see cast as Fitzwilliam Darcy and Lizzie Bennet.
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This story was originally published on Early Bird Books.