New ‘Pride and Prejudice’ Adaptation Takes LGBT Perspective


Fans of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice have seen quite a few fresh takes on the classic over the years: a modern rom-com (Bridget Jones Diary), a millennial vlogger series (The Lizzie Bennett Diaries), and even a madcap zombie thriller (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies). But for the first time this week, Austen-ites will be able to see their beloved Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy reimagined as a same-sex male couple.



Image courtesy of IMDb


Before the Fall, which premiered on iTunes and Amazon Tuesday, moves the setting from the English countryside to modern-day rural Virginia, where Ben Bennett, a successful and socially prominent attorney,  finds himself falling for gruff factory worker Lee Darcy despite both their initial animosity and Ben’s reluctance to come out.


Along with the obvious shifts in the main characters’ gender and sexuality, Before the Fall also changes significant plot points and character details. Darcy, a wealthy singleton in the novel, is now a blue collar welder with a girlfriend; Bennett and Darcy meet not at a party but at a courthouse, where the two develop “prejudice” after Lee is wrongfully accused of domestic abuse. “I started shifting aspects of the original story to their mirror opposite – setting, time-period, economic status, sex and sexuality,” explained writer/director Byrum Geisler. “It was amazing how well the basic story of Pride and Prejudice worked to explore these same ideas in a modern LGBT context,” he added.



Image courtesy of IMDb


The film, which stars unknown and local Virginian actors, was reportedly the first gay-themed film ever shot in Appalachia.


Geisler hopes that audiences will appreciate the film for more than just its LGBT content, saying: “This film is not about social injustice or political change. It’s a traditional love story about a non-traditional subject matter in an unexpected place.”



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