While a large number of film fanatics have become such based on their hatred for reading, I am one of those who came to my love of film through reading. As such, I jumped at the opportunity to read and review Seth Grahame-Smith’s most recent literary mashup, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Of interest to the film world because of the flurry of activity surrounding the impending sale of the novel’s movie rights, Grahame-Smith’s 320-page horror comedy is, despite what other film-focused sites have been reporting, positively delightful.
I was given the opportunity to speak with Seth about Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by his publisher, Quirk Books, last week. As he told me, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is about 85% original Jane Austen text and 15% his own gruesome, gory additions (to the untrained eye, it might seem like more Austen than 85%, but as someone who has read both versions I assure you the numbers are right). Perhaps most impressive about the novel is the seamlessness with which Seth integrated his new scenes of undead horror—aptly referred to by the characters as “the unmentionables”—with the existing text. Of course, for those of you guys out there for whom the idea of reading any version of Pride and Prejudice is horrific in and of itself, Seth has some words of wisdom. When I asked him what he would say to individuals of that particular mindset, Seth told me, “They oughta give it a chance. I understand that the original Pride and Prejudice is definitely not on a lot of guys’ reading lists, but I would say to those guys, if you’re going to read one version of Pride and Prejudice in your life, let it be this one.” Citing the idea of “a hot young girl who kicks ass and kills ninjas” (yes, he said ninjas), Seth hinted that guys might find more to their liking in his novel than they expected.
As the title implies, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies takes Jane Austen’s original Pride and Prejudice novel and adds zombies. But why zombies? According to Seth, “The zombie thing really started with The Zombie Survival Guide and Max Brooks some years ago, and they definitely have fallen behind the vampire craze in literature. But it just seemed funny to me. Doing vampires in nineteenth century England wasn’t as surprising as doing zombies. Zombies are a very modern horror character. They only really pop up after 1950, so there’s something more modern about adding zombies and there was just something more fun about it than, say, adding a werewolf or a vampire, which you might expect in old England.”
Despite working both as an author and as a screenwriter (Seth’s film credits include a TV miniseries titled The Most, two episodes of History’s Mysteries, and an appearance in the recently released made for TV movie His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th), the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies film rests in the hands of Seth’s publisher, Quirk Books. Whether Seth will be involved in the project at all will be determined by those producing the film. “I think I’d have to be pretty lucky to get this job,” Seth told me. “Even though I’d love to do it, there people out there with much more extensive feature credits that I’d be fighting for the job.”
Unfortunately, when I asked Seth if he had any more information on the sale of the film rights for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, all he could reveal was that an announcement about which studio has purchased those rights should hit the scene sometime this week (and we will be sure to update you as soon as it does, no worries), as well as an announcement about the first actress to sign on to the project. “I think that the actress that might be announced next week is probably the perfect choice,” Seth told me, apologizing for the ban that kept him from revealing more.
Although it’s a book and we usually promote movies, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is definitely worth looking into if you’re any kind of horror or zombie fan. As I said before, we’ll keep our eyes peeled for any updates regarding the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies movie and cast and will let you know as soon as anything hits the scene. For more information on Seth Grahame-Smith, check out his IMDb page or his blog on Amazon. For more information on Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, check out Quirk Books’ Web site, Irreference.