First Look: Bennet Sisters Ready to Kick Ass in 'Pride & Prejudice & Zombies'

Friday, 31 October 2014 07:33 Written by  iamrogue
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First Look: Bennet Sisters Ready to Kick Ass in 'Pride & Prejudice & Zombies'

After half a decade of false starts and failed attempts, a movie version of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has risen from the grave.

Don't believe us?

There's now phototgraphic evidence: an official still from the production showing the Bennet sisters of Jane Austen's 1813 novel ready to kick some undead ass.

More than a year ago, long after Pride and Prejudice and Zombies seemed thoroughly dead, Burr Steers boarded the project as director, enlisting Downton Abbey actress Lily James to star as Elizabeth Bennet in an adaptation of the marketable mashup novel by Seth Grahame-Smith.

He's following in the footsteps of directors like David O. Russell, Mike White, and Craig Gillespie, all of whom were attached at one point or another.  But the difference is that Steers, who who directed the strong Salinger riff Igby Goes Down and Zac Efron vehicles 17 Again and Charlie St. Cloud, is actually making Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

Production began last month under Steers, who rewrote the screenplay by Russell that's been in place for several years as the project wandered the developmental desert.

“The first thing I did was reinsert all the Pride and Prejudice beats,” Steers tells Entertainment Weekly, where the first look debuted.

The image introduces Elizabeth (James), Lydia (Ellie Bamber), Mary (Millie Brady), Jane (Bella Heathcote), and Kitty Bennet (Suki Waterhouse).

James, who plays the title role in Disney's live action Cinderella next year, takes a role that the likes of Natalie Portman and Lily Collins were previously attached to play.  Like Steers, it sounds like she's returning to Pride and Prejudice for inspiration, then zinging sideways.

“Even in the original story, Elizabeth’s a fighter and beyond her contemporaries in her ambitions and her ideas of women,” says Collins. “She’s a badass warrior. She’s a ninja.”

Not pictured above but definitely appearing in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies are Jack Huston as Mr. Wickham, Sam Riley as Mr. Darcy, Douglas Booth as Mr. Bingley, and Matt Smith as Mr. Collins.  In fact, Steers upgraded to involvement of Darcy and Wickham in rewriting the script.

That's not all, either, as Lena Headey and Charles Dance, both whom play(ed) Lannister heavy hitters on HBO's Game of Thrones, also appear.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is expected to hit stateside theaters at some point in 2015.

It's been a long, strange trip for the adaptation.  After Russell left over a budgetary dispute, School of Rock writer Mike White was briefly involved as director, but he was forced to vacate the position because of scheduling conflicts with his HBO series Enlightened. Next up was Lars and the Real Girl helmer Craig Gillespie, prior to the release of his Fright Night remake.

But Gillespie eventually departed as well, and after actresses like Scarlett Johansson, Anne Hathaway, Emma Stone, Rooney Mara, and Blake Lively all opted not to star, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies looked long gone.  Then in the summer of 2012, the one-two disappointment of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Dark Shadows, both penned by Grahame-Smith (the former based on his novel), seemed to seal its fate.

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