Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

The last time we covered the apparently-always-gestating big screen version of Seth Grahame-Smith‘s send-up of the classic Jane Austen novel of (kind of ) the same name, “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” it was to include it in a list of eight promised films that still have not been made. The timing was especially compelling, as the January post arrived just one month before the five-year anniversary of the film’s first announcement. Five years. During those five years, the film has been through a number of incarnations, be it in the form of new directors or new cast members, and we’d long accepted (and, in my case, rejoiced) in the fact that it seemed like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was never going to be made. We were wrong. The film has recently ensnared an entirely new cast — hey, and a director, too! — and looks to finally be on the way to the big screen. It’s the feature that just won’t die, the zombie of the Jane Austen world (a world where, let’s be honest, monsters of this sort just plain don’t belong), lurching ever onward. But how did we get here?

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Taking stock is perfectly natural this time of year. A fresh start always offers the best microscope through which to observe the goals we achieved or left incomplete (like the goal of making a list of goals (I’ll get to it soon, stop bugging me)), and one of the most fascinating ways I know to take stock is to look at what movie projects never made it to the finish line. I’ve looked at 16 recent abandoned movies so far, all of which remain unmade (including the Arrested Development movie whose inclusion in the first list commenters bitched about so vehemently), and there are plenty more where they came from. On the deeper level, it’s a reminder of the fragility of the seventh art, but as pure trivia, it’s an excellent exercise in What If. Great ideas unrealized and bad bullets dodged, here are 8 more non-movies to add to the collection:

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While it’s certainly amusing that one of the projects that Hollywood simply refuses to let die is a film about zombies, the long road to the screen for Pride and Prejudice and Zombieshas been so long and so arduous that it simply doesn’t seem worth it at this point. And yet, this is Hollywood, and the adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith‘s “novel” does come with a script by David O. Russell and it does fall under the newly-hot “zom-rom-com” genre that moviegoers seem to like these days (thanks, Warm Bodies). So let’s throw some more money at it and hope it all works out. Deadline Hollywood passes along word that Panorama Media has joined the long list of the film’s producers – including Darko Entertainment, Handsomecharlie Films, and producer Allison Shearmur – to give the project (which still doesn’t have a cast or a director) still more money to get made. Money is cool and all, but you know what’s really cool? A director and a cast. The news also assures us that the film is out to potential directors, but considering that Zombies has already cycled through plenty of potential directors – with Craig Gillespie last attached to direct back in August of 2011, and other names like Russell himself and Mike White on board at various points to helm – that doesn’t mean much. At least this is a small piece of good news for a plagued project that, again, still doesn’t have an attached director or any semblance […]

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Boiling Point

There are a lot of good things that can be said about Hollywood. It creates tons of jobs, pumps out entertaining movies, makes art widely accessible and helps balance your LDL-HDL cholesterol panel, I’m pretty sure. There is also a ton of bad shit to be said about Hollywood, or else this column couldn’t even exist. Hollywood is many things, but it’s nothing if not extravagantly wasteful. Whether you want to talk about David Fincher’s obsession over every single detail in his movies (details = dollars) or the fact that Jack and Jill cost $79 million to make, probably because Adam Sandler had to be paid twice, once for each ball his comedy is missing these days. There are dozens of ways Hollywood wastes a buck, but the one in the news today is reckless buying of literary properties. You may have heard that Seth Grahame-Smith has sold another of his books to Hollywood. Unholy Night, which releases next year, will be a revisionist take on the story of the three wise men who are now thieves or something. I don’t know, I’ll wait for the movie. Or not, because while Grahame-Smith has sold three of his revisionist novels, not a single one has made it to theaters yet. You probably heard of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies at Lionsgate or Fox’s adaptation of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Heard of them, seen the book covers, but when it comes to seeing any real progress on the films, ha. Never mind. Toss another one of these on the […]

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Oh, come on. Novelist Seth Grahame-Smith has made a fair bit of scratch by plundering better novels and more interesting lives to pen his own ridiculous brand of revisionist history for the page – stuff like “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” and “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” – and while both books have sold like gangbusters, neither has yet proved their worth at the box office. The adaptation of Zombies has been passed around Hollywood more often than an old holiday fruitcake, with directors jumping ship left and right and without a locked-in leading lady, and while Vampire Hunter has a great cast and will actually open in theaters thanks to director Timur Bekmambetov, it still remains to be seen just how that will play with the movie-going public. And with a real Lincoln biopic on the horizon, from no less than Steven Spielberg, it’s hard times out there for a zany take on an American president. But it’s not hard out there for Grahame-Smith, who has sold his latest (still unpublished) novel to a studio eager to adapt it for the screen. Are you ready for what it’s about? You can’t possibly be. What else could a writer whose all but desecrated a classic work of fiction and pissed all over the life story of the greatest American president with en vogue vampire lore? Jesus Christ. No, actually Jesus Christ, specifically the birth of Christ. Grahame-Smith’s latest book is called “Unholy Night,” and it focuses on “an action/adventure surrounding the […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column currently perpetrating a home invasion on yo’ behind. It’s going to tie you up and make you watch while it plays video games in your living room. Also, it will tell you the news… We begin with my favorite thing of the night, the Halloween special episode of Community, “Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps,” yet another brilliant display of the playful and unfathomably intelligent writing behind this show. Something broken down quite nicely in Todd VanDerWerff’s review at The AV Club. And for those of us with simpler tastes, there’s a Community BINGO drinking game now. Coming soon to Reject HQ…

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The production of the upcoming adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” has been a bit of a roller coaster ride. There have been questions about the budget, the schedule, who would end up directing, and perhaps most prominently, who would play the female lead Elizabeth. Pretty much every Hollywood “It” girl you can name has been up for the role, and for whatever reason all of them have ended up turning it down. The production has been through Emma Stone, Mia Wasikowska, Scarlett Johansson, and even Natalie Portman, who has a producer’s credit on the thing but won’t star in it. So, take this news with a grain of salt, but Twitch is reporting that another spin around the casting merry-go-round has landed director Craig Gillespie another candidate for Elizabeth. They say that Gossip Girl star Blake Lively is the new choice, and that an offer has been sent her way.

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Updated with correction: We posted this rumor earlier, but according to a representative at Lionsgate that we asked for comment, Gillespie is still on board the project. Regarding the rumor, the representative said, “This is not true. [Gillespie] is still set to direct.” We apologize for the error, but the situation doesn’t at all change Kate’s feelings on the project that can be found below: News from our pals at Twitch reports that director Craig Gillespie has left the troubled film adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith‘s novel, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, that reimagines the Jane Austen classic as a story not just about the emotional battles of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy, but those battles as set against a countryside overrun with zombies. If Gillespie is off the project, he joins two other directors who previously jumped ship on the film – David O. Russell and Mike White. Besides not having a director, the film is also sorely lacking for a leading lady, with Mila Kunis, Emma Stone, Rooney Mara, and Olivia Wilde all reportedly considered for the role or straight out offered it in the past, with none of them ever signing on. Buzz continues to turn back to Natalie Portman, however, as Portman’s production company is co-producing the project and the actress has an open schedule after the recent birth of her son. As of now, Dominic Cooper is apparently set to play Mr. Darcy, making him the only person with a firm commitment at this point. But, considering the revolving […]

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Don’t be surprised if Emma Stone is very savvy when it comes to killing the undead. With her work in Zombieland, she proved herself to be an apt killer of those who hunger for brains. She will now take those skills and (most likely) apply them in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the Craig Gillespie-directed adaptation of the popular Seth Grahame-Smith-written adaptation of the famed Jane Austen book. Phew. She has been offered the lead role of Elizabeth Bennet, according to Heat Vision, who sets off on a quest to find love and independence in a world populated by the undead. The project itself seems to be personifying its main antagonists, continuing to cling to life despite directors leaving, financing problems and a serious lack of cast. Consider Stone to be a step toward actually making it happen. Good or bad, this retread will retread its way toward treading all over your sense and sensibility (see what I did there?) soon.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a sad Doctor Who fan tonight, that’s for sure. With the premiere of a new season less than a week away, tragedy has struck. We must press on, but we must also remember fondly Elisabeth Sladen. There will also be a slew of interesting news, but first, some sadness… Elisabeth Sladen — best known as Sarah Jane Smith of Doctor Who fame — has passed away this week at the age of 63. For those who are not familiar with her work, she was one of the most famous companions in the long history of Who. She was the show’s heart and soul for a time, and reprised the character many times over the course of 38 years. That’s one hell of a run. She will be missed.

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“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” was a strange idea for a book. Author Seth Grahame-Smith took a Jane Austen classic about social repression, marriage, estates, and all of that 19th century England stuff that Austen liked to write about, and he infused it with subtle elements of a zombie story. The military encampment outside of town is explained as being there to combat the zombies, character’s already existing actions are explained as being motivated due to zombie bite, etc… When he talked to FSR about the book, he said that it was about 85% original Austen text and 15% his own crazy additions. Needless to say, an idea so radical drew a lot of attention and Grahame-Smith’s book sold a lot of copies. In order to cash in on the craze, he went on to write “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter”, a similar book that tells the story of Lincoln’s life, but subtly inserts fights with blood sucking fiends at every turn. Both of Grahame-Smith’s books eventually got optioned to become feature films, but Pride and Prejudice and Zombies hit so many snags in pre-production that Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter has all but lapped it, getting a script and a director and a cast before any real motion could be made on Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. But it looks like that is about to change.

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s newest late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this stuff late at night, what do you expect?

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The mist rolls in obscuring the log cabin where Abe’s mother is preparing dinner. Little does she know that she is in fact on the menu. A shadow falls across the cabin door. She turns. There is no time to scream. Alright, I just made that up. But if you like that you can buy “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” the newest novelty novel from Seth Grahame-Smith.

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First it was a book, then it was another book, now it’s going to be a movie. And right off the bat, it’s getting some star power.

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Author Seth Graham-Smith sits down with us to talk about Max Brooks, catching the zombie culture up with the vampire craze and adapting Jane Austen with a twist.

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Natalie Portman should fight zombies.

Jane Austen is suddenly the hottest commodity in Hollywood. At least zombies have made her that way.

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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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published: 12.15.2014
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published: 12.12.2014
D+


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