Now that the epic, interactive YouTube series, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, has finally reached its close, the fans need some consoling. So, we called stars Ashley Clements and Mary Kate Wiles into the studio, joined by co-creator and head writer Bernie Su over Google+, to celebrate making 100 episodes, reveal their favorite experiences while filming, and tease upcoming projects.
“It’s sad. It’s something we’ve worked on for a year. We’ve become a family,” says Ashley, who portrayed the title character. “But I’m also really, really proud of it and I feel like we ended it at the right time.” It only makes sense. Just as Jane Austen’s classic novel, “Pride and Prejudice,” had a clear beginning and end, so does its online adaptation.
But no one really knew at the start that the “Lizzie Bennet” following would be this massive.
“I think it’s because the story has just stood the test of time over 200 years,” Bernie says. The built-in interactivity doesn’t hurt, either. Each major character has his or her own Twitter and YouTube platforms, providing for branches of extra content and engagement.
“We had that baked in from the beginning,” Bernie continues. “If Lizzie is a character that has YouTube and Twitter, Lydia would have YouTube and Twitter, too, at some point. It just made a lot of sense to do all that.”
Even the series’ resident feline, Kitty Bennet, has a Twitter account. Once the team decided to cat-ify the young Bennet sister, Kitty, Rosie – Mary Kate’s actual cat – quickly made a name for herself. “Actually, she’s getting more calls than I’m getting,” Mary Kate admits with more than a hint of jealousy.
Outside of “LBD,” fans can see Mary Kate in the hit YouTube series School of Thrones, which just wrapped, and Squaresville, currently in its second season and running until about August or September. “We actually just had an episode come out this morning where I cosplay as a lot of different people,” the actress says, citing impressions of Matt Smith in “Dr. Who” and Felicia Day in “The Guild.”
Speaking of Felicia Day, Ashley will be appearing on the Table Top Day livestream via Felicia’s Geek and Sundry channel. She’ll also be on the second season of Table Top. In reference to the inevitable “geek” question, Ashley says, “Anyone who wants to be a geek can be a geek. I’m not competing about it. But I am of a nerdy variety, yes.”
But the “Lizzie Bennet” journey is not over! In an effort to help fund the production of DVDs, fans raised over $330,000 dollars so far on a Kickstarter campaign that only asked for $60,000 and still has 24 days to go!
The DVDs will include outtakes, episode commentary, behind the scenes footage and more. “We haven’t filmed all of that stuff yet so I can’t say for certain what’s going to be on it,” Ashley says, “but we have plans to put lots of cool things on the DVD that you can’t see on the show.”
Finally, while she admits that it’s cheating, Ashley says that her favorite part of the whole “Lizzie Bennet” experience was the people. And that includes “the cast and the crew and the characters who I have come to really love, and also all of the wonderful fans.”
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