[Update: Craig Gillespie has officially landed the job of directing Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.]
Mike White evaded the director’s chair for the adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies last month – and now Lionsgate reportedly has a new potential candidate whose previous work and artistic sensibilities arguably make him a better fit to handle this strange brew of period romance and zombie slaughter.
Fright Night remake director Craig Gillespie is the frontrunner now to helm this project and his background in indie movie and cable TV production further qualifies him for the job, since Lionsgate is aiming to make it a relatively low-budget horror affair.
Gillespie would be the third offbeat auteur to come onboard for this pic, following in the footsteps of White and David O. Russell. Deadline claims The Fighter director crafted “a killer script” (pun possibly intended) prior to his departure from the adaptation, and that’s kept filmmakers circling the surprisingly slow-progressing project, which has experienced far more difficulty getting off the ground than fellow literature/action hybrid, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, or the history/horror romp, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
Besides being the creative force behind the upcoming retooling of the 1985 cult horror comedy Fright Night, Gillespie’s directorial resume includes a handful of episodes for Showtime’s multiple personality comedy, United States of Tara, and the acclaimed indie flick Lars and the Real Girl – a curiously sentimental and endearing dramedy revolving around a man who strikes up a relationship with a blow-up sex doll. If Gillespie can make a bizarre love affair like that work, then perhaps he’s the perfect fit to handle a tale that mixes Jane Austen romance with a zombie splatterfest.
Currently there’s no one officially attached or in the midst of negotiations to star in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but that will surely change once the project finally has a director locked down for good. The chance to dress up in Regency era garb and duke it out with the undead is bound to interest some significant names, be they the oft-rumored Scarlett Johansson and Bradley Cooper or some other duo that’ll want to portray the classic love-hate affair between Miss Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy – in the context of a zombie apocalypse, that is.