Elizabeth Bennet (Lily James) may be all about undead-killing in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but her little sisters have something else in mind – dating – even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. Suki Waterhouse steps in as Kitty Bennet who she describes as the less desirable of the bunch and Ellie Bamber plays Lydia, the youngest Bennet who gets into a little trouble with Mr. Wickham (Jack Huston).
While visiting the set of the film back in November of 2014, Waterhouse and Bamber joined the group of visiting journalists for a brief roundtable interview. The pair discussed their characters, how they fit into the family, their signature weapons, their personal zombie apocalypse survival tactics and more. Check it all out in the interview below.
Question: Can you tell us a little bit about your characters and how they fit into the family?
ELLIE BAMBER: Well, I’m playing Lydia Bennet and she’s quite saucy. I’m playing the cheeky little sister so I get kidnapped by Mr. Wickham.
SUKI WATERHOUSE: I’m Kitty. I’m sort of the dark, kind of ugly one that you feel a bit sorry for. I’m very quiet.
But they’re both pretty badass.
BAMBER: We’re all badass.
What is like playing these period characters that traditionally don’t have that characteristic?
WATERHOUSE: It’s a good contrast because we’re kind of giggly, normal girls by day and then we pop out our mad sides.
BAMBER: I think it’s quite fun because acting-wise you get the best of both worlds. You get a bit of [the] fun, giggly, girly side but then you’ve also got the badass side.
So what happens when you go all badass? What’s your fighting style? What’s your weapon?
BAMBER: I’m quite fiery.
WATERHOUSE: You’ve got those picks.
BAMBER: I’ve got these two little daggers, hence the ginger. I guess you’re quite samurai, aren’t you?
WATERHOUSE: Yeah, we all get assigned a different weapon.
How do your characters feel about the killing? Does it bum them out at all or do they look at it as their duty, like Liz?
BAMBER: We’ve been born into it because it has been going on for 70 years so I think we’re a little bit more taking it in stride.
WATERHOUSE: It only takes one bite and you’re a zombie, so you’ve just got to be active.
BAMBER: You’ve just got to get away.
So do you have a weapon?
WATERHOUSE: Yeah, mine’s a sword. And they can be hidden in our stockings and stuff.
So they’ve made sword fighting fashionable …
WATERHOUSE: They’ve made it really fashionable! I think it’s quite iconic the look they’re going for. You have the traditional outfits and then you’ve got …
BAMBER: We’ve got slits up our sides, and then frilly knickers. [Laughs]
WATERHOUSE: You’ve never seen that kind of stuff before, really.
I’m not entirely sure those boots are period accurate.
BAMBER: [Laughs] They’re nice, aren’t they?
WATERHOUSE: They’re cool.
Lydia causes a lot of trouble in the book and in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies her arc’s a little bit different, so what kind of changes can we expect in this?
BAMBER: I think I’m sticking to the arc in some ways but at the same time I think I want to bring her alive a bit more and have a little bit more energy with it, so I’ve been playing with it in that way where she’s cheeky but she knows when she’s got to actually fight some zombies. She knows when she’s got to switch it off, but I think she is very, very flirtatious a lot of the time. But she’s hungry for it almost. She’s the one who wants to be married before any of her sisters. She’s the one that’s passionate on tracking down someone to be married. I don’t think she’s that interested in the killing.
How does the zombie apocalypse affect dating?
WATERHOUSE: We sort of get quite a lot of time to go to dances and flirt and stuff.
BAMBER: Yeah, I think that’s our favorite moments. We love the ball.
WATERHOUSE: We love ball. [Laughs]
BAMBER: We love getting dressed up. I’ve got a little bow in my hair made out of my hair.
WATERHOUSE: We love that. There’s definitely time for that.
But if you’re flirting with someone and then hardcore kill a zombie, does that make you hotter in their eyes?
WATERHOUSE: They’re slightly threatened by how great we are.
BAMBER: Yeah, exactly, and at the same time, for a modern audience, it might be seen as hotter, but I’m not sure about in these days.
If the zombie apocalypse happened tomorrow, what would your plan be?
WATERHOUSE: I have a friend who has actually built a secret dig-out in case there is something like this. She’s made her husband build one for her, so I’d go there.
BAMBER: I’d probably just get a chainsaw and run around and be like, ‘I’m gonna kill you all!’ I’d probably try and hunt them down.
Why did your friend build a secret bunker?
WATERHOUSE: In case Pride and Prejudice and Zombies turns into real life!
Does she have weapons down there or is it just cans?
WATERHOUSE: It’s like loads of food, medical stuff, bedding, so much shit. It’s been like a proper process. It’s kind of cool.
Do you have a favorite scene that you’ve shot so far?
WATERHOUSE: I enjoy all of the fighting stuff the most actually because it’s the longest takes. You’re smashing into each other, we’ve got bruises everywhere, you don’t really know if you’re gonna step on someone’s leg or arm. You kind of accidentally spike people.
BAMBER: I liked the ones with Matt Smith and Sally Phillips because it’s just so much fun. We just joke around and it’s just nice because I think we have become almost like a family and I hope that translates in the film.
WATERHOUSE: Yeah, whenever Sally’s in, you’re just on the floor.
BAMBER: We’re always on the floor, aren’t we?
WATERHOUSE: Yeah, we’re on the floor in there, aren’t we?
BAMBER: Sam [Riley] is hilarious as well.
Are the fight scenes choreographed?
WATERHOUSE: They are choreographed, but you’ve got loads more people than that on the floor. And with all of us it would have been like spinning and all of this kind of stuff so you can’t really ever tell. It always goes a bit different. Yeah, it’s not particularly choreographed.
Does that make it more fun?
BAMBER: There’s a certain spontaneity to it.
WATERHOUSE: Yeah, definitely.
BAMBER: It looks more real.
WATERHOUSE: Yeah, that’s why it’s so exciting.
What was it like auditioning for these roles? Was it a test of physicality and acting?
WATERHOUSE: No, I really wanted to get it so I did do an extra bit in my tape where I just kind of like – I’ve done karate quite a lot growing up so I did do a kind of quite long karate scene to throw it in. [Laughs]
BAMBER: I got put into a headlock in my audition. I managed to get out which was quite fun. I really enjoyed that actually.
WATERHOUSE: Who put you into a headlock?
BAMBER: I think it was Des [Hamilton].
WATERHOUSE: Oh, you did it in the audition room?
BAMBER: Yeah, just in the audition room.
How familiar were you with the original text before you went in? Did you know what you were getting into?
WATERHOUSE: Yeah, not with the zombies one, but yeah.
BAMBER: I’ve read Pride and Prejudice, the Jane Austen version. And my brother’s excited about it because it has that zombie element so I think all of the kids are gonna be like, ‘Oh, I didn’t really enjoy Pride and Prejudice, but hang on, there’s zombies involved, I’m gonna love that,’ you know?
WATERHOUSE: Oh, with each other? Yeah, we’ve had scenes where we grapple with each other.
BAMBER: We knock Liz over, don’t we? We’re quite a team, we team up and push her over and laugh at her. [Laughs] We’re like evil little sisters.
WATERHOUSE: We do, we do a thing where I get on the floor and Lydia pushes Liz over me.
BAMBER: Which is quite fun. But there’s always that element that we’re still sisters.
WATERHOUSE: It’s all a laugh, isn’t it?
For more from my Pride and Prejudice and Zombies set visit, check out the links below:
- Lily James on Adding Daggers to Her Period Piece Expertise in ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’
- ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’: Sam Riley Reveals His Zombie Outbreak Survival Plan
- Burr Steers on the Stages of Becoming Undead in ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’
- ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’: 17 Things to Know about the Undead Spin on the Classic