Once, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was going to be a collaboration between producer/star Natalie Portman and director David O. Russell (The Fighter). Then, Portman not to star (staying on as producer), and Russell dropped out. Lionsgate hired Mike White (Year of the Dog) to replace Russell, but at this point there are no stars for White to direct.
Scarlett Johansson, Bradley Cooper, Mia Wasikowska, Tilda Swinton, and Catherine O’Hara were rumored for roles awhile back. Two more have thrown their name into the hat: Anne Hathaway and James McAvoy. Details after the jump.
According to Pajiba, Hathaway is under consideration to star as Elizabeth Bennett, while McAvoy would play Mr. Darcy. The earlier report mentioned Johansson and Wasikowska for Elizabeth, Cooper for Darcy. It is not clear if Hathaway and McAvoy now top the shortlist, or have merely joined it. However, it is noteworthy that a Hathaway/McAvoy pairing suggests an entirely different approach to casting than Johansson/Cooper.
Pajiba also clarifies their report on Hathway’s involvement with the Barbarella remake. She is indeed interested, but the film will have a tough time breaking out of development hell. Though Robert Rodriguez and Robert Luketic were each attached to direct at one stage or another, the project currently has no director.
Here’s the synopsis of the source material for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, a novel by Seth Grahame-Smith that inserts zombies into the Jane Austen classic:
“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]