Seth Grahame-Smith’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was published in 2009, and the movie adaptation has been in development hell ever since. Every few months there seems to be a new update regarding the film, with cast rumours, director rumours and the like. Fans believe that the film is just a myth, and will never get made. All that is about to change as finally a more concrete announcement has been made on the long gestating horror movie mashup.
Deadline is reporting that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies will begin principal photography next month, and a cast has also been confirmed.
Downton Abbey actress Lily James, Sam Riley (Maleficent) and Bella Heathcote will star in the long-stalled movie version of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. James will play Elizabeth Bennet; Riley will portray Mr. Darcy; and Heathcote has been cast Elizabeth’s sister.
Burr Steers (Igby Goes Down, Charlie St Cloud) is directing from a screenplay by David O. Russell and Steers. Brian Oliver, Allison Shearmur, Sean McKittrick, Natalie Portman, Annette Savitch, Tyler Thompson and Marc Butan will produce on behalf of Sierra/Affinity, which also is handling foreign sales.
Published by Quirk Books, the international bestseller has taken its time to get to the starting line. Russell, whose strong script has been one of the constants throughout the process, at one point was going to direct for Lionsgate, but he dropped out in 2010. The studio then chose Mike White, who subsequently left over a scheduling conflict, and Craig Gillespie moved into position in April 2011, only to exit six months later. That split was amicable, but as Deadline reported at the time, had to do with things like who to cast. Emma Stone passed on the lead role in June 2011.
Portman, who along with much of the team has been aboard as producer from the outset, at one point was going to star and later dropped out. Lily Collins was floated for the lead last year at around the time Steers came on. The package is now firmed up with James playing Elizabeth Bennett, Riley as Mr Darcy and Heathcote as Elizabeth’s sister. Jack Huston is also in talks.
Synopsis for the graphic novel, courtesy of Amazon:
It is known as “the strange plague,” and its unfortunate victims are referred to only as “unmentionables” or “dreadfuls.” All over England, the dead are rising again, and now even the daughters of Britain’s best families must devote their lives to mastering the deadly arts. Elizabeth Bennet is a fearsome warrior whose ability with a sword is matched only by her quick wit and even sharper tongue. But she faces her most formidable foe yet in the haughty, conceited, and somehow strangely attractive Mr. Darcy. As the two lovers meet in the ballroom and on the battlefield, they’ll soon learn that nothing—not even bands of ninjas, hordes of flesh-eating zombies, or disapproving aunts—can stop true love.