Opening Jan. 29, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the big screen adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s popular novel, which envisions Jane Austen’s classic playing out in a world populated by the living dead. Read on…
‘It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.’ The perfect opening line of Grahame-Smith’s audacious 2011 novel sets up what’s to come; an on-the-nose mash-up of Austen’s classic study of 19th century social mores and the bloody mayhem of a zombie apocalypse. With its mix of comedy and horror, it’s a work ripe for the big screen, and writer/director Burr Steers (Igby Goes Down,, The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud) take promises to be a rollicking adaptation.
Up-and-comer Lily James, formerly of Downton Abbey and now currently wowing in the BBC’s mounting of War and Peace, takes the lead role of Elizabeth Bennett, whose developing passion for the dashing Mr D’Arcy (Sam Riley) is not just defined by the Edwardian customs that dictate her life, but the fact that she must face off against an army of the undead. It’s a clever modern spin that’s not just visually arresting, but also turns the traditional idea about the role of women on it’s head; the Bennet girls and their friends can slice and dice with the best of them, and are the definitive heroes of this story in a way that goes beyond corseted commentary into visceral action territory.
James and Riley are joined by a stellar cast, including Leana Headey (as Lady Catherine de Bourgh), Suki Waterhouse (as Kitty Bennet), Sally Phillips (as Mrs Bennet), Charles Dance (as Mr Bennet) and Jack Huston (as Mr Wickham).
AWFJ Movie of the Week Panelists Comments:
Maitland McDonagh: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies The novel is audaciously clever and my fingers are crossed that the movie will be as well.
Nikki Baughan: Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel brings a modern classic bang up to date while always maintaining respect for the original material, and it looks as though this adaptation will do it justice. Lily James is a fantastic young actress, and I’m looking forward to seeing her spearheading such an original film, portraying Elizabeth Bennet – already one of literature’s strongest female characters – as a gung-ho zombie killing Edwardian socialite.
Title: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Director: Burr Steers
Release Date: February 5, 2016
Running Time: 108 minutes
Shooting Location(s): Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Middlesex, England
Principal Cast: Lily James, Leana Headey, Suki Waterhouse, Sally Phillips, Sam Riley, Charles Dance
Screenwriters: Burr Steers, from the novels by Seth Grahame-Smith and Jane Austen
Production Companies: Lionsgate, Cross Creek Pictures, QC Entertainment, Allison Shearmur Productions, Handsomecharlie Films, MadRiver Pictures, Head Gear Films, Darko Entertainment
Distributor: Sony Pictures Releasing
AWFJ Movie of the Week Panel Members: Nikki Baughan, Anne Brodie, Candice Frederick, Pam Grady, Leba Hertz, Loren King, Cate Marquis, Katherine McLaughlin, Jennifer Merin, Nell Minow, Perri Nemiroff, Sheila Roberts, Liz Whittemore, Jeanne Wolf.
Edited by Sandra Kraisirideja, AWFJ.org Associate Editor