‘Belle’ Actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw Inspired By Jane Austen Universe

Belle (Fox Searchlight)

Now playing in select theaters, Belle is the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), the biracial daughter of Admiral Sir John Lindsay (Matthew Goode). Although her aristocratic lineage gives her various privileges, there are still huge challenges Belle must face. Tom Wilkinson co-stars as Lord Mansfield, the great uncle who raises Belle along with his wife (Emily Watson), and Sarah Gadon plays Belle’s cousin Elizabeth.

Directed by Amma Asante, this 18th century England period drama appealed to Mbatha-Raw, who grew up an avid Jane Austin fan.

Belle (Fox Searchlight)
Belle (Fox Searchlight)

“I certainly grew up watching Colin Firth’s and Jennifer Ehle’s TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice,” said Mbatha-Raw. “That is what I used to watch on Sunday nights with my mum. I read the books as well and in fact Amma recommended to watch again Sense and Sensibility, the Emma Thompson version. And that for me is so inspiring, not only because she wrote it as well but the sisterhood that is between the Dashwood sisters is something I tried to emulate with the relationship with Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon) in the film.”

Click on the media bar below to hear the English actress talk about one of the many fascinating aspects of Dido Elizabeth Belle’s life and respective descendants:

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