If you peruse my various writings that are scattered across this great digital expanse, you might already know that I’m no fan of the literary mash-up trend. But this wasn’t always the case. When I first heard of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I thought it sounded delightful, like something that would combine Colin Firth, Keira Knightley, and Shaun of the Dead.
And then I actually read it. It’s sloppy. I expected a new(ish) story with familiar characters, but this is just pride and Prejudice with the occasional zombie shuffling in. There must be a handful of original paragraphs in the entire book. When I found out these weren’t even the brainchildren of the comedians that penned them — that Quirk simply pulled a hungry writer and said “Throw some sea monsters or whatever in this public domain classic — then it just became even more disposable and dull. Nevertheless, I did go on record as saying a fun movie could probably be made of Zombies should someone actually spin some original content out of it. I could still go for Regency era zombies.
The movie rights to P&P&Z were sold before the book even hit store shelves, though it’s taken a surprisingly long time to actually get to the big screen. If you ask me, the smell of decay is already on it, but Hollywood persists.
According to Deadline Hollywood Daily, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has now become the hot property in a world where Superman, Wolverine 2, and Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune have been snapped up. You may remember that David O. Russell was directing it for Natalie Portman, but both have dropped out.
Now, Mike Newell and David Slade are reportedly in the running, with hints of unnamed directors equally interested. Russell’s script is supposed to be good, so it’s attracting a lot of buzz, which might mean the material has actually been improved. Man, I hope so. You need more than Elizabeth Bennet wielding a katana — and yes, it does surprise me to say that.
DHD also teases us with casting rumors. Scarlett Johansson is rumored to be playing Elizabeth (this feels like a revenge plot spun out of filming The Other Boleyn Girl) and Bradley Cooper is said to be in the running for Darcy. I’m hoping they can get someone with more humor than Johansson has ever displayed (Emma Watson, are you free?), but Cooper has the right sardonic smirk. Some might fret that an American cast is heading up Austen, but if you’re going to fill a classic with zombies, you might as well cast it full of Yanks and complete the mockery.