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.
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.
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!