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Friday, April 14, 2006

Pride and Prettiness

Anna Chancellor does not approve of the actress chosen to play novelist Jane Austen in an upcoming movie, Becoming Jane.

"In my mind Anne Hathaway is just too pretty to play her." Chancellor says. "Jane was a very plain woman. Her beauty was in her brain. But that's what Hollywood does."

Chancellor—herself an actress with beauty in her brain—has the authority to speak on this issue, for she is, we are told, "a direct descendant of Austen"—a remarkable fact, given that Jane Austen never married or had children. (Jane is actually her "eight-times great aunt.")

I took the liberty of running a portrait of Austen through the face-recognition demo at MyHeritage.com, and found that the female celebrity she most resembles is Ava Gardner—a 60% match. The next closest match is Bill Cosby, at 59%. Coincidentally, Cosby was offered the Jane Austen role, but declined due to scheduling conflicts.

Anne McAllister

The article also says that Anne Chancellor is a "direct descendant of Austen." Really? That should make for some interesting genealogical commentary.

Chris

Yup. Chancellor is purportedly descended from Jane's brother Edward, which would make her Jane's collateral descendant--a term that's sort of oxymoronic.

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