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Aronofsky close to “Wolverine”, “Zombies” next big deal

Update: Shortly after posting on the upcoming Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, word came through on TheWrap that several directors are in the running to direct the project. Perhaps the most intriguing name to show interest is Oscar winning director Jonathan Demme, best known for helming The Silence of the Lambs and Rachel Getting Married. With no lead for Elizabeth Bennet set in stone, perhaps it’s possible his “Married” lead actress Anne Hathaway could corset up and kick some serious zombie butt.

Demme is not the only name being dropped. As noted prior, the script is one of the more buzzed to come out of Hollywood this year, attracting such names as Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Let Me In), David Slade (30 Days of Night, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse), Mike Newell (Prince of Persia, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), Mike White (Year of the Dog) and Neil Marshall (The Descent, Centurion).

All interesting names, many with influences in horror (helpful when dealing with zombies, even in a comedic sense). The names also offer a healthy balance of smaller (Demme, White) and bigger (Newell, Slade) production experience(s). With all the news coming regarding the project lately, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a name confirmed and a greenlight for production announced by the end of the year (if not sooner), as Lionsgate wants to get production underway early next year.

Personal opinions of X-Men Origins: Wolverine aside, the film was a financial success having doubled it’s production budget at the worldwide box office, making a sequel inevitable. For months, word had been going around town on who could tackle the sequel to a film that, while financially successful, was not met with the brightest words from critics and fans alike. Now, Deadline reports a deal is very close to sign Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, The Wrestler).

While not signed yet, sources state the deal has gone to the level of location scouting (including New York and Japan) and sound stage planning, meaning all that’s left is putting pen to paper. The potential deal would be Aronofsky’s biggest production to date, renowned for his smaller productions that lean more towards the independent crowd.

“Make my sequel good!!!”

With the deal all but closed, much of Hollywood has turned their attention to the now directorless Pride & Prejudice & Zombies to be distributed by Lionsgate (who may potentially make a bid to buy MGM). After having lost both David O. Russell (who has returned to the “Uncharted” adaptation) and lead Natalie Portman (who left before Russell), the much talked about adaptation seemed to be headed for developmental hell.

Now it looks like the project is one of the most sought after in Hollywood, in terms of directors (word has it the script is particularly strong). While Lionsgate will not confirm anything in regards to a new director or casting, Deadline notes that Russell (prior to leaving) had lined up Scarlett Johanson and Bradley Cooper to play the leads of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcey. While neither actor’s reps have confirmed this, it remains a possibility.

For now, only theories can be thrown around as to who could land the gig. Suffice to say, someone with a sense of horror – humor and timing is best acquired to make such an adaptation echo with the viewing public.

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