"The most beautiful thing in the world is a match well made."
While Emma Woodhouse said this about her penchant for pairing couples, the same could very well have been said about Gwyneth Paltrow's casting in Emma.
Paltrow was just 24 years old when she starred as the titular matchmaker in director Douglas McGrath's 1996 adaptation of Jane Austen's classic novel, marking one of her first major roles.
"I knew she had theater training, so she could carry herself, " McGrath told The Los Angeles Times in 1996 of casting Paltrow. "We had many actresses, big and small, who wanted to play this part. The minute she started the read-through, the very first line, I thought, 'Everything is going to be fine; she's going to be brilliant.'"
His assessment turned out to be true, with Paltrow earning rave reviews for her performance and leading a stacked cast that included Ewan McGregor, Toni Collette and Alan Cumming.
For Paltrow, the desire to play the Austen heroine was "obvious," telling the Washington Post at the time, "I mean, roles like that just don't come along for a woman in her early twenties. It's such an exception. She's such a wonderful, flawed heroine, and she learns and grows from her mistakes."
In honor of the movie's 25th anniversary, here's what the stars of Emma are up to now...
Emma is streaming on Hulu.