The Pride and Prejudice and Zombies movie, after being passed around by multiples writers and directors, is reportedly beginning production at last today, under the supervision of filmmaker Burr Steers (Igby Goes Down). All in all, the genre mashup novel-turned film adaptation has assembled an interesting ensemble cast - to play in the world of Jane Austen period drama-meets supernatural monster horror - including, a pair of Game of Thrones stars.
Deadline reports that Lena Headey and Charles Dance - Cersei Lannister and her dad Tywin on Thrones - have joined the Zombies cast, in roles that have yet to be revealed. They are the latest stars of recent hit TV series to have signed on for the project, joining such folk as Lily James (Downton Abbey) as the story's protagonist, Elizabeth Bennet; Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire) as the deceitful Mr. Wickham; Emma Greenwell (Shameless) as the antagonistic Ms. Bingley; and Matt Smith (Doctor Who) as the insensible Mr. Collins.
Austen's source material (and, in turn, Seth Grahame-Smith's "tweaked" version of it) provides some great characters for the talented Zombies cast to bring to life; it also contains strong elements of satire that, if handled well, could blend quite nicely with the zombie sub-genre in movie form. Steers has reportedly written a fresh script draft for the project, though it may be partly based on an earlier screenplay written by David O. Russell (American Hustle) - which, if true, is all the more evidence that Zombies should have an appropriately cheeky sense of humor.
Steers' most recent feature-length directing efforts are the largely-forgotten Zac Efron vehicles 17 Again and Charlie St. Cloud, though he's also worked on such well-respected cable programs as Big Love and Weeds over the years since he brokeout with the well-received Igby Goes Down back in 2002. That is to say, it's possible that Steers' Pride and Prejudice and Zombies movie adaptation will fall closer to his TV work during the past decade (more darkly witty, yet substantial) than his film output. Fingers crossed, anyway.
Screen Gems (the Underworld series) has picked up U.S. distribution rights for Zombies. The film could be ready for a theatrical release next year (2015) by September - a frame that served fellow zombie action property Resident Evil well, in previous years. Then again, Screen Gems could decide to hold off the project's debut until either January or February 2016, when competition will also be fairly light.
We'll let you know when Pride and Prejudice and Zombies gets an official release date.