The most surprising thing about “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”? That they actually ended up making it.
After losing three directors and at least one major star (Natalie Portman), the adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith's bestselling mashup novel is finally headed to the big screen, and EW has the exclusive on the first official images from the film, which director Burr Steers (“Igby Goes Down”) says will be played without the tongue-in-cheek tone readers of the book may have been expecting:
“The idea was that it was Pride and Prejudice set in this alternate world and then for everyone to play it straight,” Steers told EW. “The movie”s big wink is that there is no big wink.” Added star Lily James (“Cinderella”): “It”s definitely not camp.”
You can view the images below. But first, here's a capsule history of the long-in-the-works production:
April 2009: Seth Grahame-Smith's mashup novel is released and quickly becomes a bestseller.
December 2009: Lionsgate announces a film adaptation of the book, with Natalie Portman set to play the lead role of Elizabeth Bennet and David O. Russell attached to write and direct.
November 2010: Mike White (“Year of the Dog”) replaces Russell as director.
January 2011: White is forced to leave the project due to a scheduling conflict.
February 2011: Craig Gillespie (“Lars and the Real Girl”) replaces White as director.
May 2011: Marti Noxon (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) is hired to rewrite Russell's script.
October 2011: Gillespie departs the project, becoming the third filmmaker to do so in the span of a year.
May 2013: Burr Steers (“Igby Goes Down”) is hired to direct; Lily Collins enters negotiations to play Elizabeth Bennet.
August/September 2014: “Cinderella” star Lily James, Sam Riley, Bella Heathcote, Jack Huston, Douglas Booth, Matt Smith, Charles Dance and Lena Headey join the cast. James is set to play Elizabeth Bennet while Riley will star as Mr. Darcy. Filming begins on September 24 for Sony Screen Gems, which purchased the U.S. distribution rights from Lionsgate.
April 2015: “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” is slated for release on February 5, 2016.
Will it all have been worth it in the end? Or, even more pertinently: do any of us even care anymore? Just asking!
Here are the first images from the film: