Hey everyone, thanks for an amazing experience that was Darcy Day. I think it’s safe to say that the event as a whole was a total success. The build up and anticipation was an awesome thing to watch, as was Ashley’s trolling ;). Credit goes out to the entire team for this. Way to execute on all levels, way to keep Daniel’s identity a secret. What a fun surprise right?
Some crazy stats, because I love stats. Ep 60 was our highest viewed first day ever. We’ve never had an episode break 100k views in 24 hours. It’s also now the 2nd most “liked” episode ever, and should eventually pass episode 1 for the title. Daniel (aka Darcy) went from 30 followers to over 2,500 literally overnight, and he’s been Memed
Credit to Kate Rorick who wrote episode 59, teeing us up for the big 60. It was her idea to give you Darcy at the last second of 59 which allowed us to build up all the anticipation for #DarcyDay.
But now to the questions.
Q: Why did you guys decide to let Lizzie spill the beans about the videos this way? Were you always decided in going this way, or did you have other ideas about how Darcy would’ve found out about the videos? I’m guessing the Darcy’s letter is coming up next. Is Darcy going to be writing the actual letter or is he going to do a more modern equivalent (a video confession)?
A: We didn’t always know we were going to do it this way. I think for a while we thought we wouldn’t find out until the end, but as we’ve done before… we adapted.
As for why now, it just felt like the perfect time to do it. It actually gave us an advantage in that we didn’t have to have Lizzie accuse Darcy of everything line by line, and she could be pretty general about it. Darcy will get the scoop.
Another reason is that there are really only so many ways you can to do that scene. You risk it getting stale, we’ve seen it in several versions, and it’s really hard to give our (two person in front of video camera) version of this a fresh take and make it our own.
This one event is a world changer for Lizzie, and I think in the spirit of seeing everything through Lizzie, it needed to be a world (our perspective of hers) changer for the show.
Here’s a verbatim conversation over email between Ashley and I.
Me: Here’s the new scene, check out that last line bombshell ;)
Ashley: WOAH. Talk about taking a departure from the book! So Darcy’s going to watch the videos now???
Me: Yeah, unlike in P&P when he doesn’t watch the videos.
Ashley: Hahahahahaha. I wish I could tweet that.
Q: First, I LOVED the twist—I thought there was no way you could pull the “proposal” scene off, but the twist really sold it to me and I think it adds a whole new layer unique to this adaptation. So here’s my question: Are the preview clips at the end of each episode in-universe? As in, have their events already happened and been recorded when “Lizzie” posts the current clip?
A: I’d say that they are “out of universe”. Though we haven’t been super consistent about that. In our heads she shoots each video maybe 1-2 days before she uploads them. As for the twist, thank you. I am very, very proud of it.
Q: Loving Lizzie’s side of the story (DVG was such a Darcybot :)), but I’m a bit concerned about Jane. :( Did Caroline deviously change phone numbers or something, because I find it hard to believe that Bing would be so uncivil to Jane, even if Darcy and Caroline both advised him to have clean break.
A: Caroline had more to do with everything that went down then what you’re seeing. If you piece together the Jane events from episodes 43-49 you can see all the seeds we planted. Caroline was very precise in her manipulations, Lizzie and co (and us) haven’t been told exactly what she did… yet.
Q: What was your reaction to everyone freaking out about seeing Darcy at the end of episode 59? Did it make you more nervous to reveal him properly, or just excited to see people’s reactions? Personally I think once again you’ve pulled it out of the bag casting wise, Daniel Gordh is fantastic as Darcy! Also, I’d like to say thank you to all the production team and cast for creating this show, it’s fantastic :]
A: We knew it was going to happen. And when you finish reading the rest of my answers, you’ll see that we were preparing for this for months. We couldn’t just show you Darcy and be done with it. We needed to
1. Show you a GREAT Darcy.
2. Show you Darcy and Lizzie together in the “proposal” scene
3. Execute a great “proposal” scene.
Whether we did all three of those things at a high level is for you to judge, but that is what we strived for.
Q: Hi! This is a huge fan of the LBD from Brunei, I’ve been watching since it started. My question is; was Daniel Gordh always cast as Darcy since the beginning of the series like Ashley and her ‘sisters’? The gang did such great impressions of him, like his really deep voice and the way he speaks.
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Q: Now that Darcy has been revealed (SQUEE), I was wondering if you might be willing to tell us a little about the casting process. Was it different casting Darcy from the other characters because there’s been so much build up and he’s been talked about so much on the Diaries via Lizzie’s PoV? How did Lizzie’s prior reenactments inform the direction you gave Daniel?
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Q: Obviously, the character of Darcy has been well-established by other characters and his social media presence. Did this establishment of the character (and his importance) make casting him easier/more difficult? Why?
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Q: how far in advance do you cast a character, and are you done casting or are there more characters to come? also, this is probably a weird / awkward question but… when you’re writing the script, how do you decide when to stick with what the book or movies have said, versus coming up with slight variations (i.e. “thank you for explaining it so ‘fully’” vs. “eloquently”)? thanks! - tiffany
A: We, as a team, decided on Daniel in late September. We started casting Darcy way back in late July I think. It was the longest we spent casting any character since Lizzie herself. If I remember our stats, we have over 1,000 men submit themselves for consideration. We brought in about 80 to read, and we ended up with Daniel. This was a long process and we kept it pretty secretive.
With Fitz, Collins, really anyone, we could have the actor come in with a very open mind.”. We were open to what the actor’s interpretation of the modernization would be because we haven’t locked ourselves into anything. Darcy, as pointed out, was very different.
We wrote ourselves into a corner in that four different characters have all given their “impressions” of Darcy. As we could justify that real Wickham was a little more “douchey” gentleman than Lizzie’s portrayal of him, I don’t think real Darcy could be night and day different from Lizzie and Jane’s Darcy. Especially since they both spent a month living under the same roof as him.
And since we’ve already pulled all these quotes from the book into the canon, we were kinda locked into making his dialogue less modernized. Because of this we were very particular about casting Darcy to fit this mold.
As for more characters. Yes.
I’ll end this long answer from a note from Hank during the casting process of what we were looking for. He noted that Darcy doesn’t necessarily need to be drool worthy hot, he needed to be like “Darcy”.
Q: Do you try to avoid fan prediction? Lizzie can say the fans “will do this” but doesn’t comment on what the fans “have done.” But talks about shippers and Darcy craze.
A: We pick and choose are acknowledging points. Obviously, Lizzie couldn’t listen to all the “Lizzie you should give Darcy another chance” rally cries because that would effectively END our story over night. But we definitely can have her aware that her viewers really wanted to see Darcy (she does talk about him alot).
Q: I just noticed a joke about why Lydia lost her car privileges and “not having enough room to that” in Lizzie’s car. Made me realize how I generally think “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” are pretty G rated. Are the writers or cast ever tempted to go a little “blue” with the material?
A: Tempted sure. We’ve kind of embraced this “let the audience’s imagination” run with it philosophy. Basically we hint at something, but did it REALLY happen that way? You may think Lydia “not having enough room in the car” may mean an activity a little more “naughty” but it could be something more ridiculous and whimsical rather than sexual.
Q: You and the entire LBD team is amazing. You recognize how many of us love Austen, and are making the scripts so true to canon, yet so cleverly updated! As Darcy has been revealed, there has been some talk of his outfit. Is it his costume from the party? If yes, what did he dress up as?
A: Thanks! There’s actually a great story here. When we first realized that we were going to have Darcy Day be the day after Halloween we discussed about whether if we could do the “stunt” of having Darcy’s costume be a regency era outfit, and/or Lizzie’s costume be a regency dress. (which some of you predicted we would do) - And as amazing and awesome as that sounds we just couldn’t justify that stunt.
This is our proposal scene and it’s the first time we see Darcy. We needed to show you the LBD Darcy and not LBD Darcy as a gimmick of past interpretations.
Q: Congrats on #DarcyDay and I hope you enjoy the ride! I noticed that Daniel Vincent Gordh has only been on twitter for about a month - was that when he was cast? I ask because it got me wondering: Do you encourage the LBD family to engage with social media? Is it part of their job?
A: It’s not required for the project, but I tell every actor I work with that he/she should be on Twitter and should have a Facebook fan page. If they don’t do it, well that’s up to them. But I feel a big benefit for them is that they’ll get new fans that can go with them to other projects. Note: I don’t recommend that they spam their followers with constant information about every little detail that they’re working on, nor do they even need to tweet every day, but I think it’s good to have a safe place where fans can reach out to you.
Q: Hey-It has already been confirmed that there is a certain level of evil present in LBD, but did you realize that you are forcing poor Darcy to watch the videos in election season? AKA not only does he get to watch Lizzie tear him apart, but he has to watch annoying mudslinging political ads every 10 minutes.
A: He’s Darcy, he probably voted absentee, he can deal.
Q: Congratulations on surviving DarcyDay! The episode featured Hank’s first writing credit on the show. It also had your first writing credit (other than Q&A #6) since ep. 42 (Friends Forever). Ashley mentioned that the “proposal” scene was used during Darcy casting. All this makes me wonder when and how the episode was written. Can you tell us about the process of writing it? How would you characterize its importance in terms of the story?
A: Well we knew that this was a big one and I knew that Hank would want to be very involved with this one. Given his busy schedule, we knew we had to start early. We had our first casting calls for Darcy way back in July.
In order to audition people, you need to have a scene written, so we basically had a very rough/skeletal /shorter version of the scene you’re watching for Ashley and the parade of beautiful men to confess their love for her to perform. Over the callbacks, writer meetings, rehearsals, and everything we adjusted the scene more and more until we got it to the point of where it is now.
As far as importance, it’s the most iconic scene from the book, and will probably be our more watched episode of the series. At first I thought episode 1 would be our most watched episode, but given how many of you are rewatching this one, it’s safe to say that this will be it.
Q: So I’m not terribly bothered by this, since it’s fantasy to some extent, but I have friends who are quite upset that Lizzie posts videos of people without their consent - how do you deal with that issue, in and out of universe?
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Q: So far everything has felt like an authentic vlog - the information and people shown are those that Lizzie feels comfortable sharing, yet these last few episodes and the next few with darcy deal with private situations for characters that the plot demands to be shared yet realistically we’d never hear about on a real vlog (ie “I love you”))- obviously without spoilers, how daunting was it to walk this line between real and web series and what are you’re honest opinions? i hope this makes sense..
A: Makes total sense. I’ll admit it’s a bit of a narrative leap. If we were being 100% authentic, I don’t think Lizzie would talk about/criticize Darcy for 6 months over 60 episodes and actually use his real name. I also don’t think if Darcy has this crushing level of love for Lizzie, he wouldn’t at some point Googled her and discovered “everything”. It’s a leap we have to take to keep the structure of the narrative intact.
We do our best to justify the presence of our more dramatic episodes by Lizzie either being told by someone to post it (49-Snickerdoodles, by Jane) or feeling compelled to show her audience (42-Friends Forever, and 60). As you said, it’s a line we walk.
In general it’s like this. 1st priority: Tell a great story. 2nd priority: Be as authentic as possible.
Q: Why did you make Anne a dog?
We realized that Anne being an actual person really complicated the story for us. Because of our limited setting, in order to justify Anne we’d have to develop her personality, and then put her on screen, which would also mean casting her. We could have tried “costuming” her, but that would have made Lizzie and Charlotte pretty mean for making fun of a ‘sickly, frail, young girl’.
Narratively, the purpose of Anne was to give Catherine De Bourgh someone that she wanted Darcy to end up with. With modern social standards of marrying cousins and with Darcy related to De Bourgh, it just felt off for her wanting her nephew to end up with her daughter. On the other hand, being totally vested her nephew (basically son) Darcy to end up with an intelligent, ‘accomplished’, upper class, ambitious, socialite like Caroline felt like something she would push for.
Q: The thing I love most about the show is the thing I loved most about the book. Lizzie is an every woman, a woman we all want to be. She is however, flawed and helps us to see ourselves in a whole new light. She is a normal woman with actual relatable interests and silliness that is rarely ever portrayed in Hollywood. My question is how, as a man, can you relate so well to a young woman and portray such a wonderful and relatable character? Thank you for giving me a woman my own age to aspire to.
A: You’re very welcome, and it’s an honor to write such an inspirational character.
I actually get asked the “you’re a guy, how do you write women so well?” question a lot. I think it’s a combination of upbringing and personality. I grew up with very unique and strong women. From my mother, to my sister, to my cousins, to my female friends, to the women that I’ve dated. They’ve all been intelligent, sensitive, educated, and career minded.
As for personality, I don’t believe I have the right to proclaim that “I completely get women”, or I “totally understand” the female voice. I think that’s somewhat sexist of me to say. But I believe I’m able to sympathize and empathize more than most guys. It’s just something I’ve noticed when I talked to people about anything and I know I tap those emotions a lot when I’m writing the characters. But regardless of all of that, the fact that entire script writing staff on The LBD are women was a conscious choice by me.
I’ll say that as a storyteller, I’ve always gravitated to strong, independent female roles. They’re just far more interesting characters to me. If you get to ever see the other projects I have in my developmental pipeline, you’ll see that those will feature strong independent women in them.
Thanks again everyone for a week I’ll never forget.