An official teaser-trailer for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has just been released and if the opening line, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains,” hasn’t sold you on the film then GTFO.
Downtown Abbey‘s Lily James has been cast as the heroine, Elizabeth Bennet. Sam Riley, who played Diaval in Maleficent, will be her Mr. Darcy. This time around, however, the Bennet sisters are trained to be zombie fighters through a mastery of martial arts after a zombie invasion threatens their way of life. Pretty standard, really. Darcy is also a zombie-hunter, and our Lizzie must defeat Lady Catherine and her army of ninjas… maybe I should stop spoiling things for you.
But there are ninjas. Matt Smith, Charles Dance, and Lena Headey are also in the film. For years there was speculation that Natalie Portman would play Elizabeth, and while that’s not the case she will serve behind the scenes as a producer. Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s Marti Noxon is also said to be a screenwriter. Strangely, an actress cast to play Lady Catherine has not been mentioned in any press release. This Catherine is not to be confused with Elizabeth’s sister, Catherine, who will be played by Suki Waterhouse, leading one to wonder if they are cutting out the ninjas.
Lily James highlighted the marriage between a costumed period piece with sentient rotting corpses, particularly adding that Elizabeth and her sisters are essentially the Spice Girls from Hell. Personally, I would have went with a Sailor Moon joke, but that’s just me.
American author Seth Grahame-Smith, who you may also know as the author of Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, wrote the book that’s spawned this film. Naturally he added his own embellishments to the Jane Austen original, Pride and Prejudice. The book was popular enough to inspire a graphic novel retelling, a video game, and two sequels in addition to a whole slew of literary reworkings including Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, Android Karenina and The Meowmorphosis, in which the narrator turns into a meme-worthy kitten instead of a cockroach.
Unfortunately, the film’s proper release isn’t until 2016. Americans will have to wait until February 5, 2016, and the UK will get it a week later. And please check out the book. If anything, just read the follow-up questions. Here’s just one example, “Some scholars believe that the zombies were a last-minute addition to the novel, requested by the publishers in a shameless attempt to boost sales. Others argue that the hordes of the living dead are integral to Jane Austen’s plot and social commentary. What do you think? Can you imagine what this novel might be like without the violent zombie mayhem?” No, frankly we cannot. To tide yourself over, feel free to watch the book trailer for Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters.