David O. Russell Quits ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’

Published 5 years ago by

pride prejudice and zombies1 David O. Russell Quits Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith was the beginning of brand new world in literature—which is to say, taking preexisting fictional or historical works and adding supernatural creatures to them willy-nilly. Its unadulterated success (it topped both The New York Times and Amazon bestseller lists) led to the release of such books as Sense and Sensibility with Sea Monsters, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and a Pride/Prejudice/Zombies prequel.

As of last December, Pride/Prejudice/Zombies was optioned by Lionsgate to become a major motion picture, with Natalie Portman attached to star/produce and David O. Russell (Three Kings, I Heart Huckabees) attached to direct.

Now, due to Natalie Portman’s schizophrenic film schedule—will she be Lois Lane? (Answer: Maybe.) Will she be the lead in Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity? (Answer: No.)—have forced Russell to jump ship for Old St. Louis instead.

According to Vulture, due to David O. Russell’s decision to exit Pride, the project is heretofore, for all intents and purposes, dead. Just in terms of financial security, killing the project makes more sense than producing it. Victorian period films are typically not super-cheap. Add to that the horror element of fighting off a zombie plague and the film is already really limiting itself in terms of mass audience appeal.

pride prejudice zombies drawing David O. Russell Quits Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Frankly, I’ll be happy when zombie pop culture is no longer “hip” and “in” and I can go back to loving it, sans hipsters, in the dank, dark corners of movie theaters with the other dregs of society. There was a time when zombies were cool because few people had any interest in them. Now that everybody wants a piece of that delicious zombie pie (not unlike vampire pie), they’re anything but cool—The Walking Dead TV show notwithstanding.

Russell’s replacement project, Old St. Louis, which he has been attached to since July, is about a traveling toy salesman (played by Vince Vaughn) who attempts to reconnect with his teenage daughter—possibly played by Chloe Moretz?—whose life he has thus far been absent from. It’s unclear as to whether or not Old St. Louis is a full-on drama, a la The Fighter, or part drama, part comedy, a la Three Kings. Scarlett Johansson was previously set to play Vaughn’s mistress and secretary who accompanies him on the road, but because she couldn’t make Russell’s start date, she’s out and there’s no word on who will replace her.

director david o russell David O. Russell Quits Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

David O. Russell’s The Fighter, starring Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale, hits theaters December 10th of this year.

For fans of Seth Grahame-Smith’s books who are bummed that Pride/Prejudice/Zombies won’t, for the foreseeable future, be seen on the silver screen, take solace in the fact that Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, directed by Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted) and produced by Tim Burton, just landed at Fox after an intense bidding war for distribution rights. Because it’s not as if we have enough vampire-related movies and books and comic books and television shows as is!

Source: Vulture

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  1. Try to keep up, guy, Portman is not LL. Crib some more from Deadline, why don’t you.

    • Thanks, Norm, your assistance is invaluable.

  2. I am REALLY excited that Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is going to be a movie. I loved the book and think it would make a superb film. Keep us posted pleeeeease.

  3. Sorry, I disagree. Shoot it in England (where period actors with REAL British accents aren’t hard to find–and they don’t usually get paid as well as their American cousins), where a wealth of costumes, pre-worn and new, are as easy as a trip to the BBC wardrobe.
    Along with FX companies like The Mill, who process Doctor Who’s graphics (and haven’t done zombies, but just about every other monster imaginable including a dammed good werewolf), and an avid undead audience in the UK between Shaun of the Dead, 28 Days Later and the like–I think there is an easy, no-brainer track to do PPaZ.
    So, Natalie Portman can’t do it. Is she the ONLY actress that can perform Elizabeth? (Keira Knightley seems to have landed the role…)
    The Beeb doesn’t have to do this, they can farm it out to some of their subsidiaries or partners, or frankly, rivals. The Budget for Knightley’s aforementioned P&P was: a mere $28,000,000 (which they made back on opening weekend), and frankly I think a good portion of that is salary. Even a first-time director might get a bigger budget given the bigger audience for zombie movies than Jane Austen novels (how many version of P&P have there been, now, including television?).
    What can’t be shot at Pinewood Shepperton or any of the new soundstages springing up in England can be shot on location.
    This hysteria over “David O. Russell Quitting ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ is overblown. Heard of development hell? The good ones make it out. Another director can come along and pick it up. If Sam Raimi decided to make it with Ghost House, people would be signing up by the bushel basket to capitalize it, and it would be a huge hit at the box office (especially if he could get Bruce Campbell to play Mr. Bennet during the Burn Notice hiatus–and he can). Not only is this project not DOOMED, but several others like it will open before principal photography is even begun. World War Z, The Walking Dead (yes, I know it’s for TV) and others are riding the vampire wave at the cinema even though most were written before said wave crested (crashed?).
    If Pride & Prejudice and Zombies doesn’t get made, it won’t be the zombie apocalypse. My bet is that if Lionsgate was interested enough to option it, get a director and were on a timetable serious enough to stand down when their two leading ladies couldn’t make it (standard practice to reduce production costs), in an environment when MGM might not survive, despite their Bond and other franchises, it will still be worthwhile as a property six, twelve or eighteen months down the road.
    In the meanwhile, the next 18 months should be packed full of tricks and treats for zombie lovers.

  4. They should try and reverse the formula: take a Victorian genre novel and class it up. Instead of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, how about The Strange Case of Doctor Jeckyl and Madame Bovary?

  5. How about the movie Will Smith’s interested in? Playing Cane fighting off a vampire or something, is that still on?