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Exclusive: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Lands a Director

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | December 14, 2009 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | December 14, 2009 |

The development of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is moving quickly ahead. Last week, it was rumored that Natalie Portman would play the lead in the the adaptation of the Seth Grahame-Smith’s Jane Austen slash zombie mash-up was confirmed (she makes an excellent bridge between hipster and period piece, if I don’t say so myself. Also, she’s very pretty).

Today, we learned from a very reliable (and handsome) inside source familiar with the project that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has found itself a director in the form of the temperamental directing genius, David O. Russell (Three Kings, I Heart Huckabees), who is finishing a deal to come aboard. Russell will also adapt.

Russell is an interesting choice — he’s certainly got the hipster cred, but no period piece experience on his resume or horror-movie experience, for that matter. I’m frankly surprised that Russell has even managed to land another project, given his history of on-set tyranny, not to mention the fact that his health-care comedy, Nailed, still hasn’t finished post-production, so far as we know. The movie had run into financial problems and, at one time, James Caan quit the production. (It takes some kind of asshole to scare James Caan off a project). Granted, Russell did finish lensing on Fighter last August, with Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg (Matt Damon was smart enough to leave the project before it got off the ground). Can you imagine Bale and Russell working together? It must have been like two rocks having sex.

Given his history, and the fact that great actors continue to work with him, I suppose this is a matter of talent winning out over anything else. Good for Hollywood … ?

Please be nice to Portman. She’ll kill your fucking dog for fun, so don’t push her.

I’m not completely sold on Russell as director of this, either. I had hoped for an approach more similar to Grahame-Smith’s — a very straightforward adaptation of Pride and Prejudice with a smattering of zombies tossed into the mix, but not enough, really, to alter the flow of the original narrative. I’d expect a more meta wink-wink nudge nudge self-aware approach from Russell, and probably one suffused with his quirky brand of existential nihilism.

But maybe that’s a good thing. Thoughts?

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.

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