Yesterday brought the news that Fright Night remake helmer Craig Gillespie is set as director for the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies movie. With that matter at last settled, there’s now the question: what exactly does this filmmaker have in mind for this pic, which mixes British pastoral romance with flesh-easting undead monsters?
David O. Russell penned a script for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies back when he was attached to direct the film, and it was that draft of the screenplay that attracted Gillespie to the project. So what exactly did the quirky auteur do with Seth Grahame-Smith’s mashup novel?
Here is what Gillespie told EW about Zombies in its current form:
“There’s a lot of action in this. There are a lot of big set pieces in this film, which is exciting. Basically, as I said to the studio, at the core it’s a love story between Elizabeth and Darcy. If that’s not working, and we’re not rooting for those two get together through all this craziness, the movie is not going to work. That’s key to me, to have this great emotional story going on, and all this craziness.”
Given Gillespie’s background in darkly warped comedy – be it with the movie Lars and the Real Girl or on the Showtime series United States of Tara – and the given subject matter, it’s always been safe to say that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies wouldn’t exactly be a serious movie in his hands. But how exactly does one go about combining Jane Austen literature and zombies?
As it were, Gillespie has an answer for that too:
“I love the propriety of the Jane Austen novels, which you want to keep. The language, what’s appropriate and not appropriate. The customs, and the hierarchy. They had very witty dialogue with a lot of undertones to it. You need the juxtoposition. There’s going to be a strong gothic undertone, which ties the two genres together. It’s more in the world of [Tim Burton's] ‘Sleepy Hollow‘, where it’s somewhat stylized. We have that creative license because of the zombies. I’ll certainly do my homework and explore genres to see what might work, but it’s going to have that strong gothic sense, I think.”
Gillespie says he’s gearing up to begin production on Pride and Prejudice and Zombies near the end of this summer, so casting for film is already underway. Stars like James McAvoy and Anne Hathaway or Bradley Cooper and Scarlett Johansson have been rumored in the past as contenders to play Mr. Darcy and Miss Bennet in the pic, but chances are good that the famous literary couple will be brought to life by an entirely different actor/actress duo.
What do you make of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies so far?