FIONA FINLAY (Producer) started her career as a Theater Director, having won a Thames Television bursary. She then spent three years at the Royal National Theatre as Assistant to the Associate Directors of New Writing and Classical Repertoire before joining the BBC as a Script Editor. As a producer her productions include: "Single Voices," a series of monologues by celebrities such as Barry Humphries and John Sessions; the eight-part series "The Sharp End" starring Gwen Taylor; and the three-part serial "Down Town Lagos" directed by Roger Michell. Her latest film "Black Daisies For The Bride" by the poet Tony Harrison won the Documentaries Special Prize at the Prix Italia 1994 for Television.
Director Roger Michell and producer Fiona Finlay had previously worked together on "Down Town Lagos." "We had talked about who should adapt Persuasion and we both settled on Nick Dear because we very much admired his work in the theatre," says Fiona Finlay. "He has done a lot of work for The Royal Shakespeare Company and The Royal National Theatre, in particular "The Art Of Success," which was a wonderful play about the Eighteenth Century artist and satirist William Hogarth. Persuasion is a very touching, dark novel. It was published posthumously and it is always popularly supposed to be semi-autobiographical. While it is full of characteristic wit and humor, at the same time it has a tenderness and emotion that some of her other novels lack. There is something quite poignant about the fact that she was writing the novel in her last days when she was dying. It is a passionate love story and I cannot but believe that it reflects something from her past.
Persuasion has never been made as a film before. It was made in 1971 as a serial for Granada Television, but that was mostly shot in the studio. This is the first time it has been done as a film on this scale.
In this version Roger Michell has interpreted Persuasion in a modern way, as very fresh and accessible. Because it's a story that everybody can relate to. There's something very touching about long-lost love: I think everybody can relate to that.
We were very lucky with our cast, because they are all extremely precisely chosen for the parts they play. The toughest test we had was to cast the part of Anne Elliot. Roger Michell wanted to find an actress who could blush. So we were delighted to find Amanda Root who has a wonderful innocent quality. She and Ciaran Hinds, who plays Captain Wentworth, have both worked together before at the Royal Shakespeare Company."