‘Pride & Prejudice & Zombies’ Update: Budgetary Issues, Directing Rumors

Published 4 years ago by , Updated September 18th, 2012 at 8:02 am,

PPZ Pride & Prejudice & Zombies Update: Budgetary Issues, Directing Rumors

The adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s history/horror mashup, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter has secured some big names behind the camera and a respectable thespian to play the warrior politician – so why is the cinematic take on the author’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (pardon the pun) struggling to come alive?

Current Oscar contender David O. Russell bailed on the project last fall, reportedly because then-star Natalie Portman’s busy schedule was holding up production. Now the Fighter director has opened up a bit more about the reason for his departure.

WSJ Speakeasy caught up recently with Russell and got to talking about the difficulties of attaining proper financing for a film when the director revealed the following tidbit about the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies movie:

“I thought at $40 to $50 million was a bargain price to make a ‘Sherlock Holmes’-style period action romance that happened to have zombies in it. The studio budgeted it as a genre zombie movie and gave me $25 to $28 million. I was like, that’s not cool. We have crazy big action sequences in it. It’s very commercial; we have a major romance. It’s a period film. And we’re doing it on the budget that we did ‘The Fighter’? It made no sense to me. That I found was frustrating.”

FOX is sinking some $69 million into the 3D Abraham Lincoln adaptation and P&P&Z is a product that comes with arguably a similar amount of built-in demand – both from zombie movie enthusiasts and those who are merely morbidly curious. So why the hesitancy on Lionsgate’s part to set a proper budget for a (bloody) popcorn flick with decent box office potential?

The Director Hunt

Director Mike White officially left the project last week, opening the door for another filmmaker (possibly a better known one) to try their hand at the Jane-Austen-romance-meets-zombpocalypse-thriller. One name that’s popped up is that of Christopher Smith, a lesser-known English auteur with a fitting background in graphic dark comedy (Severence) and more straightforward horror (Creep, Triangle). /Film, however, has already indicated that hopeful fans are likely responsible for this flimsy but otherwise not unreasonable rumor.

P&P&Z does differ from Abraham Lincoln as it will require a director who can handle scenes of unflinching violence against the undead while keeping their tongue planted firmly in cheek – whereas Lincoln is going to be played as more of a straightforward period piece with vampire gore thrown into the mix. It’s difficult to say which of these projects will be trickier to realize onscreen – since both are naturally inclined to have camp value – and yet the art of mixing brutal action with off-kilter humor is a delicate one, and the results can be disastrous in the wrong hands.

scene from the spirit Pride & Prejudice & Zombies Update: Budgetary Issues, Directing Rumors

When action/humor goes wrong.

No one is currently attached to star in or direct Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but that should change in the near future. Feel free to share your thoughts with us about the project in the comments section below and on Twitter @screenrant and @feynmanguy.

Source: WSJ Speakeasy (via The Playlist), /Film

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  1. Hmmmm.

    Odd. Shaun Of The Dead cost $4 million. That had some pretty convincing Zombie effects.

    Give me, say $10 million and I could makes this movie.#

    Pathetic reasoning.

    • @ DSB: I completely agree. There must be manors around England that be used for location shots, so you would only need to build sets for the times when things are getting ripped up. Creative use of green screen and digital compositing could really extend the value up on the screen. And costumes could be easy to get. I mean there must be hundreds of pieces of wardrobe used for other period films just sitting in storage that could be purchased much less expensively than creating all the wardrobe from scratch.

    • dr sam beckett i completly argee with you on this one… give me the right supplies and i could make you look like a decent zombie… shaun of the dead? wow! if they gave this movie 15 million, then this would be enough… btw, how much did “night of the living dead” cost?

  2. I say get Edgar Wright for this one.

  3. I echo Edgar Wright. How about Neil Blomkamp? District 9 was only made with $30 million and it grossed more than $200 million. Or if they want to be eccentric they can go with Jean Pierre Jeunet.

  4. I think Edgar Wright as well i loved Scott Pilgrim

  5. what movie is that pictured? Anybody know?

    • The Spirit I think. God that movie sucked.

    • That’s from the movie “The Spirit”

  6. I say let this project go altogether. It’s just the original story with random zombie fights that pop up out of nowhere and add nothing but useless and cheesy fight scenes to the story and completely ruin the original characterization of the main characters.

  7. @DSB – Shaun of the Dead had a budget of £4,000,000 not $. You need to convert the currency and then adjust for nearly 8 years of inflation. But your also comparing a British film to a US film budget.