Craig Gillespie Drops Out of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES

     October 27, 2011

Craig Gillespie PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES slice

When it’s this hard to get a movie made, one has to wonder if it’s even worth making in the first place. The adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has cycled through a number of directors, many actresses have passed on the leading role, and now the current director has called it quits as well. Fright Night director Craig Gillespie has exited the project in what’s described as an amicable split with Lionsgate, as the two apparently disagreed on who to cast. Gillespie replaced Mike White on the project, who himself replaced original director David O. Russell. Actresses who have been offered the lead and passed include Anne Hathaway, Mia Wasikowska, Scarlett Johansson, Emma Stone, and most recently Blake Lively. Hit the jump for more including who could possibly come on to replace Gillespie.

pride_and_prejudice_and_zombies_book_cover_01We already have a pretty great adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice with Joe Wright’s 2005 version (not to mention the Colin Firth-enhanced 1995 television adaptation), so it begs the question: is the same story plus zombies really necessary? The answer is of course it isn’t, but since Zombieland made a lot of money and The Walking Dead is breaking records for AMC, try telling Lionsgate that.

The novel’s co-author Seth Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg were keen on co-directing the film before Gillespie got the gig, so one assumes they’d still be interested. Christopher Smith was also rumored to be in the running after White dropped out. Deadline’s report on the matter suggests that Lionsgate might be looking to pick up a package from an agency that includes not only a director but an actor as well, since the role of zombie-plagued Elizabeth Bennett is apparently kryptonite for every actress between the ages of 18 and 28.

Here’s the synopsis for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies:

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.” So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy.

What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead. Can she vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry?” [Amazon].

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