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Pride, Prejudice, Zombies and Natalie Portman

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | December 11, 2009 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | December 11, 2009 |

We heard quite some time ago that Lionsgate had bought the screen rights to Seth Grahame-Smith’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance - Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem!, which is essentially 85 percent Jane Austen, 15 percent zombies. The book got a lot of attention when it was released (and spawned various other similar style books), though reviews for it were fairly mixed — zombie fans were put off by all that Austen, and most agreed that the novelty of the gimmick wore off fairly quickly.

Anyway, the big-screen adaptation now has a star: Natalie Portman is set to take the lead in the movie. She’ll also be producing, along with Richard Kelly. Little else is known about the project, or even what tone the movie will take (no director is yet attached). You can probably expect a earnest period piece that just happens to have zombies in it.

Needs more Colin Firth.

Elsewhere, the blogosophere was abuzz a couple of days ago when Production Weekly announced that James Cameron was putting together his next picture, a sci-fi 3D film set in the future scripted by Shane Salermo. And then, MTV “discovered” that the new project is actually a remake of a very bad 1966 film. The discovery is only strange because this project was actually announced back in 2002, though several writers and directors have been attached since, including McG for a short time in 2008, Roland Emmerich back in 2007 (who actually mocked the script), and most recently, Tarsem Singh (The Cell) has been rumored. Cameron, all along, was only set to produce.

I should note, also, that the movie sounds silly as hell. Here’s the logline for the original: “A diplomat is nearly assassinated. In order to save him, a submarine is shrunken to microscopic size and injected into his blood stream with a small crew. Problems arise almost as soon as they enter the bloodstream.”

And here’s what Emmerich had to say about it when he was offered the directing gig:

“Two years ago, Jim called me up and said ‘Roland, I want you to look at the script for Fantastic Voyage — it’s not there yet.’ And he sent it over and I hated the script.”

Apparently, Cameron’s version was set in the future, and involved not one, but two teams of miniaturized scientists wandering around a colleague’s innards:

“There were two submarines in the body. It was like a Navy SEALS film. And then the president of production at Fox — me and my partner and him all go surfing together — says ‘Well, will you do it with a page one rewrite, and we won’t start until you’re happy with the script?’ So then I said yes. The key is I won’t do it unless it’s going to be a good movie.”

Apparently, it never got to that point. And I’m sorry, but when Roland motherfucking Emmerich hates your script, you might want to reconsider the project.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.