Emma Mackey as Emily Brontë in the movie Emily

INTERVIEW: ‘Emily’ Director Frances O’Connor Talks Bringing the Brontë Sisters to Life!

Emily tells the tale of Emily Brontë (Emma Mackey) as she is growing as a writer and into her own sense of self-worth. Brontë was known for her work Wuthering Heights and while her sister Charlotte was also an author, I’d argue that the two were very different in their styles and approaches and made for fans who were either bigger Wuthering Heights fans (Emily) or Jane Eyre fans (Charlotte). What the movie Emily does is really show that relationship the sisters shared and how it inspired them both in their own work.

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The fictionalization of the Brontë sister and their lives comes to us from director Frances O’Connor. And it is clear in talking to her how much she loved exploring this story of Emily Brontë and getting to tell us all about her in a new and exciting way. I spoke with O’Connor prior to the release of the film and asked about the Brontës and their story and what about it made her want to tell this particular story for a modern day audience.

“Their voice is so original and is so emotional and is so kind of passionate,” O’Connor said. “And yet it came out of these women that lived kind of very singular quiet lives. And the juxtaposition between those two things was kind of fascinating, really. And I think they were probably just inspired from the books that they read and the environment that they lived in and things that they saw, some of the brutality they saw in those Yorkshire communities. But, I guess because I wanted to tell a story about a young woman finding her voice. And that’s something that I think Emily did, and I think she was the first one to do that out of the Brontë sisters. I wanted to focus on her the most.”

You can see our full interview here:

Emily is in theaters now and is one of those fictional films about a real life person we know and love that really just works. And it is wonderful to see Emily Brontë getting her time.

(Featured image: Bleecker Street)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.