With each new casting announcement we have to ask ourselves, is this really happening? Because it appears that the answer is yes. When Seth Grahame-Smith‘s revisionist spin on the Jane Austen classic Pride and Prejudice and Zombies hit bookstores in 2009, it was an insta-hit in the making. Blame the high concept of undead Austen, or blame the lukewarm reception to that other Grahame-Smith book adaptation Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, or even blame Canada, but for five long years there’s been no sign that P&P&Z was, ahem, coming to life on cinema screens. But now, it has a distribution deal, and two new cast members in the form of a pair of Game of Thrones actors. Prepare to be Lannistered! because Lena Headey and Charles Dance are coming for romance. And zombie killing! In that order.
Deadline broke the news that the two veteran actors were joining the cast although the roles they’ll be fit to play was not exaggerated upon. Headey and Dance will now join a cast that, as reported last week, includes Lily James as heroine Elizabeth Bennet, Sam Riley as her main love interest Mr. Darcy, Jack Huston as another of Elizabeth’s suitors Mr. Wickham, Bella Heathcote as Elizabeth’s sister Jane, Douglas Booth as Jane’s intended Mr. Bingley and former Doctor Who Matt Smith as the reverend Mr. Collins.
Logically, Headey and Dance would be a good choice to play Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, but might there be some discomfort with that given that the two play daughter and father on Game of Thrones. However, these actors are pros and may believably be able to get you to put aside the idea of the roles they play on their day job on HBO. Headey could also believably play Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Mr. Darcy’s aunt who definitely disapproves of his love match with Elizabeth. I haven’t read the zombie version so i don’t know how she feels about the undead.
In other P&P&Z news, they have an American distributor in the person of Screen Gems, the same Sony-owned company that’s released the Underworld and Resident Evil films. So it’s definitely in the right place at least so far as release in U.S. theaters is concerned. So I guess we can, for now, put aside questions about whether or not this is going to get made, and instead ask the question, is it going to be good? There’s the rub. Of course, the project is attracting some interesting talent, so at this point, I wouldn’t bet against Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Like its titular antagonists, this thing just won’t die.
We’ll have more news about Pride and Prejudice and Zombies as it develops. The film is supposed to be in theaters everywhere sometime next year.