David O. Russel is a magnet for troubled productions, and his involvement with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is proving no different. The notoriously… excitable director is now departing from the project, after it lost its lead actress, Natalie Portman. The two couldn’t reconcile their schedules so Portman was forced to drop the film, even though she’ll apparently be maintaining her role as a producer. Without his lead actress, Russell has decided to move on from the film and begin work on his other in-development project, a dramatic comedy called Old St. Louis.

….now, take a breath, and… Because Russell is moving up the scheduling on Old. St. Louis, which was supposed to be starring Vince Vaughn and Scarlett Johansson, he’ll now be losing his leading lady on that project. Johansson can’t make the accelerated shooting dates, so he’ll have to find someone else to star against Vaughn. One-step forward, one-step back. Oh, but wait, Chloe Moretz, star of Let Me In and Kick-Ass is now able to resume her role as Vaughn’s estranged daughter after previously dropping out for –you guessed it– scheduling conflicts.

Of course, some may say this is an improvement over adapting yet another force-fed zombie-fueled project. I must say, if there was anything that could have possibly made Prejudice interesting, it was Portman and Russell’s involvement. Pride And Prejudice And Zombies, written by Seth Grahame-Smith, is still a runaway hit of a novel though, and will still more than likely make its way onto screens before you know it. Whether or not it will beat the author’s follow up novel/film project Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a bit more up in the air though, especially considering the enthusiasm with which Fox acquired it (the stunts detailed in the article worked- Fox nabbed the picture). In any event, the Pride.. and Zombies needs quite a few principle players to move forward once again, so more announcements are inevitable. Keep an eye out if you are a devotee of pop-horror revisionist takes on classic literature.

Source | EW, NY Mag