Gwynneth Paltrow, 1996 Emma
To many, Gwynneth is the embodiment of Emma. Tall and graceful, she lends to the character an elegant, haughty, and aristocratic air. Her background as the privileged child of a director and actress resembles Emma Woodhouse's in many ways. Still channelling Emma over 12 years later, Gwynneth dispenses advice to one and all in her new website, Goop!
Her Emma quotes: "Had I not promoted Mr. Weston's visits and given encouragement where encouragement was needed, we might not have had a wedding today," and "One does not like to generalize about so many people all at once, Mr. Knightley, but you may be sure that men know nothing about their hearts, whether they be six-and-twenty, or six-and-eighty."
Kate Beckinsale, 1996 Emma
Amazingly Kate looks prettier these days than when she played Emma 13 years ago. Her interpretation of Emma is earthier than Gwynneth's and more matter of fact. The hats she's forced to wear in the film, although historically accurate, are excrutiatingly ugly, though they lend her character authority and maturity beyond her years. Kate's Emma stands up to Mark Strong's forceful performance as Mr. Knightley. This Emma was written by Andrew Davies, prolific Jane Austen script writer.
Her Emma quotes: "He is very plain, undoubtedly, but that is nothing like his very lack of gentility. I had not expected much but I had no idea he was so very clownish, so totally without air," and "Papa, I have heard that the chicken thieves have returned to the neighborhood. Not two nights ago they broke into Mrs. Weston’s chicken house and stole all the turkeys…would you not be happier knowing Mr. Knightley was in the house?"
Alicia Silverstone, 1995 Clueless
Although Alicia's character was renamed Cher and lives in 20th century LA, Amy Heckerling's adaptation of Emma remains true to the character. Alicia's performance as a rich, spoiled, bossy, materialistic Cher is unforgettable. She's simply perfect as the clueless driver license-challenged Cher. I'm still waiting for her to find another part so richly suited to her talents.
Her Emma quotes:
"Old people can be so sweet," "Isn't my house classic? The columns date all the way back to 1972," and " I am totally butt crazy in love with Josh."