Oh Mr. Darcy! Jane Austen Super Fans

She's been dead for 200 years, but Austen's works still inspire movies, books and even conventions.
5:51 | 11/15/13

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Transcript for Oh Mr. Darcy! Jane Austen Super Fans
Groupies and super fans come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. You get women who hang out backstage at rock concerts and guys who dress up like boba fett at comic-con. Tonight we're going to take you inside a groupie subculture unlike any other. They've got costumes, they've got a sex symbol, and they've got an inspiration who is more than 200 years old. Abc's david wright reports from austen world. He's finished. Reporter: Smoldering with polite restraint. That's jane austen's iconic leading man. Thank you for the lesson. Reporter: From sir laurence olivier to colin firth. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you. You have bewitched me body and soul. Reporter: To that guy in the keira knightly version. And I love -- I love you. Reporter: Mr. Darcy is an unlikely sex symbol. The thinking woman's heartthrob. When I was about to play the part, everybody I knew was horrified and astonished. Women I knew just said don't, you'll ruin it forever. Reporter: And yet all these years later -- I don't know if I'd say he was my ideal -- Reporter: -- Grown women still swoon. I've definitely been in love with colin firth most of my life. Ask, you know, who's the best male lead in all of these ladies, you know, the whole conference will get into a big -- Reporter: These ladies, not women mind you, they're ladies, are more than just fans of jane austen and her world. They're fanatics. Yes. We're totally jane austen groupies. Reporter:200 years after she published "pride and prejudice," jane austen is money. Literally. Her face now on the 10 pound note. I memorized the first three chapters of "pride and prejudice" when I was 13. Reporter: Fans are so obsessed with her work they don't just make her books into movies. There are books and movies about jane mania, including "austen land" earlier this year about her crazed fans. Maybe this was the mysterious mr. Right I'd been waiting my whole life to meet. You remember bridget. Maybe not. Reporter: "Bridget jones' diary" famously updated "pride and prejudice" in modern dress. Now that story is getting another sequel. And shock horror, darcy is dead. Did you hear the other day? Did it now? Reporter: There's the popular web series the linds bennett diaries set in a college dorm room. There's fan fiction and fantasy including a zombie mr. Darcy. Brace yourself, darcy. Reporter: And the bollywood version "bride and prejudice" proving it's a worldwide obsession. ♪ thing that's really interesting to me is how many different kinds of jane austens there are for all the jane austen fans that are out there. Reporter: The janites create their own costume dramas. A jane austen evening like this one in pasadena. Complete with dinner and dancing and lots of amateur mr. Darcys. Oh, he's everybody's dream. Reporter: And what is it about mr. Darcy? I don't get it. You don't get it? Well, you're a man. That's why. Reporter: The patrons here kindly took me under their wing for a quick tutorial on how to dance like a darcy. In vermont the governor's house b & b offers jane austen weekends several times a year. There's an afternoon tea, of course. This would hold a little bit of ink. Reporter: Writing lessons with a quill pen. And in the evenings a literary meal. These are the words of the character. Reporter: The jane austen society of north america, jasna for short, offers the sort of highbrow discussions you'd expect at an academic conference and something you don't see. "Pride and prejudice." Reporter: A promenade through downtown minneapolis. Like you walked through a time machine. Reporter: It's the literary equivalent of a "star trek" convention. These people are not just crazed fans. They're intelligent career women, most of them. Modern-day elizabeth bennetts. We met one group who were rocket scientists at nasa. I felt like I was in "pride and prejudice." It was amazing. It was so much fun. Amazing. It's fun to come and do something totally different and be in the literary world. Reporter: What can possibly explain this passion for the frigid world of country houses in regency, england? For some it's about the yearning for subtlety. You definitely get people who find in jane austen some kind of a more calm and peaceful and more civilized world. But you also get people who are really drawn to what they see as her very social satire. Reporter: Whatever it is the smoldering contact between passion and civility has real appeal. The absence of instant gratification may be especially tantalizing in the era of google and twitter. Of all the clips from the bbc mini series available on youtube, the one with three times as many hits as all the others is the one where colin firth dives into lake fully clothed. And emerges dripping wet in his riding gear to meet his true love. Mr. Darcy. Miss bennett. Reporter: This is jane austen porn. That became a kind of iconic moment of how jane austen could be sort of fresh and sexy and exciting. You have the repressed gentleman thawing out and the women in the tight bodices. It's all full of sex that's about to explode. Reporter: Explode it has. We should meet again very soon. Reporter: In a british sex symbol more enduring than james bond. One that's neither shaken nor stirred. I'm david wright for "nightline" in pasadena.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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