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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies hit another snag on its shambling path to cinemas last Thursday, this time due to director Craig Gillespie leaving the project. Though the parting is being described as amicable, it’s been reported that casting decisions ultimately led to the director’s departure. Gillespie joined the project back in April, and made a name for himself with the quirky Lars and the Real Girl and August’s surprisingly not-terrible Fright Night remake.
Based on a 2009 parody of Jane Austen‘s beloved novel, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was quickly optioned by Lionsgate, but Gillespie has become the third director to leave the film during pre-production. David O. Russel, who wrote the script, was set to direct before up and leaving the project in October of last year. He was replaced by Mike White, who bailed back in January due to scheduling conflicts.
Many actresses have passed on the opportunity to star in the film as a zombie-crushing Elizabeth Bennett. After Natalie Portman dropped out, Emma Stone turned down the role in June and then most recently, Blake Lively passed on the opportunity.
The delays could hamstring the film’s relevance for fans of the book, as well as zombie-philes in general, considering the relentless onslaught of undead-fiction currently in theatres and on TV. Granted, the actual appeal of the novel is how cleverly it blends the zombie fiction in with Austen’s original story and perhaps a few years from now the idea of a more post-modern zombie film will be seen as a refreshing take on today’s most popular movie monster.