Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (which, in case you’ve been living under a rock has become an iconic piece of modern pop culture), has had some bad luck with the film adaptation.
It has had issues with locking in a stable cast as well as a director, with actors such as Blake Lively, Natalie Portman, and James McAvoy being highly considered but declining, and director Mark White departed after replacing director/screenwriter David O. Russell. It’s been quite a struggle for the project, which for some reason just can’t get a stable start. Well, unfortunately that curse is still alive and well.
Yes, Deadline reports that Craig Gillespie is the latest director to abandon Lionsgate’s film-child, leaving the studio with pretty much nothing in the divorce (yes, that was a joke). But in all seriousness, it strikes me as odd that the film just can’t get a solid start, especially when the novel the film is based on, written by Seth Grahame-Smith, is an extremely unique and ingenious piece of literature that just so happens to have such a monumental fan base.
The story pretty much speaks for itself, boldly taking Jane Austen’s classic piece of historical literature and throws in a chunk of pop culture in the form of bloodthirsty zombies. It’s hard for everyone to like, but there would no doubt be hordes of horror fans and fans of the novel alike who will happily pay to watch zombies terrorize Victorian England. But with the recent departure of Gillespie, what’s keeping everyone away?
To me it comes as a surprise that Gillespie dropped out, considering he recently took on the remake for Fright Night, which was surprisingly well done, showing us that he could handle blending horrorifying suspense with humor. It’s a headscratcher for sure, but it gives Lionsgate a chance to restrategize how they go about creating the project, hopefully keeping it from (gulp) being cancelled.
Admittedly, it’s hard to see big box office payouts flowing in due to the fact that it pretty much targets a certain niche of fans, but with such a consintrated and dedicated fanbase, pleasing them is an accomplishment all on its own (Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, anyone?).
While Lionsgate sets out to search for both a dedicated director and dedicated cast, let’s hope they don’t just make a quick decision and be done with it. This is the type of sensitive material that needs to be handled with care because, let’s face it, an unpleased fan can be worse than a swarm of zombies.