Less the genre mishmash you’d expect and more just Jane Austen with the undead in the background, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a surprisingly faithful adaptation of the romantic classic – well, as faithful as an adaptation can be with heads intermittently being lopped off. The film spends far more time on the romantic back-and-forth-and-back-and-forth of the Bennets and their various suitors than on the horror of zombies, biting and decapitation. If anything, the zombie element brings much of the subtext of Austen’s novel to the foreground – the feminist angle becomes far more pronounced as you watch the Bennet women literally punch, chop, stab and shoot various reanimated corpses.
As two of the Bennet’s suitors, Matt Smith and Douglas Booth approach their characters and the film in radically different ways. Booth as Mr. Bingley is all stoic and reserved charm, playing everything straight as if there’s no difference between the film and any other adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Smith as Mr. Collins, on the other hand, goes big, chewing up every single second of screen time. I’ve always found Mr. Collins to be the least defined caricature in Austen’s novel, but in Smith’s able hands he turns the buffoon into a surprisingly sweet and compelling comic relief.
In the following interview with Booth and Smith, the duo discusses their approach to the roles, their favorite adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and their most memorable moments from shooting. For the full interview, watch below.
Douglas Booth & Matt Smith:
- Smith and Booth on their favorite version of Pride and Prejudice
- On how much they look to previous versions of Mr. Bingley and Mr. Collins
- On how much tone affects performance
- On their most memorable moments from shooting
- On the timeliness of Pride and Prejudice