Pride & Prejudice & Zombies & Lars
Written by Sarah
As you know, I love Ryan Gosling. And my favorite Ryan Gosling film is Lars and the Real Girl, which was directed by Craig Gillespie (he also did the upcoming Fright Night remake with Colin Farrell). Gillespie was just confirmed as the director of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, the adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s book about Elizabeth Bennett slaying her way to Mr. Darcy’s heart. Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors and I’m obsessed with preparing for the inevitable zombie uprising, so my interest in this project is a given (plus the book is really fun).
It’s been a bit rough for this property, though. Natalie Portman was originally slated to star as Elizabeth Bennett but she dropped out even before announcing her pregnancy (she remains on board as a producer). Then director David O. Russell (The Fighter) dropped out, followed earlier this year by second-pick Mike White (veteran of Freaks & Geeks). And with Grahame-Smith’s attention squarely on his adaptation of his other (awesome) novel, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, PPZ seemed dead in the water.
But now Lionsgate is creaking back into gear with it, and I really like the hiring of Gillespie. His resume is limited but he has LARS. He made LARS. He got one of Ryan Gosling’s best performances (it was the best until Blue Valentine) on film. And people are kind of stoked for his Fright Night remake, due later this summer. The trick to PPZ is balancing the classic Austen elements with ninja assassins and zombie attacks and I think Gillespie can handle it. Lars is so subtle and nuanced in its humor—I doubt Gillespie will fall into the trap of playing PPZ broad. And if the Fright Night hype is for real—based on the material released so far it does look pretty cool—then Gillespie can handle the guts and gore stuff, too.
That just leaves the cast. Portman, despite her recent annoyingness, wasn’t a bad idea. This isn’t your typical Lizzy Bennett. This Lizzy has to not only spar verbally with Darcy but also physically with a ninja army. She’s tougher, harder than the “real” Lizzy Bennett. Whoever plays her has to be able to balance the physicality, the humor and the romanticism of the role. Prepare the casting carousel for any actress aged 18-28 who has a romantic face and a sassy attitude. And what of Darcy? Well I’m in the honeymoon phase with The Fassbender, so of course I want him for any project I’m interested in, but really, he wouldn’t be a bad choice. However Gillespie and the producers end up going, Grahame-Smith’s Abraham Lincoln has attracted some really top talent from Broadway—people want to be part of Grahame-Smith’s projects and though Abraham Lincoln has more juice right now, the casting for PPZ will get competitive.
Have you read this book? If you have, you’ll know why I’m so excited for this. No, it’s not just the zombies. It’s taking one of literature’s most kick-ass heroines and literally letting her kick ass.
(Lainey: we can play casting director for this during the liveblog today)