Persuasion First Look: Dakota Johnson Falls In Love In Netflix's Jane Austen Adaptation

Ah, Dakota Johnson. If she's not out there messing up Olivia Colman's vacation (or is it the other way around?), then she's taking over Tilda Swinton's witchy dance academy or using a shotgun to ward off Chris Hemsworth's cult leader in a seedy hotel on the California-Nevada border. Yes, this is my not-so-subtle way of telling you to finally watch "Bad Times at the El Royale," if you already haven't. 

For her next trick, Johnson is starring in Netflix's "Persuasion," which is the only screen take on Jane Austen's 1817 novel moving forward at this time. (Another one, announced in 2020, had "Succession" alum Sarah Snook starring but has since been canceled.) Austen's book, which was the last the author finished and was published six months after her death, has been adapted for TV several times before, with director Roger Michell's 1995 made-for-TV film version getting a theatrical release in the U.S. Carrie Cracknell, a theater director whose credits include the 2019 Jake Gyllenhaal-led play "Sea Wall/A Life," is making her feature-length helming debut with the movie, drawing from a script by Ron Bass and Alice Victoria Winslow.

Steering the conversation away from its business woes, Netflix has unveiled some first-look images for "Persuasion," including the one seen above featuring Johnson as Anne Elliot. The streamer also dropped photos of Henry Golding ("Crazy Rich Asians") and Cosmo Jarvis ("Lady Macbeth") as, in turn, Mr. Elliot and Captain Frederick Wentworth, both of whom (like Johnson) look appropriately dashing in the period costumes designed by Marianne Agertoft ("Utopia," "Poldark").

Get ready for a 'modern, witty' Austen retelling

Nikki Amuka-Bird (who's reuniting with "Old" director M. Night Shyamalan on "Knock at the Cabin"), Mia McKenna-Bruce ("The Witcher"), and Richard E. Grant ("Loki") are co-starring in "Persuasion," but for now you'll have to wait and see how they look in their own historical garb. The official logline for the film reads:

Living with her snobby family on the brink of bankruptcy, Anne Elliot is an unconforming woman with modern sensibilities. When Frederick Wentworth — the dashing one she let get away — crashes back into her life, Anne must choose between putting the past behind her or listening to her heart when it comes to second chances.

Cracknell's film is said to be taking a "modern, witty" approach to Austen's source material, as opposed to a "backwards, boring" one that everyone wants. All joking aside, though, that description recalls Autumn de Wilde's "Emma.," a 2020 Austen film that showed it is, in fact, possible to make the author's trademark blend of satire and romance feel as fresh today as it was when she wrote it, so long as you're willing to take an inventive approach to her work. I'm also looking forward to watching Johnson try her hand at some witty Austen wordplay, having already shown a knack for comedy in "The Five-Year Engagement" and even the more darkly funny exchanges in "Bad Times at the El Royale." (Okay, I'm done pushing that movie on you now.)

"Persuasion" begins streaming on Netflix on July 15, 2022.