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The well-spoken actress, just 24, first read Austen when she was 14. “Her books became my friends,” she says. “It was wonderful to be playing an artist discovering her own artistic process because I’m very much at an age when I’m discovering mine.”

(She prefers, though, a book she read at 23. “My favorite book in the world is “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand,” she says. “I think she’s pretty genius.”)

Working on “Becoming Jane” and the upcoming “Get Smart,” Miss Hathaway came to a simple but sensible conclusion about working on films based on cherished source material: “You’re never going to make everyone happy.”

It’s clearly something that’s on Mr. Jarrold’s mind, too. He’s in the middle of filming “Brideshead Revisited,” with “Match Point’s” Matthew Goode taking over Jeremy Irons’ role as the artist who gets entangled with an aristocratic family.

“It is very daunting,” he says of the “burden” of remaking a popular property. “You’ve got to deliver a film that stands on its own feet, that doesn’t seem like a poor second cousin.”

Mr. Jarrold is getting very high-profile projects for a director just embarking on a film career. Until now, he’s been best known in Britain as the director of such acclaimed television films as another literary adaptation, 2002’s “White Teeth,” based on Zadie Smith’s novel of the same name.

But whether it’s that he wants to branch out or is a little exhausted with the burdens, don’t look for him to do another adaptation soon.

Laughing, he says, “I want to do something completely different next, something that nobody’s ever heard of, something contemporary.”