Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

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pride-prejudice-zombiesWhoever said “Pride and Prejudice is a pretty good story, but you know what it needs… zombies” was really onto something.  Pride and Prejudice and Zombies hit bookshelves on April 1, 2009, and it has enjoyed a wildly successful turn on the New York Times bestseller list ever since.  The novel is written by Seth Grahame-Smith, and Jane Austen gets credit as co-author for her contribution.  Hollywood studios were bidding on the rights before it ever went to print, and finally, we are starting to hear news about the adaptation’s progress.

Natalie Portman has jumped at the chance to produce and star in the Zombie period piece (that’s a subgenre I never thought I’d live to see, and yet I’m glad I did).  Portman’s company Handsomecharlie Films will have some help to bring this modernized classic to the big screen from Darko Films, notably Annette Savitch, who had this to say to Variety: “Natalie and I are longtime passionate fans of Jane Austen’s books and this a fresh, fun and thought-provoking way to approach her work…The idea of zombies running rampant in 19th Century England may sound odd, but it lends a modern sense of urgency to a well known love story.”

Other co-producers include David Kelly, Sean McKittreck, and Ted Hamm of Darko Films.  And recently Pajiba reported that David O. Russell, known for I Heart Huckabees, has been attached to the project as director and screenwriter.

From what I understand, this take of Jane Austen’s classic maintains the language and manners of the original material, only Portman’s version of Elizabeth Bennett will back up her prowess for verbal sparring with some pretty ruthless zombie-slaying skills.  The conflict between the Bennett family’s headstrong second daughter and the arrogant Mr. Darcy is sure to be complicated by the pressures of an ongoing apocalypse.

A prequel and a graphic novel to compliment Pride and Prejudice and Zombies have also been announced.  Steve Hockensmith will handle the prequel, subtitled The Dawn of the Dreadfuls.  And Tony Lee will write the graphic novel.  Seth Grahame-Smith is busy working on his next big work, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

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